This Shrimp Packs a Big Color Punch
One look at its rosy-pink flowers, and any doubt about how the Shrimp Plant got its name vanishes. A fast grower – reaching up to 6 ft. tall – the Shrimp blooms easily, and can be pruned into a bushy shape.
Native to Mexico, the Shrimp Plant is a frost-tender evergreen that prefers moist, well drained soil in partial shade. Its colorful flower bracts may actually bleach out in full sun. Hummingbirds and butterflies are drawn to the white flower inside its bracts. Container friendly, use the Shrimp indoors to brighten up a room.
Caring for your Shrimp Plant
Though it originally hails from Mexico, it has become a popular plant worldwide for its unique appearance and tropical vibe. Despite its exotic nature, the Red Shrimp Plant is not overly demanding and can be successfully cared for with some basic knowledge and attention.
First and foremost, the location of your Red Shrimp Plant is crucial for its health. This plant thrives in bright, indirect light. However, it can tolerate some direct sun, especially in cooler climates. If the leaves begin to fade or show signs of burning, it’s likely getting too much direct sunlight. A north or east-facing window indoors or a dappled shade spot outdoors would be ideal.
Soil and Watering
Red Shrimp Plants prefer well-drained soil to avoid waterlogging and potential root rot. An all-purpose potting mix with added perlite for extra drainage would be sufficient. Watering should be done when the top 1-2 inches of soil feels dry. This plant enjoys a good drink but doesn’t like to sit in overly damp conditions, so ensure the pot has drainage holes.
Being a tropical plant, it loves warm, humid environments. Indoor growers may want to place the plant on a humidity tray or near a humidifier, especially in dry winter months. Temperatures should ideally stay between 60-75°F (15-24°C), and the plant should be protected from cold drafts and sudden temperature changes.
Red Shrimp Plants are not particularly heavy feeders but do benefit from regular feeding during the growing season (spring through fall). Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks to support the growth and flowering of your plant. Always follow the package instructions when applying fertilizer to avoid overfeeding, which can lead to chemical burn or excessive, weak growth.
Pruning is an important aspect of caring for a Red Shrimp Plant as it can get leggy over time. Regular pruning helps to promote a bushy growth habit and stimulate further flowering. Prune in early spring before new growth starts, cutting back to about half of the plant’s size or to where you see new buds forming. You can also pinch back the tips throughout the growing season to encourage branching.
Red Shrimp Plants generally need to be repotted every 2-3 years or when the plant outgrows its pot. The best time to repot is in the spring or early summer. When repotting, choose a pot that is one size larger than the current one and ensure it has adequate drainage.
Pest and Disease Control
Red Shrimp Plants are generally quite resistant to pests and diseases, but they can occasionally suffer from common houseplant pests like aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites. If you notice any signs of pests, treat the plant promptly with an appropriate pesticide or insecticidal soap. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so always make sure the soil is nearly dry before watering.
Red Shrimp Plants can be easily propagated through stem cuttings. Cut a healthy stem just below a node, remove the lower leaves, and plant it in a pot with a well-draining potting mix. Keep the soil slightly moist, and the cuttings should root in a few weeks.