Monday, June 25, 2012

Plant ABCs: J is for Justicia

The selection for today's post on ABCs of plants in my garden is J for Justicia.  Both the Shrimp plant and Mexican honeysuckle are the common names of two very different types of Justicia in my garden.

I enjoy the special shapes of the flowers on my Shrimp plant or Justicia Brandegeana.  Though I have seen shrimp plants available in local garden centers, these plants were shared by generous gardening friends.

'Fruit Cocktail' with its pretty pink bloom

The shrimp shaped part of the bloom is actually a chain of bracts that continues to multiply until it falls off and the blooms are the little pink flowers.

Red, a nice deep color

A closer look at these shrimp-shaped bracts with the pale blooms

This red shrimp plant is a bit stunted here since the deer got to it in the spring.  I also have a yellow shrimp plant which is not currently blooming for the same reason.  Here's a bloom from last fall.

The deer usually ignore the shrimp plants, but this past spring they went after them.  Now that the plants are recovering I consider these somewhat deer resistant.  If I avoided all plants that deer nibble from time to time I would have very few plants to choose from.

In my garden these shrimp plants get sun early and late but are not in the full sun all day.  They are watered every few days along with all the other plants in the bed depending on the heat.  While the shrimp plants did not die completely back this past winter, the blooms did slow down and the plant dropped some leaves.

The next is Justicia spicigera or Mexican honeysuckle.  I planted this Mexican honeysuckle plant in the front yard last fall and it is doing well out there among the yucca and agaves with just a little water each week.  The Mexican honeysuckle has bright orange-red flowers.  It did not die back in our recent mild winter and bloomed right through the winter.  This one gets water about once a week in the summer and does not wilt so it is quite drought tolerant.

Mine is still small so here's a look at mature one in the blue adobe courtyard at The Antique Rose Emporium here in San Antonio.

All of these Justicia are native to Mexico and Central America but have adapted well to our climate.  These are great plants for our gardens here in south Texas.


  1. I also have many of those plants and/or they grow well in Austin. They are a great set of plants for Texas gardens.

  2. This is definitely one that does well in your area and I can imagine it's a favorite with the deer:) I've seen this plant all over Central American and Mexico and it can get pretty big. Beautiful shady plant with nice color to the gardens.


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