The Hedge: Red Shrimp Plant
Justicia brandegeeana, also known as Red Shrimp Plant and Mexican Shrimp Plant, is a member of the Acanthaceae family. Native to Mexico and Central America, it has made itself at home along the Gulf Coast. It's a sprawling, tropical plant that dies to the ground in cold winters, but dependably pops back up in the spring. With the right conditions, it can be a bit aggressive. It grows large and suckers, but I know from experience that it can be effectively pulled or dug up.
It usually starts blooming by midsummer, but this year, in our garden, it didn't really get going until October. I can't say that I mind. Better late than never! The flowers are cute and often very much resemble shrimp, hence the common name. It comes in other colors, a popular and common option being yellow. There's a fairly new cultivar from Florida that I'd like to get my hands on. It's called Shrimp Fruit Cocktail and is sort of yellow-green (chartreuse) and pink. But I digress... In short, I like all the varieties, but the red looks really nice this time of year.
If you have hot summers, mild winters, and enough water for your garden, I recommend planting Shrimp Plant where it has room to spread out. Hummingbirds love it, and it draws butterflies and bees as well.
It will do you proud.
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For years, my husband and I worked at creating a series of gardens on our four-acre lot in a rural, Texas subdivision west of Houston. I have to say, it was a fantastic experience. Now, I have a pocket garden on a golf course.
From me to you with a smile.
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