Justicia Species, 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)
Synonym:Betonica frutescens
Synonym:Adhatoda betonica
Synonym:Ecbolium betonica
Synonym:Justicia betonicoides
Synonym:Nicoteba betonica
View this plant in a garden




Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Simi Valley, California

Brooksville, Florida

Deland, Florida

Miccosukee Cpo, 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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Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 1, 2018, LuckySC from Miccosukee Cpo, FL wrote:

I love this plant! The white flowers with green veining are terrific and are useful in flower arrangements as well as being a pollinator attractant. I had it long ago and lost it but finally found it again. It is growing in Tallahassee, Florida. We had several hard freezes this year (20 degrees ). I am hoping it will come back but I took cuttings just in case. I don't want to lose it again.


On Jul 16, 2017, brachychiton from Bribie Island,
Australia wrote:

I'm growing it in part shade in subtropical Queensland. It's a leggy, not-particularly-attractive plant, with insignificant flowers. It has also self-seeded all over the yard (and possibly the neighbourhood).

It's saving grace is that it is tough and provides important shade in our chicken run. As soon as I can establish another shade plant for the chickens, this plant will go.


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.


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.


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".