Justicia brandegeeana 'Yellow Queen'

Common Name: shrimp plant 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Acanthaceae
Zone: 9 to 11
Height: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: White with chartreuse to yellow bracts
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 9-11. Roots may survive in Zone 8. Grow in moist, humusy, well-drained soils full sun to part shade. Colorful flower bracts tend to bleach out in full sun, so these plants are generally best grown in part shade, i.e., with some protection from hot afternoon sun. Grow in pots or containers in the St. Louis area. Plant stems can be pruned back to shape and promote bushiness. Containers may be overwintered as houseplants in a warm sun room, or watering can be severely reduced to force plants into dormancy for winter storage in a dark, cool, dry location.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Justicia brandegeeana, commonly called shrimp plant, is native to Mexico. It is a sprawling, suckering, tropical evergreen shrub that grows to 5’ tall in its native habitat. It can be pruned shorter and will naturally grow much shorter in containers. Features drooping arching terminal spikes (to 3-6” long) of white flowers with overlapping red to pink-bronze bracts. Each flower spike somewhat resembles a large shrimp. Blooms in summer. Synonymous with Beloperone guttata.

Genus name honors James Justice, 18th Century Scottish horticulturist (1698-1763).

Specific epithet honors American civil engineer Townsend Stith Brandegee (1843-1925) who studied plants of California and Mexico.

'Yellow Queen' is a small, sprawling shrub with oval, light green, slightly hairy leaves. Blooming almost continuously from spring to fall, it is grown for its white shrimp-like blooms that emerge from arching spikes of long-lasting chartreuse to yellow, heart-shaped bracts. Evergreen in mild climates, it will grow 1 to 3 ft. tall and wide but will benefit from pruning to keep its shape tidy. It may also be sold under a variety of names including Justicia brandegeeana lutea, Beloperone lutea 'Yellow Queen', and Beloperone guttata. The species name, brandegeeana, is commonly misspelled as brandegeana.


Leaves may drop if soil is either too wet or too dry. Susceptible to leaf spot. Watch for whiteflies and spider mites, particularly when grown indoors.


Containers. Houseplant.