Pachystachys lutea: Golden shrimp plant

Family: Acanthaceae
Common name: Golden shrimp plant, Lollipop plant, Golden candle

A beautiful shrub that flowers throughout the year, Golden Shrimp plants are the perfect addition to your garden. These soft-stemmed plants can grow to a height of 3 to 4 feet under ideal circumstances, but most potted plants only grow about 2 feet.

The leaves are green and long, with very prominent veins that look like they’re etched into the leaf. The most striking feature is the inflorescence which consists of beautiful, bright yellow bracts from which small white flowers project out. The shape of the bracts is like shrimp tails, giving the plant its name.

Golden shrimp plants are grown as ornamental plants, for the beautiful yellow bracts raised on short racemes above the leaves. They are closely related to the Mexican Shrimp plant or Justicia brandegeeana which is has similar pink or red bracts with white flowers.

Both these plants are quite sturdy and long-lasting, if grown in good sunlight and well-drained soil. They attract small birds, butterflies and bees, who help in pollination. And for this reason, they are considered to be ideal plants for butterfly gardens and parks. They also produce small seed capsules with numerous seeds inside.

These plants can be grown indoors near windows with good sunlight, but they prefer outdoors in a warm, tropical weather. Occasional fertilization can help help the plant bloom year-round, with a short break during peak winter. They can be pruned well to maintain a bushy appearance, lest they become too tall and spindly with bare stems near the ground.

Propagation is from seeds or stem cuttings. Stem cuttings can be dipped in rooting hormones for better success rate.

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