Wassh. & L.B.Sm.
It grows to 1 m tall (rarely more) with spindly limbs. The leaves are oval, green, 3-7.5 cm long. The flowers are white, extending from red bracts which look a bit like a shrimp, hence the shrub's common name, shrimp flower.
The species is named after the American botanist Townshend Stith Brandegee (1843–1925); the scientific name is commonly seen misspelled "brandegeana".
J. brandegeeana is a bushy evergreen shrub growing to 100 cm (39 in) tall by 60–90 cm (24–35 in) broad. The stems and leaves are downy. The leaves are variegated and usually grow in clusters on the branches. As the plant receives more sun, the amount of creamy white on the speckled leaves will increase, and vice versa. The flowers emerge from bracts that form off the stems. The bracts start out white, but with more sun exposure they turn anywhere from pale pink to deep salmon. A chain of bracts will continue to grow until it falls off in most cases; thus the chains can grow anywhere from a few inches to nearly a foot in length. Flowers emerge from the bracts; usually they are long, thin, and white with speckled maroon throats.
The shrimp plant thrives in the shade in tropical areas. It does best in well-drained sandy or loamy soil, but is generally low maintenance and drought-tolerant. As it dislikes temperatures below 7 °C (45 °F), it is best grown under glass in cooler temperate areas, where it is excellent as a potted houseplant, owing to its ability to tolerate low light and some neglect. Fertilization is not required.
The shape is generally long and spindly. If trimmed back regularly, it can maintain a bushy habit and will not need support. If the branches are allowed to grow long, they will become unable to support themselves and sag towards the ground.
Numerous cultivars are available, with different flower bract colors, including yellow, pink and dark brick-red.
It can be propagated by stem cuttings.
- "Justicia brandegeeana Wassh. & L. B. Sm.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2010-03-08. Retrieved 2010-04-07.
- RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
- "RHS Plant Selector - Justicia brandegeeana". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 20 May 2013.