The lollipop plant (Botanical name: Pachystachys Lutea) is a sub-tropical species that produces small white flowers from a beautiful cone shaped bract, golden or yellow in color.
Taking care of this shrub is fairly easy. It has the basic needs of any plant, although it needs to be pruned regularly to keep its size manageable.
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 its 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 lollipop 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 makes this attractive.
|Origin:||Native to 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.|
Lollipop Plant Care
|Temperature:||Average room temperatures of around 65°f / 16°c — 75°f are ideal, and no lower than 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:||Soil should have moisture at all times, but not saturated. Less water in the winter.|
|Soil:||A decent fast draining potting soil mix with organic matter 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. Outdoors zone 10a-11b.|
|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 quickly it needs to be pruned (during spring) to manage its 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 the top section of the main stem) to guide it to grow in a nice compact shape, which makes it look more full and friendly indoors.|
Yes in Zone 7 or warmer; it is an annual elsewhere as it will not survive the winter.
Propagate with cutting or seeds, plenty of water and sun for a gorgeous full Lollipop Plant.
They have small white flowers on a beautiful cone shaped golden bract.
Take stem cuttings between spring and summer. Cut about 4 inches of stem and dip them in rooting hormone before planting in potting soil.
Indoors up to two feet, double that if outdoors in your planters.
Elyssa Goins is an experienced house plant hobbyist who maintains over a hundred plants. She is a gardener, beekeeper, and a proud mother of four. She is a member of the American Horticultural Society, has been published in a Scientific Journal, and loves to talk about her love of plants. For the past twenty years, she’s been all about growing and caring for various fruits, veggies, herbs, livestock, kids, and houseplants. Managing a big garden to feed four growing kids and raising dairy goats has taught her so much about being an excellent plant parent and now is her time to share with you.