Seen mostly in subtropical and tropical regions, the golden shrimp plant is native to lowland areas of Southern and Central America, ranging from el Salvador to Peru. People in the Midwest also grow golden shrimp plants as attractive houseplants or seasonal plants during the summertime. Golden shrimp is also popularly called the lollypop plant or golden candle. It’s a soft-stemmed plant with broad leaves belonging to the acanthus family.
If you are on the lookout for decorative plants that can enhance the beauty of your house or backyard, golden shrimp plants are worth considering. They grow up to a height of 4 feet and look impressive when nurtured in pots or when planted on the garden soil. Golden shrimp plants require extremely little maintenance and can be a beautiful asset to anyone’s garden.
This comprehensive guide gives detailed information on golden shrimp plants and discusses how to nurture them in proper conditions.
About golden shrimp plants
Pachystachys Lutea also called the golden shrimp plant is an evergreen, tropical, soft-stemmed plant that grows between 0.5 to 2.5 meters in height. These plants are native to Peru. In their native region, they are considered to be understory plants. This implies that golden shrimp plants grow beneath large trees that offer them shade and protection against unwanted environmental elements. These plants are habituated to growing in shade and hence are ideal to be grown as houseplants for people who reside outside the tropical zone.
Shrimp plants are called so because of the pink flowers that appears similar to cooked shrimp. These structures appearing like shrimps are bracts. Flowers of golden shrimp plants are mostly white, having purple spots on them and protrude outside from the ends of the bracts. The bracts, when they start to grow are also white. As they continue to grow, they turn pink due to constant exposure to outside elements. Bracts not only change their colour but continue to grow longer, sometimes becoming as lengthy as 12 inches and eventually falling off the plants.
In tropical regions, golden shrimp plants can be grown all through the year. However, the same plants are grown as seasonal plants in temperate regions. In such climatic zones, they are grown as summer plants, unless they are exposed to extreme sunlight.
Golden shrimp plants are susceptible to being infested by common insects like scales, mealybugs, aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites. This plant can be easily propagated from half-ripened stem cuttings or softwood that is taken in early summer. To increase the chances of golden shrimp propagations, homeowners are advised to use rooting hormone and about 4” long stem tips.
Flowering and Fragrance
Golden shrimp plants produce unaromatic, tubular two-lipped flowers that are found enclosed in bracts, usually reddish-brown. In the naked eyes, the enclosed flowers resemble a curled prawn, hence the name shrimp plants.
Size of golden shrimp plants
In tropical climatic zones, golden shrimp plants usually grow up to 3 to 6 feet tall.
But, when you are growing it indoors in containers, keep them short. The lance-shaped leaves that grow have a corrugated appearance and are heavily veined. The woody stems of the golden shrimp plants remain largely covered by dark green leaves that overall render a contrasting look with the bright pink flowers.
How to Grow Shrimp Plants Indoors
Though a native plant of the tropical region, the golden shrimp plants also grow well as houseplants because they prefer a half-shaded environment for successful growth. To grow a shrimp plant inside your house, you must be aware of the environmental conditions they prefer. To help you out, we have enlisted the ideal conditions for growing golden shrimp plants successfully.
Growing Conditions for Shrimp Plants
Nurturing a golden shrimp plant indoors isn’t much of a hassle. But, before you jump ahead to buy this beautiful specimen, it’s good to have detailed information on the needs of a golden shrimp plant, about temperature, light, propagation, humidity, soil, water, etc. Go through the conditions explained below and you would have a clear idea of how to keep your shrimp plant happy and healthy.
- Light: Your golden shrimp plant must get enough indoor light, but make sure it is exposed to direct sunlight. These plants are ideal for atriums that remain flooded with natural daylight. You can try keeping your shrimp plant in direct sunlight and inspect how it is responding to sunlight. These plants require enough sunlight, but not when the rays are strong and direct. Even if you keep them in a shaded region, they would continue to thrive, provided the area is open to fresh air and daylight.
- Temperature: Another important aspect that you mustn’t overlook is the environmental temperature. Golden shrimp plants are susceptible to frost. Hence, make sure you place it in a warm place. Keep it away from cold areas. A room temperature ranging between 18 to 25 degrees Celsius is ideal for golden shrimp plants to thrive indoors. However, don’t let the temperature drop below 12 degrees.
- Humidity: Since golden shrimp plants are native to tropical regions, you can guess that they require a minimum amount of humidity to grow and remain healthy. The typical humidity content for a shrimp plant is around 40 %. To make sure your favourite plant is getting the right amount of humidity, you can use humidifiers. You can also prefer to spray the leaves to provide them with humidity.
- Watering: Golden shrimp plants require abundant water during the summer months. One should never allow the plants to become completely dry. Dry shrimp plants are more susceptible to leaf drops. If you are planning to keep the plant in your house during the winter months, reduce the water supply and make sure the temperature doesn’t drop below 55 F.
- Fertilizer: Make sure the fertiliser you are applying is filled with micronutrients and boots plant blooming. Use a liquid fertilizer for best results. Don’t over fertilise the plant. Once during an entire week would be fine. Golden shrimp plants are high feeders and are sure to respond if fertilised properly, from time to time.
- Soil: To help the golden shrimp plant thrive faster, plant them in a light, fast-draining garden soil. You can add fertilisers to enhance the soil’s quality. Remember that golden shrimp plants aren’t a fan of salty soils. Instead, place it indoors inside a pot of sandy oil. If you have an abundance of loamy soil, you can use it as well for the growth of your golden shrimp plant.
Now that you know the conditions that are ideal for golden shrimp plants, let’s go through some tips that are surely going to make your endeavour easier.
Tips to growing Holden shrimp plants in the best possible way
Though maintaining a shrimp plant is considerably easy, following a few tips would make it easier for you to keep your plant healthy and happy. Without wasting further time, let’s go through the tips mentioned below.
- Always water the plants abundantly. Don’t let them dry out. If you notice the plant is dropping its leaves, it indicates a lack of enough water. Pay attention to how your plant responds.
- Fertilise them with heavy fertilisers once a week. Make sure the fertiliser you choose is rich in plant nutrients. Regularly fertilising the plants is important because every time you water the plants, the nutrients are drained away. Hence, fresh nutrients have to be added again.
- Owners must prune their golden shrimp plants from time to time to prevent the weak stems from falling off. Experts recommend a hard pruning session in the spring season.
- When the outside temperature is above 55 F, owners can place their shrimp plants outside. However, the plants must be brought inside before the temperature drops down at night.
- You must remember to repot your shrimp plant indoors and regularly. If your shrimp plant is thriving and healthy, you can consider repotting it after every two years. You can also repeat repotting every year.
- No matter you grow golden shrimp plants inside or outside your house, hard pruning is always recommended. Pruning allows the plant to get a busy appearance and produces vigorous blooms.
- While you take care of your shrimp plants indoors, you must look for signs of infestation by pests. They are highly susceptible to spider mites and aphids and must be treated immediately if infested.
- Old golden shrimp plants are more brittle. So, people must be careful while pruning their stems.
- Like we already mentioned, golden shrimp plants are extremely sensitive to temperature changes. If kept under temperatures below 55 F, the leaves will slowly turn yellow or brown. However, as soon as the right temperature conditions are restored, they are likely to grow back pink fast.
- Especially when flowers are blooming, don’t water the plants from the top. Overhead watering often causes the bracts to rot, preventing plant growth.
As you can see, taking proper care of golden shrimp plants is uncomplicated. You simply have to be careful, inspect their growth, provide them with an abundance of fertilisers and water and light. These conditions are what their natural habitat offers. Hence, offering the same environmental conditions will foster their growth and nourishment.