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The Golden Shrimp Plant or "Lollipop Plant" is a gorgeous perennial that has a color-palette that brings to mind far-off exotic locations. Golden Shrimp Plants are also known as Golden Candle plants or Lemon Lollipop Flowers. This perennial evergreen shrub grows to a mature height that is typically between two to three feet, although it is highly productive of leaves and flowers. The ovate leaves tend to be on the large side and range from shades of light to medium green, depending on the species of shrimp shrub. The plants are 18"-24" tall, shrubby plants that form clumps of upright stems that are each tipped with brightly colored, 4" golden yellow bracts that are adorned with small, creamy white flowers. The flowers are short lived, but the bracts will last for many weeks. They have deeply veined, lance shaped green leaves that grow to about 6" long.You may be thinking to yourself that the name shrimp plant doesn’t seem to be very glamorous, but once you see this species in full bloom, you’ll understand how it acquired such a name.
The small white tubular flowers are surrounded by several soft, fuzzy-textured heart shaped bracts, or modified leaves, that slightly overlap one another in a downward-flowing cluster. The overall shape of the leaf cluster seems long and inwardly curved. From afar, the plant looks as though it has a number of large shrimps scattered all over it! This plant is bursting with color and will continuously produce blooms from September through February in very warm climates. These plants do not do well in areas where the temperature may drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period of time. Bear in mind that this is a tropical plant and it requires a climate that can provide plenty of warmth throughout the year, moderate to high levels of humidity, and shade from direct sunlight. They bloom year-round in masses of gold bracts flecked with small white flowers and are very pretty!
You shouldn’t allow the soil to dry out between watering. By the time the soil has become dry, your shrimp plant will already be suffering the repercussions of dehydration. You’ll know if the plant has become too dry if the leaves fall away from the plant. If the leaves turn yellow then your plant is probably getting too much water.
A full-size golden shrimp plant is about 2.5 to 3 feet tall, although they tend toward leginess as they age. Repot younger plants every spring, going up one pot size. To encourage bushiness and blooms, snip off dead bracts and occasionally trim the plant, cutting one-third of the branches back to the stem to encourage new growth. Untrimmed, these plants will become leggy and top heavy and unattractive. Pinching the growing tips will encourage branching for a fuller plant. They should also be fertilized regularly to maintain good blooming; blossom booster fertilizers are recommended.
If you have hummingbirds visiting your yard, they won't leave without nectaring at your Golden Shrimp Plant and other plants in the Justicia family.
May 18th, 2013
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