The Golden shrimp plant belongs in the family, Acanthaceae from the genus Pachystachys. It is hardy in the U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 10 through 11 and in the southern portions of zone 9. In the late spring or early summer, bright yellow or white flowers tower above the dark green foliage.
Golden shrimp is a native plant to South America and can grow to heights up to 3 feet. The other common names are Golden Candle plants or Lemon Lollipop Flowers. While they can grow outdoors in warm temperate zones, those of us living in zones 9 and colder will need to grow this plant indoors during the winter months. They make a wonderful easy to grow and care for houseplant, providing they have the right care.
During the winter months, place the Golden shrimp plant in a bright window where it receives the full morning sun. For the rest of the day, the location should provide bright indirect light. A south or east facing window works best. Often times, the winter months are cloudy. If you have grow lights, you can place your Golden shrimp plant there. The top of the foliage needs 4 inches of space between them and the lights. You will want to keep this plant in a room that remains around 55 to 65° Fahrenheit. The area should be free from drafts or big temperature swings.
Take the Golden shrimp plant outdoors when the temperatures remain above 60° Fahrenheit. Place them in a protected location that receives bright indirect light. Full sun will be too hot and will burn the leaves. When the temperatures dip below 55° Fahrenheit, it is time to take the plant back indoors.
Allow the water to come to room temperature and to sit for 24 hours before giving it to your plants or misting them. When you allow water to sit that length of time, it allows the chemicals and chlorine to evaporate away. Golden shrimp plants like humid environments. Mist the foliage daily. In the winter, use a mister or a humidifier to keep the air humid. You can also fill bowls with rocks. Pour enough water into the bowl, so it comes just below the top of the rocks. Place them close to your plants.
In the spring and summer months, water the plants keeping the soil evenly moist. Reduce the amount of water you give your Golden shrimp plant during the winter months. If the soil becomes too dry, the leaves may fall off.
Feed the Golden shrimp once a week with a liquid fertilizer. You can also use slow release pellets once in the spring. Always read and follow label directions for mixing and applying the fertilizer.
Check for Pests
Inspect the Golden shrimp plant for mealy bugs, scale, and spider mites. Many of these can be sprayed off the foliage with a blast of water or you can use an insecticide. Another method is to fill a sprayer with equal amounts of water and rubbing alcohol. Spray the foliage to the point of run-off. Wipe away mealy bugs with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol. Repeat as necessary.
Trim the plants back by one third in the spring or early summer. This encourages new growth and a bushier plant. You can leave the plant growing without pruning, but it may become leggy and top heavy.