Lemon Delicious - Justicia aurea

 |Justicia aurea - CU buds|

|Justicia aurea - CU buds|

It is said that the color yellow is the color of creativity, courage, enlightenment, and optimism.  It is also a color that reminds us of the warmth of the sun.  It's a power color.  The Plant Provocateur believes it is a color of luxury.  In the case of Justicia aurea,  commonly referred to as Golden Brazilian Plume, that luxury is no more evident than in its stunning bloom and lush tropical foliage.

 |Justicia aurea - bud + flower + form|

|Justicia aurea - bud + flower + form|

There is something so familiar, yet so exotic about Justicia aurea.  This evergreen shrub presents itself as a verdant treasure of lusciously large 12 inch pleated leaves steeped in refreshing spring color.  Hailing from the subtropical climes of Mexico and Central America, it possesses a jungle-like beauty in an elegantly upright manageable form that grows 4 to 6 feet tall and wide.  In late summer,  spires of whispy bracts telescope outward and upward to present lemon yellow buds that will ignite into a luminous torch of dazzling flowers as vibrant as the rays of the sun.

 |Justicia aurea - form + flower detail|

|Justicia aurea - form + flower detail|

Justicia aurea prefers to grow in part sun/part shade locations.  It looks amazing, especially in the stillness of the late afternoon, where it seems to luxuriate and beckon you to come closer, leave your cares behind, and fall under its exotic spell. Justicia aurea likes fertile, well-draining soil, regular water, and is hardy down to around 30 degrees fahrenheit/-1 degree celsius.  This shrub benefits from being planted between plants that can shelter it from wind and potential frost exposure.  It also can be grown in a container indoors, but with full sun exposure.  It needs the warmth to bloom. Cutting plants back in early spring encourages lusher, bushier growth.  The more stems...the more beautiful torch-like flowers are likely to appear. It definitely gives off a chic vibe.  Very 'calgon-take-me-away'.  So, if you want to elevate your estate, so to speak, why not lavish your garden or home with some delicious lemon luxury.