This Summer in Austin we saw record breaking temperatures and a hazardous drought, leaving many without homes after fires swept the 5 counties in the area. Our hearts go out to them.

Many people have also lost plants to the drought and watering restrictions. Now is a good time to take stock of what you still have in your yard. If it survived this past summer, you have a treasure.

In our yard we have many Shrimp Plants (Justicia brandegeana) that have struggled on despite the very dry summer. Though we lost a couple, we are seeing our first blooms after only one (the first) rainstorm. These plants are one of my favorites due to their hardy nature and their ability to bloom throughout the winter months. They have survived freezes and now droughts. As with all native plants, their ability to thrive may depend on soil, your own neighborhoods climate (this all can differ from one part of the city to another) and also the source or nursery. We find the plants found at Natural Gardener and also King Feed in Wimberley have consistently resilient natives.
The Shrimp Plant is a perennial and grows 2 – 3 feet tall. It will colonize if left alone. If in the winter it gets straggly, trim it back and it will fluff up in the spring. Ours have bloomed all of Fall and into January. They require very little care and although they are called a shade plant, they can also flourish in partial sunlight. They have lush green leaves and very interesting blooms, red being the most common. The humming birds are attracted and though they are not fragrant, they are a wonderful addition to your Texas landscape.

  1. Cathy Howell says:

    It is so true Dan, the shrimp plant is so fun. You caused me to wonder why we don’t have any in our Wimberley yard. I found some where you suggested at http://naturalgardeneraustin.com/ and am looking forward to seeing how they do in the very rocky soil we have in our yard.
    Thank you!

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