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How to Propagate a Shrimp Plant

planting and potting image by Ray Kasprzak from

Shrimp plant, (Justicia brandegeeana), or shrimp bush, comes by its name deservedly as the blooms, which are usually yellow or maroon in color, look very much like big, plump shrimps. Shrimp plants thrive in hot weather but won't survive cold winters. In cool northern climates, the shrimp plant can be grown as a houseplant. When grown indoors, shrimp plant will thrive in a hot, sunny window. Propagate a shrimp plant by taking a stem cutting in late spring or summer.

Fill a small planting container with a potting mixture of half sand and half peat moss or perlite. Place the container in a saucer of water and allow the potting mixture to wick up water until the potting mixture is thoroughly moist but not dripping. Make sure the container has a drainage hole in the bottom.

Cut several 3- to 5-inch stems from a healthy shrimp plant with a sharp knife that has been dipped in rubbing alcohol. Cut directly below a leaf, and be sure that each cutting has at least three leaves intact.

Strip the leaves from the lower 1/3 of the stem cuttings. Dip the cut end of the stems in powdered rooting hormone, and plant the stems in the planting container.

Place the container in a plastic bag. Seal the bag securely. Place the container in a bright spot in a warm room but not directly in a sunny window, as the heat will build up in the bag and scorch the shrimp plant stem cuttings.

Keep the soil lightly moist at all time. Mist the potting mixture immediately if the top of the potting mixture feels dry to the touch.

Remove the shrimp plant stem cuttings from the plastic as soon as the cutting has developed roots, which is indicated by the appearance of new growth. Transplant the cuttings into a medium-size container filled with commercial potting mixture when the roots are 1 to 2 inches long.

Move the shrimp plant cuttings to a sunny window and water the plant when the top of the soil feels dry to the touch. Wait until all danger of frost has passed the following spring if you intend to plant the shrimp plant outdoors.

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