Botanical Name: Pachystachys lutea
Golden shrimp plant is an evergreen shrub with branching, woody stems. Long, dark-green leaves grow in pairs opposite one another and are deeply veined.
The real attraction is the plant's magnificent flower spikes, featuring bright golden bracts that grow to 4 in (10 cm) long and last from spring through the end of summer.
These long-lasting, upright bracts give this plant its other common name, Lollipop Plant.
Long, white flowers emerge from the flower bracts, opening in succession from the bottom of the bract to the top.
It's in the Acanthaceae family, along with the other shrimp plant, Justicia brandegeana. The two plants look similar, the biggest differences are that the Pachystachys has bigger leaves and its flower spikes are held upright, rather than arching to one side.
Regular pruning is needed to control this plant's growth and to prevent it from becoming leggy. Prune back hard -- by half when necessary -- when the plant starts new growth in spring.
Pinch your plant. Pinch off the growing tips often to encourage branching. You'll be rewarded with a much nicer-looking plant that is compact and bushy. If you want, you can propagate the stem tip cuttings for more plants.
Golden shrimp plant is a perennial shrub that will last for several years. It'll get tall and leggy if not pruned back regularly.
Repot in spring when roots show through the bottom of the pot.
Origin: South America
Height: Up to 3 ft (90 cm) if not pruned back.
Light: It needs plenty of light to bloom. Give it bright light, but no direct sun.
Water: Keep soil evenly moist spring through fall, slightly drier in winter. Its leaves may fall off if the soil dries out.
Humidity: Average room humidity
Temperature: Average room temperatures 65-75°F/18-24°C
Soil: Any good-quality potting mix
Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks spring through early fall with a high-potassium liquid fertilizer diluted by half.
Propagation: Take 4 in (10 cm) stem tip cuttings in early summer.
If your shrimp plant doesn't bloom much, it's not getting enough light.
Move it to a brighter location, out of direct sun. You can put it outside for the summer, if you want. Just keep it shaded outdoors.
Pachystachys comes from the Latin words pachys meaning large and stachys meaning spike.