Iresine (Bloodleaf Plant) - Expert tips

How to Care for Iresine (Bloodleaf Plant) - Expert Tips for Thriving Plants

There's something really special about Iresine plants - they have tiny leaves with really bright colours. Many varieties of Iresine are available, each with its unique combination of leaf and stem colours. Iresine plants are sometimes called Bloodleaf or Beefstake plants because of their lovely colours. They're not the usual houseplants, but more and more people are starting to grow them because they're stunning!

Iresine is a subfamily in the Amaranthaceae family, mainly consisting of flowering plants. The genus contains 20 to 25 species, and these beauties are native to the American tropical location. When you give it enough light and don't overwater it, it's easy to care for as a houseplant.

Iresine bloodleaf

Iresine Care: 10 expert tips for growing it successfully

  1. Make sure your Iresine has plenty of natural light. It is best to place it in an area with bright indirect light, but avoid direct midday sunlight since this can damage its delicate leaves.
  2. Iresine bright leaves will become less colourful and greener if kept in a shadier spot. The brighter the light, the more vibrant the foliage will be.
  3. Wait until the top half of the soil has dried out before watering again. If you need to check if the soil has dried out, stick your finger or use a water meter.
  4. Don’t overwater. It's a common problem with Iresine because their roots can start to rot when they're overwatered. Always make sure the soil is dry before you water your Iresine again.
  5. Make sure they have a lot of humidity. If your home is dry, consider using a humidifier or placing the plant on a tray of pebbles filled with water.
  6. Fertilise regularly during the growing season (spring and summer) every after 2-4 weeks. Extra nutrition encourages healthy, beautiful growth.
  7. Encourage bushier growth with pruning. Iresine plants can get a little leggy over time. Pruning regularly keeps them compact and bushy. You just need to cut below a leaf node!
  8. It's time to repot your Iresine plant if it's outgrown its current pot. Make sure the pot is one size larger than the current one and that the soil is fresh and well-draining.
  9. Keep an eye out for pests. It is sometimes possible for Iresine plants to attract spider mites or mealybugs. Watch for signs of these pests, such as white spots or webbing on the leaves.
  10. Monitor your Iresine leaf colour. If the vibrant colours begin to fade, check the light, watering, and temperature conditions and adjust as necessary.

Iresine plant care tips

Light requirements

As with most colourful plants, they require lots of light. The light level always influences the brightness of the colour of the leaves. Your Iresine will need plenty of bright light to keep its leaves beautifully coloured.

Expert tip! Seeing your purple or red Iresine turn pale is a sign it's in too low light. Try to find a little more light for it!

A spot with lots of natural light is best, but avoid direct midday sunlight, which can be harsh on the leaves. Morning or evening sun is great and helps to enhance its colours even more.



Iresine plants can be pretty thirsty plants, but this depends on their growing spot. It’s best to water them when the top half of the soil has dried out. Sticking your finger about 2-4 cm into the soil is a simple way to check this. If it feels dry, it's time to water. The soil of your Iresine should stay a little moist each time, don't let it dry out completely.

Expert tip! Remember that winter is when you will need less frequent watering because the days are shorter, and the soil will dry out more slowly.

They are sensitive to overwatering and can suffer from root rot. The leaves may become yellow or brown and could fall off. If this happens, reduce watering, improve drainage, and, if necessary, repot the plant in fresh, well-draining soil.


Yeah, we know… Iresines are pretty much everything! Beautiful, thirsty and… hungry, of course! Adding our PLNTS Nutrition houseplant food every 2-4 weeks will help your plant to flourish. In spring and summer, during the growing season, you can fertilise your beauty. In winter, it’s not necessary.

Temperature & humidity

Your Iresine plant will feel right at home between 18-24°C and when humidity is around 50-60%. Even though they can tolerate humidity levels as low as 40%, these plants aren't happy in such dry conditions. Your Iresine might slow down its growth if the air is too dry, and you might even see the edges of its leaves turn brown. So, if your air is too dry, consider raising the humidity for your houseplants!

Repotting & soil

Giving your Iresine plant a bigger pot every 1 to 2 years is generally a good idea. You'll know it's time when you see roots filling up over half the pot or starting to poke out of the drainage holes. Be gentle when repotting, and try to disturb the roots as little as possible.

When you do repot, pick soil that's both well-draining and nutrient-rich. We recommend using something like PLNTS organic houseplant soil for great results.

Iresine propagation

The propagation of Iresine is quite simple. The easiest way to propagate Iresine is to cut a stem of at least 10 cm long with at least 3 leaves on the stem. Cutting these stems with a clean and sharp pair of pruning shears. Ideally, cut just below a node (where the leaves join the stem) because this is where new roots are most likely to sprout.

You can root your Iresine cutting either by placing it in clean water until roots form and then potting it or by putting the fresh cutting directly into the soil. Keep the environment warm and humid in both cases and avoid direct sunlight until the cutting is well-established.

Iresine cutting

Most common pests on Iresine

Iresine plants are sensitive to pests like mealybugs, aphids, scales or even whiteflies. These pesky insects will focus on the soft and young part of your green baby. To see them, as they are terribly tiny, you need to have keen eyes or a magnifying glass. But don’t worry, these pests are manageable.

You can check our PLNTSdoctor page to learn more about them to recognise and eliminate your plant pests! If you are interested in biological pest control, you can take a look at our blog.

Are Iresine plants poisonous for your pets or children?

You will be super happy to know that the plants in the Iresine genus are safe for children and pets! But be careful because the sap can still cause skin irritation, like itchiness. But if your children or pets decide to take a bite of your green beauty, chewing or ingesting part of the plant is not dangerous.

Buy your new Iresine online at

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Hi, I'm Emma, your guide!

Hi, I’m Emma, your guide!