While the P. lutea is not as popular as many other indoor plants, it really is a delightful plant to grow, with a long flowering season from spring until fall.
Grown outdoors they can reach up to about 4 feet in height, and a few feet wide, which is why growers indoors really need to keep the plant pruned.
While some growers find this plant easy to grow others struggle, however, problems seem to affect outdoor growers more than those indoors, which is caused by incorrect sunlight and temperature conditions, mainly.
Shrimp plant: While this perennial also has the common name of shrimp plant because of it's bract - that can look like shrimp when they're beginning to grow, there is also another named Mexican shrimp (I think this one looks more like shrimp). These two plants differ in the genus they belong to and the Mexican (Scientific name: Justicia brandegeeana) type has smaller leaves with arched flower heads, otherwise very similar.
Leaves and flowers: The flowers that bloom from spring until fall are white in color and small, which peep through the golden flower head (bract - can be 5 inches long). The long evergreen leaves are dark green and oval shaped, with large veins. It's definitely the flower head that make this attractive.
|Origin:||Central and South America.|
|Names:||Lollipop and golden shrimp plant (common). Pachystachys Lutea (botanical/scientific).|
|Max Growth (approx):||Height 1 - 2ft indoors, outdoors 4ft. Spread 2 - 3ft.|
|Poisonous for pets:||Not known.|
|Temperature:||Average room temperatures of around 65°f / 16°c --- 75°f are ideal, and no lower that 55°f 12.7°c, during winter. You can allow the plant some time outdoors during summer, not in direct sun.|
|Light:||Any area indoors that has plenty of daylight, but not direct sunlight.|
|Watering:||Keep the soil damp and water frequently during summer. Water sparingly winter time.|
|Soil:||A decent fast draining potting soil mix, will suffice.|
|Re-Potting:||Re-pot during spring each year. If not each year, then at-least when the roots start to grow from the pot drainage holes.|
|Humidity:||The golden shrimp enjoys misting (summertime).|
|Propagation:||These are easy enough to propagate with stem cuttings between spring and summer. Cut about 4 inches of stem and dip them in rooting hormone before planting in potting soil.|
|Pruning and grooming: :||Because this plant grows quick it needs to be pruned (during spring) to manage it's size indoors. These are best cut just above the leaf node (section where leaves meet the stem) for a good third of the branches. When the flower heads begin to die you can also cut these away, which encourages new growth and health. You can trim this plant and pinch it (take away top section of main stem) to guide it to grow in a nice compact shape, which makes it look more full and friendly indoors.|