Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-11. In St. Louis, grow in the garden as a summer annual, in containers that can be overwintered indoors or as a houseplant. In the ground, plants need a moist, organically rich, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates part shade. Houseplants are best in warm, humid, sunny locations.
Pachystachys lutea, commonly called lollypop plant, golden candle or shrimp plant, is native to Peru. It is a tropical evergreen shrub or subshrub that grows 2-6’ tall in its native habitat. When grown in containers in the St. Louis area, it grows much shorter, more typically to 12-18” tall. Narrow, tubular, two-lipped white flowers are partially covered by and protrude from showy, overlapping golden yellow bracts which provide the predominant structure and color to the 4-sided inflorescences. Yellow bracts somewhat resemble the overlapping scales on a shrimp, hence the common name of shrimp plant. Although it blooms throughout the year in its native habitat, this species blooms primarily in summer in the St. Louis area. Very similar in appearance to Justica. Lance-shaped to elliptic medium green leaves (to 6” long) are heavily veined.
Genus name comes from the Greek words pachys meaning thick and stachys meaning ear of corn or spike in reference to the dense flower clusters.
Specific epithet means yellow.
No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for aphids, whiteflies and spider mites, particularly on indoor plants. Leaf drop often occurs if air temperatures dip into the 60s.
Summer annual. Container. Houseplant. Greenhouse plant.