Golden Shrimp Plant: How To Care For Pachystachys Lutea

The Golden Shrimp Plant, botanically known as Pachystachys lutea is an upright tropical evergreen landscape perennial shrub.

This native to the subtropical regions of Peru makes a great landscape plant to the perennial garden.

Over the years, the Golden Shrimp Plant has grown in popularity in northern European countries as well as some parts of the United States.

golden shrimp plant flowers of buttery yellow gold
kelly marken | Adobe

It’s known by common name:

  • Yellow shrimp plant
  • Golden candles plant
  • Lollipop plant

Its showy bright yellow bracts with white flowers make Pachystachys lutea an attractive bush with lush green leaves.

Add Pachystachys lutea to your ever-blooming houseplant collection. 

Read on to learn more about caring for Pachystachys lutea.

Pachystachys Lutea Care

Size & Growth

The golden shrimp plant grows quite happily outdoors where it can reach a height at maturity of 36″ to 48″ inches tall.

However, to reach these heights you’ll need to provide a sheltered, frost-free area in moist and well-drained soil.

Flowering and Fragrance

Its showy, orange, gold, or bright yellow bracts with white flowers bloom during the summer.

The bracts resemble a shrimp’s layered scales, particularly the ghost shrimp.

What Kind Of Light Conditions Does The Golden Shrimp Plant Require And Grow Best?

As a houseplant, ensure the shrimp receives as much light as possible and position them in an area with high humidity and full light.

Indoors, an East/West or South windows are ideal. A couple of hours of direct sunshine keeps plants happy.

Consider moving your plant outside in the summer.

When moving to higher light levels introduce plants slowly. This will allow the Pachystachys to acclimate without experiencing any problems.

Pachystachys lutea prefers full sun, give them as much full sun as possible.

In climates with hot summers, it benefits from afternoon shade.

Plants tend to get leggy in partial shade and as they age.

For an attractive, neat plant pruning and a great light source are important.

Watering and Feeding

The Golden Shrimp plant does not handle long periods of drought. They tend to soak up quite a bit of water in the warm months.

Even though shrimp plants tolerate moist soil, it does well when the surface of the soil dries slightly between waterings, particularly in the winter months.

When watering, water thoroughly – enough to saturate the roots to a depth of about 6″ inches.

If plants dry out accidentally, soak them in water and drain off the excess to make sure the potting mix becomes thoroughly moist and saturated.

When growing golden shrimp plants in pots, consider a self-watering container.

Feeding And Fertilizer

Shrimps are not heavy feeders. However, regular fertilization stimulates healthy growth as well as big flowers.

Whether you grow P. lutea in potting mix or in a bed, they need proper fertilization.

During the growing season (spring to fall) apply liquid foods regularly and blooming fertilizer occasionally to ensure that the plant looks its best.

Always apply the fertilizer according to rate specifications on the label.

Immediately after applying a complete fertilizer, always water the plant.

However, avoid excessive fertilization as it weakens the plant making it more susceptible to insects and disease.

Soil & Transplanting

The Pachystachys grows in almost any kind of properly drained soil including loam, clay, sand, or even slightly acidic or alkaline soil. However, it does not enjoy beach-side planting as it doesn’t handle salty soil well.

Grooming And Maintenance: Prune Pachystachys For Shape And Size

The Pachystachys lutea requires minor maintenance to keep it looking its best.

Prune plants in early spring to ensure they maintain the desired shape and size. Without pruning plants become long, leggy, and top-heavy.

If you grow shrimps in containers, always move them indoors before nighttime air temperatures fall to 45° degrees Fahrenheit.

Even though the plant does rebound after being nipped by light frost, it is often slow to recover.

Shrimp’s Love Humidity

Golden Shrimp loves higher humidity and likes the leaves sprayed occasionally.

It will tolerate lower humidity levels but becomes more susceptible to spider mites, aphids (greenfly), and whiteflies.

Increase humidity in the growing season outdoors through regular spraying during the summer months.

Maintaining humidity indoors becomes more difficult. 

Placing plants in a tray of wet porous rocks or pebbles helps.

However, using an atomizing spray does not make up for high regular humidity.

How To Propagate Pachystachys Plants

The Golden Shrimp propagates easily through cuttings.

Softwood cuttings taken in the summer months do well but require good humidity for easy rooting. Try using soda bottles as a “mini propagating greenhouse.”

Otherwise, you can root cuttings indoors (dip them into a rooting powder for plants) using a pot of 50% peat moss, 50% perlite, and an airtight covering using a clear plastic bag. Plants should root quickly.

Avoid placing the cuttings in direct sunshine.

Golden Shimp Plant Pest or Disease Problems

Few insects plague the Golden Shrimp plant. The main culprits are:

  • Spider mite
  • Plant scale
  • Mealybug

Check weekly under the leaves for both spider mites and scale insects which cause damage by puncturing the leaves and sucking out the plant juices.

Mealybugs are often found at leaf axils and around the flower clusters. Learn to control Mealybugs here.

Spider mites are so tiny it’s difficult to see them with the naked eye. However, you can recognize their presence by the reddish or shrimp plant yellow stippling as well as the silky webbing on the leaves.

Plant scale on shrimp plants consists of very small insects covered by a waxy, shell-like covering.

Affected leaves usually turn brown and curl, eventually dropping from the plant. Control light spider mite infestation and scale by spraying plants with a strong stream of water.

Treat heavier infestations by spraying plants with insecticidal soaphorticultural oil or neem insect oil sprays, all safer alternatives to toxic pesticides.

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Since these substances kill on contact, they do not present much danger to such beneficial insects as lady beetles.

Suggested Uses The Golden Shrimp Plant 

Pachystachys lutea is a truly amazing plant that will make an excellent addition to your collection. Follow the care tips provided in this article and you will have a wonderful looking plant in your house or greenhouse.

Note: the common name “shrimp plant” can make for some confusion. Another plant often called the “shrimp” is Justicia brandegeeana a (salmon-red) variety.

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