Justicia betonica, White Shrimp Plant
My blogger mate Sandy from the Sunshine Coast once featured this plant which she found growing beside a drain as a 'garden escapee'. I came across it on a nature strip in a Sydney street and immediately screeched to a halt and ordered my work mate out of the passenger seat to grab a cutting. That was last summer and now I have some very healthy specimens growing, flowering and almost ready for sale. This is a charming small rounded shrub growing to about a metre in height with a crown of papery flowers which consist of green veined white bracts from which emerge lovely baby pink flowers. These flowers are produced continually for about six months and have a wonderful texture when handled. I am thinking it would make a great specimen for a blind-fold guessing competition.
Most Justicias will tolerate light frost or will defoliate in very cold winters but are otherwise very hardy and tolerant of shade and dry conditions. Best specimens grow in well mulched semi shaded positions with regular water.