Baltimore Sun

University of Maryland Extension: Plant of the Week

Brazilian Plume
Justicia carnea

Text by Bob Orazi
Photo by Ryan Fessenden, Florida Museum of Natural History

Looking for an outdoor container plant that can double as a houseplant?  Consider the Brazilian plume.


Its pink pine-cone like clusters can brighten up a partially shaded walkway or garden, blooming from early summer to fall. It also comes in red, white, orange, as well as different shades of pink.

When night temperatures fall into the 50s, bring this tropical indoors for the winter and enjoy its shiny bronze-green leaves, which are about 8 inches long with the texture of leatherleaf  viburnum.


With an upright growing habit, it is sparsely branched, growing to 3 feet in height. It prefers a well-drained potting mix with a pH of 6.1 to 7.5. Keep it moist but not wet.

Brazilian plume tolerates Maryland's high summer humidity and temperatures. Fertilize from spring to fall with a high phosphorous liquid fertilizer. The only other care required is removal of faded blooms.

Propagate easily from herbaceous stem cuttings dipped in a rooting hormone, then share it with your gardening friends.