How to Care for Mexican Shrimp Plant (Beloperone guttata) Indoors

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Mexican Shrimp Plant, Beloperone guttata

Botanical name: Beloperone guttata
Synonym: Justicia brandegeena
Family: Acanthaceae
Common names: Mexican Shrimp Plant, Red Shrimp Plant, Shrimp Plant, False Hop

Description

Beloperone guttata commonly called Mexican Shrimp Plant, Red Shrimp Plant, Shrimp Plant or False Hop is an evergreen shrub with weak branching stems and a reddish-yellow spike from which white flowers emerge.

The spike is made up of reddish-yellow bracts and short-lived white flowers which emerge sequentially. Red Shrimp flowers from spring through summer.

The common name, 'Red Shrimp Plant', is in reference to the layered (overlapping) bright reddish-yellow bracts which resemble a shrimp's layered scales.

Mexican Shrimp plant is similar to Golden Shrimp Plant (Pachystachys lutea) which features yellow bracts instead of reddish.

The name, 'Beloperone', comes from, 'Belos', greek for 'arrow' and 'perone', greek for 'bond' in reference to arrow-shaped leaves as they emerge from the stems.

Beloperone guttata has been renamed to Justicia brandegeeana in honor of the American botanist Townshed Stith Brandegee (1843-1925) who studied plants of California and Mexico.

Size

Mexican Shrimp Plant can grow to a height of about 1-3 ft and the same width. The leaves are oval, light-green and about 1.5-3 in. long.

Flower

The inflorescence is made up of flowers which emerge from bracts (modified leaves) that form off the stems. They start off white but change color to somewhere between pale-pink to salmon with exposure to sunlight.

Origin

Mexican Shrimp Plant (Beloperone guttata) is native to Mexico, hence the common name. The plant has been naturalized in Florida, USA.

Buy beautiful and healthy Mexican Shrimp Plant (Beloperone guttata) from Etsy.

Mexican Shrimp Plant, Beloperone guttata

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Mexican Shrimp Plant (Beloperone guttata) Care Indoors

Light Requirements

Mexican Shrimp Plant (Beloperone guttata) grows best in bright light with some morning or evening sunshine to enhance bracts color.

Keep it away from too hot direct sunshine as it can scorch the leaves. It can also grow under a grow light where natural light in not sufficient.

If light is not enough for Red Shrimp Plant, it will become leggy with wide spaces between the leaf nodes and will not bloom.

Turn the pot regularly to ensure the plant receives light on all sides for even growth. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

False Hop Plant can also be grown outside under direct sunshine but it needs to be acclimated gradually before being exposed to direct sunshine to avoid sunscorch.

How to water Mexican Shrimp Plant

Water Mexican Shrimp Plant (Beloperone guttata) thoroughly during the growing season and allow two-thirds of the soil to dry out between waterings.

Reduce watering during the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist as growth is minimal at this time.

Do not allow the soil for Red Shrimp Plant to dry out completely as it can lead to wilting and leaf drop. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Ensure that the soil is free-draining and the pot has a drainage hole to avoid getting soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot and eventual death of the plant.


Temperature

Average room temperature within the range of 18-240C is ideal for Mexican Shrimp Plant.

Keep the plant away from draughty conditions as cold temperatures can cause leaf drop. Check out this guide on Understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Average to above average room humidity is ideal for Mexican Shrimp Plant. The plant thrives in warm, humid conditions like in its natural environment.

To raise humidity especially where the room temperatures are very high, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to avoid brown leaf tips and edges. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Mexican Shrimp Plant (Beloperone guttata) with a phosphorous-rich, water-soluble fertilizer every 3-4 weeks during the growing season to promote flowering.

Do not feed the Red Shrimp Plant during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time and feeding at this time can cause fertilizer burn. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to prune Mexican Shrimp Plant

Prune Mexican Shrimp Plant (Beloperone guttata) by removing dead blooms and leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy.

Cutback the stems at the beginning of the growing season to rejuvenate growth as the plant becomes straggly and unattractive with age.

It also promotes flowering as blooms emerge from the stem tips. Read more on how to prune houseplants.

Repotting

Repot Mexican Shrimp Plant (Beloperone guttata) at the beginning of the growing season into a pot one size larger than the current only when root-bound as it blooms best when pot-bound.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining soil to avoid getting soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot and eventual death of the plant.

Do not repot a Shrimp Plant that is in flower as the repotting shock can shorten the flowering period.

The large plants can be divided at repotting to propagate new plants.

Soil for Mexican Shrimp Plant

The best soil for Mexican Shrimp Plant should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.

Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal. Buy quality potting mix for Mexican Shrimp Plant from Amazon.

Propagation

Mexican Shrimp Plant can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from stem cuttings or by plant division.

1. How to propagate Mexican Shrimp Plant from stem cuttings

Take a 4-6 stem cuttings from a healthy Mexican Shrimp Plant. Strip off the lower leaves of the cuttings and coat the lower part of the stem with a rooting hormone.

Carefully insert the coated cuttings in moist, free-draining soil and ensure the rooting container has adequate drainage holes to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.

Cover the set up with a clear plastic bag or sheet to create a greenhouse effect to hasten rooting. A warm and humid environment is needed for rooting to happen.

Place the set up in bright light but away from direct sunlight to avoid cooking the cuttings.

Maintain the soil moist through out until the cuttings are rooted. Rooting should occur in about 6-8 weeks and is indicated by new growth.

Once rooted, remove the plastic cover a little every day over a period of 2 weeks to acclimate the new plants to normal indoor growing conditions.

Allow the new Mexican Shrimp Plant to be well established before transplanting after which you can begin routine care.

2. How to propagate Mexican Shrimp Plant by plant division

Water the Mexican Shrimp Plant thoroughly at least 1 day before to make it easier to divide and also hasten establishment. A well hydrated plant suffers less shock and takes a shorter time to take root.

Carefully divide a large Mexican Shrimp Plant plant into sections while ensuring each section has enough roots.

Pot these sections into individual pots in moist, free-draining soil.

Place the set up in a warm, brightly-lit place and maintain the soil moist until the new Mexican Shrimp Plant is well established after which you can begin routine care.

Mexican Shrimp Plant, Beloperone guttata

Mexican Shrimp Plant (Beloperone guttata) Problems Indoors

Wilting and drooping leaves

Underwatering is the cause of wilting and drooping leaves in Mexican Shrimp Plant.

Water the Plant thoroughly and maintain the soil moderately moist during the growing season. Reduce watering during the cold season but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Dropping leaves

There are four possible reasons for dropping leaves in Mexican Shrimp Plant. One possible reason for dropping leaves is dry air.

Set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use cool mist humidifier to raise humidity. Check out these techniques on how to raise himidity for houseplants.

The second possible reason for dropping leaves in Mexican Shrimp Plant is incorrect watering; either overwatering or underwatering.

Water the plant thoroughly to maintain the soil moderately moist during the growing season.

Reduce watering during the cold period but do not allow the soil ball to dry out completely.

The third possible reason for dropping leaves in Mexican Shrimp Plant is improper feeding; either overfeeding of underfeeding.

Feed Mexican Shrimp Plant every 3-4 weeks during the growing season with a phosphorous-rich, water-soluble fertilizer but do not feed during the cold season.

The fourth possible reason for dropping leaves in Mexican Shrimp Plant is too cold temperatures due to cold drafts.

Keep the plant away from draft windows and doorways, air conditioners and other cold draughts to maintain an average temperature within the range of 18-240C.

Yellowing leaves

There are two possible causes of yellowing leaves in Mexican Shrimp Plant. One possible cause of yellowing leaves is overwatering or soggy soil.

Water the plant thoroughly during the growing season and allow two-thirds of the soil to dry out between waterings. Reduce watering during the cold period to maintain the soil slightly moist.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and that the soil if free-draining to avoid getting soggy soil.

The second possible cause of yellowing leaves in Red Shrimp Plant is underfeeding.

Feed the plant with a phosphorous-rich, water-soluble fertilizer every 3-4 weeks during the growing season but do not feed in the cold season.

No blooms (flowers)

The are three possible causes of lack of blooms in Mexican Shrimp Plant. One possible reason why Mexican Shrimp Plant will not flower is too little light.

Move the plant to a brighter spot where it can receive bright light with some morning sunshine or instal a grow light where natural lighting is not adequate.

The second possible reason why Mexican Shrimp Plant will not bloom is feeding it with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer which promotes foliage growth at the expense of flowering.

Feed Red Shrimp Plant with a phosphorous-rich, water-soluble fertilizer every 3-4 weeks during the growing season to promote flowering. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

The third possible reason why Mexican Shrimp Plant will not bloom is underwatering. Water the False Hop Plant thoroughly during the growing season and keep the soil moderately moist through out.

However, reduce watering during the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Brown leaf tips and edges

Two reasons are responsible for brown leaf tips and edges in Mexican Shrimp Plant. One reason for brown leaf tips and edges is dry air (low humidity).

Set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

The second reason for brown leaf tips and edges in Red Shrimp Plant is soggy soil. Maintain the soil moist but not soggy by ensuring that the pot has a drainage hole and that the soil is free-draining (drains easily).

Pests

The common pests in Mexican Shrimp Plant (Beloperone guttata) are Aphids, Whiteflies and Spider Mites.

Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat with Neem oil or Insecticidal soap.

Diseases

Mexican Shrimp Plant (Beloperone guttata) is prone to Leaf Spot Disease and Root-rot Disease. Leaf Spot Disease is brought about by wetting of the foliage during watering coupled with poor air circulation.

Therefore avoid wetting the leaves as you water the plant and ensure that there is free-air circulation.

Root-rot disease is promoted by soggy soil due to poor drainage of the pot or the soil. Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and that the soil is free-draining. Read more on Root-rot Disease and how to deal with it.

Is Mexican Shrimp Plant (Beloperone guttata) poisonous?

There are no reported cases of poisoning by Mexican Shrimp Plant (Beloperone guttata), however, it should not be eaten.

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