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How to Grow Iresine

Iresine
Iresine

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.

Where not hardy, grow Iresine as a tender perennial for summer bedding, the overwinter indoors. In warm winter climates, grow as edging in a bed or mixed border.

Iresine is a genus of about 80 species of evergreen perennials or annual native to South America and Australia.

Get to Know Iresine

  • Plant type: Tropical perennial
  • Growing Zones and range: Zones 10-11
  • Hardiness: Tender
  • Optimal growing temperature: day 68° to 80°F (20°-27°C), night 55° to 60°F (13°-16°C).
  • 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
  • Common name: Beefsteak plant, bloodleaf plant
  • Botanical name: Iresine
  • Family: Amaranthaceae
  • Origin: South America and Australia

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.

Iresine Care

  • 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.

Growing Iresine as a Houseplant

  • Set Iresine in direct sun. If the light level is too low, Iresine will get spindly and weak.
  • Maintain an average temperature and medium humidity.
  • Allow the soil to become dry to the touch between thorough waterings.
  • Fertilize Iresine regularly during spring ad summer.

Iresine Pests and Diseases

  • Iresine is susceptible to attack by mealybugs, red spider mites, and whiteflies.

Iresine Propagation

  • Propagate Iresine by division or tip cuttings.
  • Pinch out starts a few times to produce strong plants.

Iresine Varieties to Grow

  • Iresine herbstii, beefsteak plant, chicken gizzard. Grows to 5 feet tall and 36 inches wide; bushy annual or short-lived perennial; waxy dark red stems and heart-shaped leaves with pale red veins.
  • I. lindenii, blood leaf. Erect bushy perennial with blood red stems; narrow, pointed leaves, deep red with pale center veins; grows to 3 feet tall and wide.

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