Justicia carnea

JacobiniaJacobinia is also called the Brazalian plume flower and it likes full to partial sun (it should only receive morning sun; the afternoon sun will overwhelm the plant). The plant does best in an alkaline soil, but does tolerate an acid soil as long as it's well-drained. It can be used as a foundation plant because of its rapid and compact growth. But, it does well in the border or as a container plant, too. A tidy plant, it will grow 2 to 4 feet and spread 1 to 3 feet and it has an upright growth, rather than sprawling.

The year-round showy pink flowers are upright and tubular. I've only seen plants with the pink flowers, however, they do come in red, yellow, orange, apricot and white. The branches are covered with large, 6 inch dark green leaves, however, they are susceptible to breakage, so handle gently.

Rain and irrigation can weigh the foliage down and cause the branches to spread out. This may limit the height of the plant, but it does open it up to allow sun to reach the inner branches. This, in turn, will give you a bushier plant. Jacobinia is tender to frost, but it grows back quickly in the spring. About the only pruning you will need to do to the plant is remove the dead flower heads.

Nematodes and spider mites will go for this plant, so keep a close check as you monitor your gardens. You can propagate Jacobinia with cuttings.