Iresine, commonly called beefsteak plant or blood leaf, is an easy-care foliage houseplant. It is bushy when young but tends to trail as it matures.
Iresine has purplish-red leaves with glowing pink midrib and veins; when backlit by bright light, Iresine will practically grow with fluorescent color.
Get to Know Iresine
- Plant type: Tropical perennial
- Growing Zones and range: 10-11
- Hardiness: Average household temperatures
- Height and width: 18 inches (46cm) tall and nearly as wide
- Foliage: Oval or round leaves, 1 to 2 inches (2.5-5cm) long are purplish-red with glowing pink midrib and veins or sometimes green or bronzed yellowish veins; leaves are usually notched at the end.
- Flowers: Small insignificant flowers may appear.
- Bloom time: Summer
- Uses: Foliage houseplant
- Botanical name: Iresine
- Common name: Beefsteak plant, bloodleaf plant
Where to Plant Iresine
- Grow Iresine in bright reflected light with 3 hours of direct sun daily for best foliage color, from eastern or southern exposure. Grows well in artificial light, needing 14 hours daily.
- Plant Iresine in standard potting soil.
How to Water and Feed Iresine
- Keep the soil evenly moist, not soggy. Mist twice daily. Iresine prefers 40 to 45 percent humidity.
- Fertilize Iresine with a mild liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks during the growing season.
- Pot-on Iresine when roots occupy ½ of pot space; repot in early spring.
- Prune frequently to retain a pleasing shape otherwise Iresine can become a bit straggly.
- Pinch away flowers to promote fuller foliage. Start pinching for form when the plant is young.
- Clean the leaves often with a moist cloth.
- Iresine rests slightly in fall through winter; keep it as normal room temperature during the rest period; gradually reduce water, keeping the soil barely moist; withhold fertilizer.
- Iresine is susceptible to attack by mealybugs, red spider mites, and whiteflies.
- Propagate Iresine by division or tip cuttings.
Iresine Varieties to Grow
- Iresine herbstii, beefsteak plant, has dark red stems and heart-shaped leaves with pale red veins.
- I. lindenii has narrow, pointed leaves, deep red with pale center veins.