How to grow and care for Bloodleaf Plant Indoors

Some links in this post may be affiliate links

Houseplant, Bloodleaf plant

Botanical name: Iresine herbstii
Family: Amaranthaceae

Iresine herbstii are colorful and easy to grow houseplants which require some sun exposure to bring out their bright colors. They are native to the American tropics. They grow to a height of about 2 ft and the leaves are either rounded or lance-shaped. The plants bear small, greenish-white flowers which are not as conspicuous as the brightly colored leaves. Pinch them out as soon as they begin to form so that the plant can direct its energy to growth other than developing the flowers. The two common varieties of Iresines are Bloodleaf Plant also called Beef Steak Plant which has wine red stems and leaves with prominent red veins. The variety Iresine herbstii aureoreticulata commonly called Chicken Gizzard is more colorful with red stems, green leaves and yellow veins.

How to Grow Bloodleaf Plants (Iresines)


Iresines require bright light with some sunlight to enhance color. A south-facing window is ideal. However, protect them from hot sunshine. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants.


Keep soil moist for Iresines at all times but avoid waterlogging which can lead to root-rot. Reduce watering during the cold months. The older plants can tolerate some drought. Learn more on how to water houseplants.


Average warmth with a minimum of 180C is ideal for Iresines. Find out more on temperature for houseplants.


Iresines require high humidity. To raise humidity, mist the leaves frequently or set the pot on a wet pebble tray. Clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust.


Feed Iresines fortnightly with a balanced water-soluble fertlizer during the growing season. Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal. Learn more on how to feed houseplants.


Repot Iresines during the growing season only when their roots grow out of the drainage holes. Use a pot 1-2 sizes larger with a drainage hole(s) and rich, free-draining soil.


Pruning Iresines involves pinching of the growing tips to encourage bushiness and control growth and cutting back the tall stems during the growing season to prevent the plant from becoming leggy. Learn more on how to prune houseplants.

How to Propagate Bloodleaf Plants (Iresines)

Iresines are propagated during the growing season from stem cuttings. Take 4-6 in. long stem cuttings and bearing at least one set of leaves. Insert the cuttings in moist free-draining soil and place the set up in a warm shaded place. Maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges. Allow the plant to be well established before transplanting.

Common Problems in Growing Bloodleaf Plants (Iresines)

  • Loss of leaf color
  • Inadequate light will cause Iresines to loss their bright leaf color. They prefer bright light with some direct sunlight.

  • Lanky and straggly growth
  • If Iresines do not receive bright light with some sunshine, they exhibit lanky and straggly growth; they become leggy. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants

  • Pests
  • Common pests in Iresines are Aphids. These sap-sucking insects are attracted to the new soft growth. They cause distorted growth of the plant.


Iresines are non-toxic to humans and pets. The plants are safe to grow indoors. However, the plant sap may cause irritation on sensitive skin; always wear gloves when handling.

Was this insightful? Feel free to share on social media.

On the Blog

On the Blog

Houseplants, Indoor garden
Benefits of houseplants

Apart from adding beauty, live houseplants are beneficial to us in many ways. Some of these are quite interesting. Read more »

Houseplant, Peace Lily
10 Houseplants that clean the air

These ten beautiful houseplants have been found to be effective in removing indoor air pollutants. Select some to improve your indoor air quality. Read more »

Houseplants, Golden Pothos
10 easy houseplants

These houseplants are easy to care for which means they are suitable for you if you are just starting out with growing houseplants. Read more »

Houseplants, Snake Plant, Sanseveria
10 hard to kill houseplants

These houseplants are suitable for the forgetful, a beginner or one who has limited time to take care of their houseplants. Read more »

Houseplant, Nerve plant
16 Houseplants for small spaces

Let not space limit you in greening your living spaces. These small houseplants are perfect to additions for such spaces. Read more »

Houseplant, String of pearls plant
15 Houseplants for hanging baskets

Hanging baskets are one beautiful way of maximizing on the vertical space. These easy to grow houseplants are excellent for hanging. Read more »

Aglaonema modestum
15 Houseplants for low light spaces

Even for the poorly lit spaces, these houseplants will adapt very well to the low light conditions and continue to brighten up such spaces. Read more »

Houseplant, Monstera plant
20 Houseplants for the office

Do not let yourself be surrounded by dull plain walls while you are working. Bring some green in and break the monotony of pale boring walls. Read more »

10 Houseplants suitable for a Terrarium

One interesting way to display houseplants is the use of a terrarium. These houseplants are well suited for a terrarium. Read more »