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Iresine, the Plant Species With Red Leaves

Author:

Izzy has been an online writer for over nine years. Her articles often focus on planting and gardening exotic plant species.

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.

Facts About Growing Iresine

  • 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

Common types of Iresine grown for ornamental purposes are:

  • Iresine herbstiispear-shaped bronze/red foliage with a red stripe. Alternate names are Beefsteak plant or Chicken Gizzard.
  • Iresine aureoreticulatared stems with yellow striped green oval waxy leaves.
  • Iresine lindeniiscarlet-striped deep red narrow strap-like leaves.
  • Iresine wallisiismaller 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

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Comments

Diana on May 17, 2020:

I love this plant, I have it on my patio and so many people comment on it's rich beautiful red foliage. I am having a problem with something nibbling the leaves, sometimes eating the entire leaves on some of the stems. What can I use on them to prevent this? Love all your info you post. Take Care!

Justoneil on November 02, 2017:

what pests and?or critters EAT this plant???

kimberlyslyrics on October 18, 2010:

Grip?

wtf?

ya, ok :)

IzzyM (author) from UK on October 18, 2010:

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

kimberlyslyrics on October 18, 2010:

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

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on October 15, 2010:

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

IzzyM (author) from UK on October 14, 2010:

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.

Jennifer Crowder from Shreveport,LA on October 14, 2010:

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

IzzyM (author) from UK on October 14, 2010:

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 :)

CASE1WORKER from UNITED KINGDOM on October 14, 2010:

gorgeous - now i know what the plant is called

Gypsy48 on October 14, 2010:

Gorgeous plant.