Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Squirrel's Tail, White Shrimp Plant
Justicia betonica

Family: Acanthaceae (ah-kanth-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Justicia (jus-TEE-see-ah) (Info)
Species: betonica (bet-OH-nee-kuh) (Info)

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

11 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From softwood cuttings
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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By htop
Thumbnail #1 of Justicia betonica by htop

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By Equilibrium
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By Equilibrium
Thumbnail #5 of Justicia betonica by Equilibrium

By mjsponies
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By brical1
Thumbnail #7 of Justicia betonica by brical1

There are a total of 9 photos.
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2 positives
No neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive sunkissed On Apr 6, 2014, sunkissed from Winter Springs, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I bought this plant last spring at the annual plant at Leu Gardens in Winter Park. It didn't cost much and I never expected much from it. However, It doubled size in the small five inch pot in just one month, so I planted in the ground right under a tree where it would be protected by the hot sun rays and frosty nights. It bloomed all summer until late fall last year. I did protect it with blankets when we dipped many nights to freezing. It didn't freeze back, just some leaf burn. Now it is busting out flowers again, and turning into a nice little bush. So it seems to love the shady spot it is in with early morning and very late afternoon sun, and does get twice a week irrigation. The flowers are so pretty with subtle hints of lilac coloring, and they last quite awhile.

Positive mjsponies On Sep 25, 2009, mjsponies from DeLand/Deleon Springs, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I like this plant. I grow several different varieties of "Shrimp Plants" and it's one of my favorites. I have a neighbor that grows it in full blazing sun. It tends to fade the flowers out a bit. I've got mine where it will get just a touch of shade in the middle of the day.

Negative Equilibrium On Feb 26, 2005, Equilibrium wrote:

A native from India to tropical East Africa. Graceful and elegant plant. Appears to have "weedy" tendencies in that it is naturalizing in many warmer regions of the US specifically the Hawaiian Islands. This plant appears to be on a "watch list" with the Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER) organization in that it is "often escaping and forming large stands".


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Simi Valley, California
Brooksville, Florida
Deland, Florida
Navarre, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Vero Beach, Florida
Wellborn, Florida
Winter Springs, Florida
Brunswick, Georgia
Mandeville, Louisiana
Beaumont, Texas
Desoto, Texas

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