Justicia carnea © onlineflowergarden.com

Justicia carnea, commonly known as Brazilian Plume, Brazilian Plume Flower, Flamingo Flower, Hospital too Far, Blood of Jesus, Pine-Bur Begonia, or Jacobinia carnea, is a captivating and versatile plant belonging to the Acanthaceae family. This upright perennial is primarily grown as an ornamental potted plant and is favored for its striking flowers and lush foliage. In temperate climates, it is predominantly cultivated indoors or in protected environments due to its sensitivity to colder temperatures.

Originating from eastern Brazil, Justicia carnea thrives in the ecoregions of the Atlantic Forest (Mata Atlântica), extending from Rio Grande do Norte to Rio Grande do Sul, as well as inland regions toward Paraguay and parts of Argentina. It has adapted to the unique environmental conditions of this region, making it well-suited to similar climates.

The foliage of Justicia carnea is characterized by large, dark green leaves that can grow up to 25cm (10 inches) in length. The true showstoppers of this plant are its plume-like flowers, which reach impressive heights of about 20cm (8 inches). These stunning blooms consist of crimson-pink tubular flowers arranged in dense clusters. Justicia carnea displays its vibrant flowers from early summer through autumn, attracting butterflies and birds with its nectar-rich blooms. The plant itself can grow to a height of approximately 6 feet (1.8 meters), creating an eye-catching presence in gardens and landscapes.

How to grow Justicia carnea:

When cultivating Justicia carnea, it thrives in partial shade or full shade, requiring diffused light to flourish. Planting it in moist, humus-rich, and well-drained soil provides optimal growing conditions. To encourage a bushy and compact growth habit, you can pinch the tops of the plant. After the flowering period, pruning the plant helps maintain its bushy appearance and promotes prolonged blooming. Propagation of Justicia carnea can be achieved through semi-hardwood cuttings, which offer a reliable method for creating new plants.

Justicia carnea
Justicia carnea

While Justicia carnea is generally resistant to diseases, it may be susceptible to infestations by red spider mites or whiteflies if grown in a greenhouse or enclosed environment. Regular monitoring and appropriate pest control measures can help ensure the plant’s health and vitality.

In addition to its ornamental value, Justicia carnea holds cultural significance in its native region. It has been traditionally used as a medicinal plant, particularly for treating anemia. Local communities have recognized its potential health benefits and incorporated it into traditional medicine practices.

Overall, Justicia carnea stands as an alluring and versatile plant that brings beauty and vibrancy to gardens, indoor spaces, and protected environments. With its mesmerizing flowers, attractive foliage, and cultural significance, it continues to captivate plant enthusiasts and those who appreciate its unique qualities.

Also, you might enjoy reading about Justicia scheidweileri.

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