Pachystachys lutea, also known as lollipop plant or golden shrimp plant, is a great houseplant to add to your everblooming collection. It makes quite a showy bush with lush leaves. You can keep it small and in shape by pruning, or grow it out to a large specimen at 3 feet in a pot, more if planted in a greenhouse.
This plant is a relative of the shrimp plant Justicia brandegeana, and just like it, has colorful, attractive bracts. It’s the bracts that are really the interesting aspect of the plant. The actual flowers emerge from the bracts and are small, white, and tubular.
The lollipop plant is not a fussy plant, and does not require high light level to flower. It’s a very rewarding and reliable plant with lush tropical foliage. It’s easy to grow indoors and can be maintained at a medium or a larger size.
Pachystachys lutea is not as drought tolerant as the regular shrimp plant, and does tend to soak up quite a bit of water during the warm months. Overall it has average watering needs. I would recommend letting the soil somewhat dry out between watering, especially during the winter months. If you accidentally dry out the plant, make sure you soak it in water and then drain the excess water well to ensure the soil is thoroughly moist.
East/west or south windows are the best for this plant. Couple of hours of direct sunlight are ideal to keep the plant happy. They do tend to get leggy as they age, so a good light source and some pruning are essential to have a neat plant. I do take this plant out in the summer, and slowly acclimate it to higher light levels without any trouble.
Pachystachys lutea likes higher humidity, and does like its leaves sprayed occasionally. Lower humidity levels will be tolerated, however the plant will be more susceptible to whiteflies, aphids and spider mites.
Soil Type and Fertilizer:
Regular potting mix with a bit of extra per-lite to keep the soil from compacting to much. Pachystachys lutea is not very needy. A regular fertilized and occasional blooming fertilizer applied during the growing season (spring to fall) will keep the plant looking its best.
Pachystachys lutea is very easy to propagate through cuttings.
Other Care Tips and Personal Observations:
This is a great plant to have. It will brighten the dull winter months with its stricking yellow candle-like flowers. The flowers (by that I mean the bracts) are pretty large and showy. The lollipop plant makes a wonderful bush and can even be trained into a tree. Pruning it is very important (it flowers from the tips of the branches therefore you want a well branched plant), and form my experience this plant can take quite a hard pruning, returning to blooming in no time.