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Iresine, the Plant Species With Red Leaves

Updated on February 16, 2017
Iresine herbstii
Iresine herbstii

Iresine, also known as blood leaf, is a beautiful houseplant with deep red stems and leaves. It is native to tropical America and is a member of the family Amaranthaceae.

  • While there are 20 - 25 species of Iresine, only a handful are grown for ornamental purposes.
  • They require a minimum temperature of 50 - 60F, and in countries where the temperature drops below this, they should be either grown as houseplants or placed outside for the summer and taken indoors in winter.
  • For those who live in USDA zone 10 or above, it can be planted in the garden where it will grow quite happily as a perennial provided it is given sufficient water. Iresine are very thirsty plants during their growing season. They prefer neutral to acidic soil.
  • In cooler climates, it can be grown as an annual and prefer being positioned in full sun. They will be killed off by frost.
  • When grown as a houseplant, it is better to grow Iresine next to an east or west facing window. They like the light but direct sunshine will make them stretch and grow straggly.

Iresine cuttings (rooted)
Iresine cuttings (rooted)

Iresine Propagation and Care

Cuttings can be taken at any time of the year. Simply nip off a growing shoot and place in water or directly into a compost-filled pot where it will root quite easily so long as the soil is kept moist. This can be ensured by sealing the pot inside a plastic bag to keep the moisture in. Remove from plastic bag when plant shows signs of new growth.

Iresine should have their growing tips regularly pinched out to ensure a more bushy and compact growth.

They appreciate being fed with a high nitrogen liquid fertilizer roughly every two to three weeks during their growing season

They are very thirsty plants and need to be watered frequently.

flowering Iresine herbstii
flowering Iresine herbstii

Common types of Iresine grown for ornamental purposes are:

  • Iresine herbstii - spear-shaped bronze/red foliage with a red stripe. Alternate names are Beefsteak plant or Chicken Gizzard.
  • Iresine aureoreticulata - red stems with yellow striped green oval waxy leaves.
  • Iresine lindenii - scarlet-striped deep red narrow strap-like leaves.
  • Iresine wallisii - smaller oval leaves that are bronze on top and dark red underneath.

While they look great in containers on their own, they can be mixed with other ornamental flowers to make a stunning display.

Iresine rarely produce flowers, which are small and insignificant as could be expected from a plant with such attractive leaves and stems.

Iresine
Iresine | Source

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    • Gypsy48 profile image

      Gypsy48 6 years ago

      Gorgeous plant.

    • CASE1WORKER profile image

      CASE1WORKER 6 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      gorgeous - now i know what the plant is called

    • IzzyM profile image
      Author

      IzzyM 6 years ago from UK

      I picked mine up at a sale of work a few years ago and had to spend ages online tracking it down for its name. Glad I'm not alone :)

    • liljen23 profile image

      liljen23 6 years ago from Shreveport,LA

      Very beautiful flower. Never seen anything like it, great job Izzy for capturing such great pictures.

    • IzzyM profile image
      Author

      IzzyM 6 years ago from UK

      They have weird shaped leaves as if something has been nibbling on them and making their shape odd. I hope the top piccie especially shows their colors when the sunlight hits them as they are really beautiful.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I never know about this plant before. But I thought this is one of the beautiful plants in the world. I learn much from you. Thank you very much. ~prasetio

    • profile image

      kimberlyslyrics 6 years ago

      I MUST HAVE THIS

      I MUST HAVE THIS

      so pretty

      but I swear even best efforts my orange thumb can kill a cactus

      I wrote the name down on my smoke pack followed with laughter that I will forget and throw it out with the empty pack when I could have just [and about to] saved the damn hub

      I must have

      I will do everything to not murder it

      If it dies I will keep buying new ones and call mommy, I swear she makes weeds [not pot] flourish

      and just a side note

      um, when the hell did you become miss knowledgeable? snooping about your other hubs embarrassed how long since I visited and assumed you photoshopped that 100 on your avatar

      sorry, I will be exiled, forever

      miss you girl, really do

      off to green thumbs up [I crack myself up]

      and share you throughout the atmosphere!

      pee

    • IzzyM profile image
      Author

      IzzyM 6 years ago from UK

      Hi Kimberly :) Still rambling I see...you really need to get a grip girl! Anyway, you take care. Chat when you're feeling better :)

    • profile image

      kimberlyslyrics 6 years ago

      Grip?

      wtf?

      ya, ok :)

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