- Caring For Cerinthe: What Is Cerinthe Blue Shrimp Plant
- What is Cerinthe?
- Growing Cerinthe Plants
- Caring for Cerinthe
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- Shrimp Plant Care
- Shrimp Plant
- Colorful Combinations
- Honeywort Care Must-Knows
- Plant Honeywort With
Caring For Cerinthe: What Is Cerinthe Blue Shrimp Plant
There is a fun little plant with vibrant bluish purple flowers and leaves that change colors. Cerinthe is the grown-up name, but it is also called the Pride of Gibraltar and the blue shrimp plant. What is Cerinthe? Cerinthe is a Mediterranean species perfect for moderate environments. Growing Cerinthe plants require USDA plant hardiness zones 7 to 10. This versatile little guy might be the right choice to brighten up your garden.
What is Cerinthe?
In addition to its other names, Cerinthe is also known as honeywort or wax flower from the Greek ‘keros’ for wax and ‘anthos’ for flower. The plant is an herb related to borage, but the foliage is not as thickly haired. Instead, Cerinthe has thick greenish-gray foliage with softly rounded edges. New leaves are marbled with white, which disappears after the leaves mature. The leaves alternate in whorls up the stem in an attractive pattern.
The Cerinthe blue shrimp plant (Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’) may be an annual in colder climes, or a half hardy perennial. The flowers are tiny and insignificant but are covered by colorful bracts. The bracts deepen into a bluer hue as nighttime temperatures cool. During the day they are a lighter purple tone. These herbs grow 2 to 4 feet tall and are perfect in beds, borders and pots.
Growing Cerinthe Plants
The Cerinthe blue shrimp plant is easy to start from seed. Soak the seeds overnight and start them indoors four to six weeks before the last frost. Plant the herb outside in April in most zones.
Cerinthe plant care includes a , full to partial sun and moderate water. Potted plants require more water than in-ground plants. The herb is slightly drought tolerant but produces the best flower display when the plant is kept moist but not soggy.
Caring for Cerinthe
This is an easy-to-grow plant and Cerinthe plant care rates on the low to moderate scale. This herb will even flourish in rich soil with little to no maintenance.
Once you have an established plant, self-seeding ensures a ready supply of plants every year. Outdoor plants will tend to reseed or you can collect seeds, dry them and save them for the next season. Harvest seeds in fall and save them in envelopes until early spring.
You can trim back rangy stems, if you wish, to force a more compact plant. Stake tall plants or use a peony ring to keep stems upright.
Once the plant experiences a hard freeze, it will die. In more temperate zones, remove the parent plant in winter and lightly mulch over the seeds. Fluff the soil in spring and the seeds should germinate and produce a new batch of Cerinthe blue shrimp plants.
Use a diluted plant food once a month when caring for Cerinthe in pots.
25+ Cerinthe Blue Shrimp Pride Of Gibraltar Flower Seeds / Self-Seeding
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The shrimp plant Justicia brandegeeana earned its well deserved name from its normally arching, bronze-coppery flowerheads.
It can display masses of blooms all year and is easy to grow. Shrimp plant belongs to the genus Justicia and an evergreen shrub of the family Acanthaceae.
I always love to see “common plants” displayed and grown in unusual ways.
The image above is a shrimp variety from Hort Couture’s St. Lucia Tropical Island Package grown as a tree or topiary form.
Shrimp plant have many varieties such as: red shrimp plant, white shrimp plant, golden shrimp plant, purple shrimp plant, blue shrimp plant and orange shrimp plant.
Sometimes, they call golden shrimp plant as yellow shrimp plant or lollipop plant with botanical name of Pachystachys Lutea. Although these varieties belongs to same family – Justica, they can’t grow in same hardiness zone.
This provides a whole new look and use to this year round blooms out on a deck or patio and hummingbirds love them.
Here’s a quick rundown on a Shrimp Plants cultural needs.
You may also like –> Jacobina Carnea (Justicia)
Shrimp Plant Care
Size and Growth Rate
Normally this plant grows low, compact size about 12 inches will encourage flowering. When grown in a tree form, keep the head tight for flowering.
Flowering and Fragrance
Grown for its decorative flower heads which resemble shrimp with green leaves. Flowers are white and tongue-shaped with no fragrance, last a short time, replaced with new flowers.
Related Reading: Justicia brandegeana relative the Crossandra plant (Crossandra infundibuliformis)
Light and Temperature
Needs a lot of light, preferably not direct sunlight indoors. Frown outdoors in summer, they can handle sun or shade. Prefer fresh air,not too much summer heat – 65 – 75 degrees and winter temperatures 55 – 65 degrees.
Watering and Feeding
The Shrimp Flower needs well-drained soil, outdoors in summer, water 1-2 times a week. In winter, keep the soil damp – never let the flowering plants dry out completely.
Water with a solution of liquid plant food throughout the warmer months. If the plant flowers during the winter months, cut the amount of feed in half – or completely make cuttings.
Soil and Transplanting
Red Shrimp Plants grow best in well-draining potting soil. Repot yearly or give the plant new top soil each spring. To produce more plants, cut three-inch long cuttings from the tip of the stems.
Plant Problems and Pest
- Pale leaves usually needs plant food. If hungry… feed plant slowly at first
- Pale drab flowers lose coloring turning dull yellow, often means plant needs more light
- Flower bracts heads blacken, did flower heads get wet during watering or rain – Remove flower head
- Leaves yellowing… sign of over-watering. If soil is dry, look for red spider mites on undersides of leaves. If found, treat with approved miticide (see read and follow label) spray, keep humidity up.
- Straggly growth, too much heat, not enough light. Move plant to cooler, brighter location.
Video on Pruning Shrimp Trees
Watch out she takes them down to the ground!
Image: photo source
Oh my yes, this plant is very appropriately named. This beauty with the shrimp-like flowers gives a tropical feel to the garden and blooms like crazy, almost all year long here in Southern California. Shrimp Plant needs pruning once a year to prevent it from becoming a twiggy, spindly mess with flowers much smaller than we prefer them to be. We want jumbo prawn flowers, not mini shrimps!
Shrimp Plant, whose botanic name is Justicia brandegeeana, has such a vigorous growth rate that I’ve found it greatly benefits from a hard shearing every winter. They flower like crazy, almost non-stop here in Santa Barbara if the winter is drier and warmer and they aren’t cut back. Like any other plant which flowers madly , they need to be pruned down to rest and rejuvenate. 9-10 months of flowering is hard work after all.
This pic was taken in July, & as you can see, the plant is covered in flowers.
I’ve seen Shrimp Plant classified as both an evergreen subshrub or evergreen shrubby perennial. Whichever classification you choose, it gets very thin if not pruned back, at least here anyway. The leaves turn yellow then black and fall off in the cooler weather making it even more sparse. Even though it’s totally bare and looking downright ugly when I cut it all back it’s so worth it to get all those blooms. In my book, it’s an easy choice.
My shrimp plant needs a good pruning. It took me 3 months to wrap this video up so you’ll see a few costume changes:
There’s really no artistic skill required when pruning a Shrimp Plant. You could actually use the hedge clippers and the plant would be fine. That’s what I would do if I had a hedge of this plant because doing it the way I did it in the video would be too tedious, unless of course you enjoy that sort of thing. This method also applies to other fast growing perennials which need a hard pruning at the end of the season.
This is the plant in early Jan. As you can see, it’s leggy, the flowers are getting smaller & sparser & the leaves are turning yellow & falling off. The leaves will drop in cooler temps by the way eventually turning black.
Pruning them is very simple – here’s what I do:
1- I prune from the outside in & start by taking the outer circumference of stems down to 2-3″ above the soil.
2- I then work my way into the center of the plant leaving the stems in each “row” a bit taller than the previous 1. The center stems are left the tallest because this looks the best & it’s how the plant naturally strives to grow.
3- I remove any excessively thin or stems with gnarled growth so the plant has a better form. I take all cuts slightly above a growth node.
Besides this big pruning I do every winter, little else is needed throughout the year. I do an occasional snipping if any of the stems start to cover the mailbox, jut out into the walkway or if I feel like doing a little deadheading. I’ve found that the flowers fall off on their own and they bloom like wildfire whether I deadhead or not.
The new growth emerges from those nodes as the weather warms. You can also see how I pruned the stems in increments leaving the middle tallest.
Not the prettiest pic but here’s an example of the stems I completely prune out.
The hummingbirds absolutely adore this plant. Almost everyone who visits my home oohh’s and aahh’s over this plant when it’s blooming. As you can see, the flowers are very unique. And yes, they do look like shrimps!
Shrimp plant (Justicia brandegeana) is an attractive tropical perennial and a must-have for a hummingbird garden.
This easy-to-grow plant can reach two to six feet tall, and is easily recognized by the colorful, drooping, shrimp-like bracts it produces. But it’s the white flower inside the bracts that attracts both hummingbirds and butterflies. The plant commonly called golden shrimp plant is a different but related species.
The Florida-Friendly shrimp plant can be grown throughout the state and blooms year-round in mild climates. It will be killed back by frost but usually returns in the spring. Shrimp plant can be planted in full sun or part shade, and will grow best in rich organic soil.
New plants may look somewhat twiggy, but with light pruning and a little care will quickly spread to form an attractive clump. Patient gardeners who keep an eye out in the early evenings may be rewarded with a visit from tiny diners.
- Shrimp Plant Justicia brandegeana ‘Fruit Cocktail’ Fact Sheet (PDF)
- Perennial Gardening in Florida
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Honeywort, with its leathery grey/green foliage and intriguing blue to purple bracts, is a fast-growing annual native to the Mediterranean region. This drought-tolerant plant flourishes both in the ground and in containers, which show off the semi-cascading shoots. Honeywort is also called blue shrimp plant because of the color and shape of the blooms and bracts.
It is hard to find true blues in the plant world, and when you do, it seems like the flowers are often short-lived. But one of the great things about honeywort is its bracts, which hold their blue or purple color for weeks. They are showier than the flowers, little bell-shaped blossoms often hidden within the bracts.
Grow these gorgeous blue flowers in your garden.
Because honeywort is largely seed-grown, there is quite a bit of variability when it comes to flower color. Most honeywort blossoms are purple to blue, but you may come across creams and even yellows. The plants are well-loved by pollinators for their nectar-rich flowers.
The foliage of honeywort is also special. Most plants in this family have exceptionally hairy foliage, whereas honeyworts may only have the stray hair here and there. The leaves are thick and waxy in an attractive gray-green color. When they are young, they also have cream spots and splashes, but these fade with maturity.
Honeywort Care Must-Knows
Honeywort grows in a variety of soil conditions, making it an easy-to- grow plant. Ideally it prefers soil rich in humus and organic matter that retains a decent amount of moisture while also being well-drained to prevent potential rot problems. When growing honeywort in containers, use a general purpose potting mix; the plant will need a bit more water when grown in a pot. Once established, honeywort can handle the occasional drought, but supplemental watering is beneficial.
To grow the most vibrant honeyworts, full sun is best, but plants are able to tolerate light shade. Full sun will help to give honeyworts the most intense blue-colored bracts possible. Too much shade can cause honeywort to become quite leggy and without careful attention can lead to powdery mildew infections.
Honeywort will produce large black seeds that fall to the ground, germinate in fall, and creates a nice stand of plants. In cooler climates where these plants will die from cold, collect the seeds for sowing next spring. To do this, plant seeds in small pots 6 to 8 weeks before the frost free date. Once the threat of frost has passed, plant the young seedlings outdoors. You can also sow honeywort seeds directly in the ground with good success.
See more beautiful winter bloomers.
Plant Honeywort With
Angelonia is also called summer snapdragon, and once you get a good look at it, you’ll know why. It has salvia-like flower spires that reach a foot or 2 high, but they’re studded with fascinating snapdragon-like flowers with beautiful colorations in purple, white, or pink. It’s the perfect plant for adding bright color to hot, sunny spaces. This tough plant blooms all summer long with spirelike spikes of blooms. While all varieties are beautiful, keep an eye out for the sweetly scented selections. While most gardeners treat angelonia as an annual, it is a tough perennial in Zones 9-10. Or, if you have a bright, sunny spot indoors, you can even keep it flowering all winter.
Exciting new selections with incredible foliage patterns have put coralbells on the map. Previously enjoyed mainly for their spires of dainty reddish flowers, coralbells are now grown as much for the unusual mottling and veining of different-color leaves. The low clumps of long-stemmed evergreen or semi-evergreen lobed foliage make coralbells fine groundcover plants. They enjoy humus-rich, moisture-retaining soil. Beware of heaving in areas with very cold winters.
Lamb’s-ears is a top pick for a groundcover in a hot, baked spot. Its silver felted foliage quickly forms a dense, delightful mat. It also contrasts nicely with other foliage and most flowers. enhances almost everything. Depending on the type and your growing conditions, it may self-sow freely to the point of becoming a bother. In hot humid climates, lamb’s ears may “melt down” in summer, becoming brown and limp.A quite different but related plant, big betony is worth growing for its shade tolerance, dark green crumpled leaves, and bright purple spikes of whorled 1-inch flowers in late spring. Wood betony is similar but not as shade-tolerant.