How to Grow and Care for Bloodleaf Plant (Iresine herbstii) Indoors

Bloodleaf Plant, Iresine herbstii

Botanical name: Iresine herbstii
Family: Amaranthaceae
Common names: Bloodleaf Plant, Beef Steak Plant, Red Iresine


Bloodleaf Plant (Iresine herbstii) also called Beef Steak Plant or Red Iresine is a colorful and easy to grow houseplant which requires some sun exposure to bring out its bright colors.

Beef Steak Plant can grow to a height of 2 ft. The leaves are either rounded or lance-shaped.


Red Iresine bears small, greenish-white flowers which are not as conspicuous as the brightly colored leaves.

Pinch off the flowerbuds as soon as they begin to form so that the plant can direct its energy to growth other than developing the flowers.


Iresine herbstii which bears wine red stems and leaves with prominent red veins is one of the common Iresine varieties.

The other common variety Iresine herbstii aureoreticulata commonly called Chicken Gizzard is more colorful with red stems, green leaves and yellow veins.


Iresines are native to the American tropics where the growing conditions are warm, moist and humid.

Where to Buy

Bloodleaf Plants are available online at Etsy. Buy Beef Steak Plant (Iresine herbstii) online from Etsy.

Bloodleaf Plant, Iresine herbstii

Iresine herbstii Care Indoors

Bloodleaf Plant (Iresine herbstii) thrives in bright light with some sunlight, warm and humid conditions and consistently moist, rich, well-drained soils coupled with fortnightly feeding during the growing season.

Red Iresine requires regular pruning to keep it neat, to discourage pests and to control growth. Repotting is only necessary when it becomes pot-bound. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Light Requirements

Bloodleaf Plant grows best in bright light with some sunlight to enhance the leaf color.

Protect the Beef Steak Plant from hot direct sunlight as it can cause scorching resulting in ugly brown marks on the leaves.

Red Iresine can also grow under a grow light where the natural lighting is not sufficient.


Water Bloodleaf Plant liberally during the growing period while allowing the top 1-2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil consistently moist.

Decrease watering during the cold period to keep the soil slightly moist as growth is reduced at this time but do not let the soil dry out completely.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the plant.


Red Iresine thrives in an average warmth with a minimum of 180C. Keep it away from drafty windows and doors as the drafts can cause leaf drop and reduced growth.


Bloodleaf Plant requires high humidity for it to thrive. To increase humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier.

Regularly clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust and also discourage pest and disease infestations.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Beef Steak Plant fortnightly during the growing season with a balanced, liquid fertilizer to promote a lush growth.

Do not feed in the cold season as the growth is minimal at this time and feeding at this time may cause fertilizer burn and eventual death of the plant.


Repot Bloodleaf Plant during the growing season only when the roots grow out of the drainage holes as it prefers to be root-bound. Use a pot 1-2 sizes larger and one that has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can result in root-rot disease.


The best soil for Bloodleaf Plant should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients. Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal for Red Iresine.


Pruning Bloodleaf Plant involves pinching of the growing tips to keep it neat, to reduce pests and to control growth. Cut-back the tall stems during the growing season to prevent the plant from becoming leggy.

Bloodleaf Plant, Iresine herbstii


Bloodleaf Plant (Iresine herbstii) propagation can be done during the growing season from stem cuttings.

How to propagate Bloodleaf Plant from stem cuttings

Take 4-6 in. long stem cuttings from a healthy Bloodleaf Plant. Ensure each cutting has at least one set of leaves and 2-3 leaf nodes.

Insert the cuttings in moist, free-draining potting mix and place the set up in a warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight.

Maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges. Allow the new Red Iresine to be well established before transplanting after which you can begin routine care.

Bloodleaf Plant, Iresine herbstii

Iresine herbstii Problems Indoors

Bloodleaf Plant (Iresine herbstii) problems indoors include loss of leaf color, leggy growth and pests. We have outlined herebelow the remedies and solutions. Keep reading.

Loss of leaf color

Loss of leaf color in Bloodleaf Plant is due to too little light as it grows best in bright light with some direct sunlight. Inadequate light will cause the plant to loss its bright leaf color.

Position the Yellow Iresine in a brighter spot where it will receive bright light with some direct sunlight or instal a grow light where natural light is not adequate.

Elongated stems

Elongated stems in Bloodleaf Plant are due to too little light. If it does not receive bright light with some sunshine, it will exhibit weak growth and elongated stems.

Place the Beef Steak Plant in a brighter spot where it will receive bright light with some direct sunshine or use a grow light if natural lighting is not sufficient.


Bloodleaf Plant is prone to aphids. These sap-sucking insects are attracted to the new soft growth of the plant where they cause distorted growth.

Is Bloodleaf Plant toxic?

According to ASPCA, Bloodleaf Plant (Iresine herbstii) is non-toxic to humans and pets. The plant is safe to grow indoors.

However, Red Iresine sap may cause irritation on sensitive skin. It is advisable to always wear gloves when handling this plant.

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