Brazilian plume flower is one of the most dazzling
plants for the shade garden whether in the
landscape, porch or patio.
you find yourself looking for some exotic, colorful
plants for the summer shade garden, look no further than
the Brazilian plume flower. It is so wonderful that it
was once known botanically as Jacobinia magnifica.
it still is though the new name Justicia carnea simply
doesn’t do it justice. The common names should also
tell you it is worthwhile. Besides Brazilian plume
flower, they include flamingo plant, paradise plant and
your climate is like mine, spring seems to be having a
hard time staking its claim. But when it does, and if
your garden center offers these tropicals from South
America, know you are getting an outstanding plant.
Brazilian plume flower is a member of the Acanthus
family, which means it is related to other outstanding
tropical plants like the yellow shrimp plant, red shrimp
plant, Mexican petunia, firespike, Persian shield and
Brazilian plume flower is really almost indescribable.
There are red-flowered forms, and even a showy yellow,
but it is the pink one that is absolutely mesmerizing.
The bright pink, twin-lipped flowers are produced on
large, fat spikes and hang downward in all directions
— but I struggle to full describe its beauty and form.
these spectacular blooms are borne on a plant that likes
very little sun — it is a shade lover. In warm
climates it is an evergreen shrub that keeps
regenerating growth and more blooms. Not only are the
flowers exotic, but the foliage is a very-striking,
glossy dark-green. In zone 8 it will freeze to the
ground and return with spring growth provided you have
well drained soil. It is even more-cold hardy in zones 9
you live in zones 7 and lower, grow it as an annual as
you do impatiens or most begonias. We have a choice of
growing it as an annual or growing it in a medium-sized
container. As is typical of this family, the Brazilian
plume flower easily roots from cuttings. So make a few
cuttings to over-winter.
it does require very good drainage, if planting in the
landscape, work in 3 to 4 inches of organic matter to a
depth of about 8 inches. If you choose to grow them in
containers, then spend the dollars to get good potting
Brazilian plume flower combines well with ferns, hostas
or other blooming plants like impatiens. It would look
exceptionally striking combined with its cousin, the
keep your plant blooming means to keep it growing. I
like to deadhead old flower spikes immediately when the
blooms decline. Once deadheaded, it will start sending
out new leaves followed by more blooms. This is a nice
plant in that each week it gets bigger, which means you
get more and more flowers with each new flush.
you want to encourage this growth, fertilizer needs to
be a regular part of your gardening regimen. In
containers, feed every other week with a diluted,
water-soluble 20-20-20 or something similar. Those grown
in the landscape can the landscape can be side-dressed
monthly with controlled-released granules.
far I have only seen them at independent garden centers
this year, but I expect that as warm weather settles in
they will become more widely available. If you have
shade make sure you buy some when they arrive at your