Bloodleaf Plant Care
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If you’re looking for a bright and glossy foliage, nothing except a bloodleaf plant can help you achieve it. While it thrives in a frost-free climate, it can also grow well indoors. Making a lovely houseplant, the plant also goes by the names chicken-gizzard, Formosa bloodleaf and beefsteak plant. In an ideal environment, the plants can grow up to 5 feet with a 3-feet spread. However, as potted plants, they only grow 12-18 inches tall.
What Do They Look Like?
Iresine herbstii or bloodleaf plant, as the name suggests, has red leaves with white and green markings that add contrast to borders. Sometimes, the plant also produces tiny greenish white flowers but they don’t carry an ornamental value.
Hence, growers tend to pinch them off. The two primary bloodleaf plant varieties you should watch out for are “Aureoreticulata” and “Brilliantissima.” While the former has yellow veins and green leaves, the latter has pink veins with bright red leaves.
The Ideal Conditions to Grow Bloodleaf Plants
Growing bloodleaf plants can be a daunting task. From the temperature to other environmental factors, you want to ensure that everything is ideal.
For one, these plants enjoy high humidity and heat. This means, you can easily grow them outdoors throughout the year. Ideally, you should choose a space with partial shade or full sun along with organically rich soil and a pot with drainage holes. This will ensure that your bloodleaf has a richer color.
You can also amend the bed with aged manure or compost before you plant it but only if the soil isn’t already high in organic matter. When the frost danger has passed, you can set the plants out in spring to ensure that the soil stays warm throughout the day and night.
You also want to keep the soil evenly moist especially during summer. You can do it by watering the plant every week in case it doesn’t rain. Furthermore, you can use a 5-8 cm layer of organic mulch to help the moisture stay intact.
However, in winter, you want to ensure that you’re reducing the moisture, especially if you’re growing the iresine herbstii plants as perennials.
While the plants are young, you can pinch the growth tips out so there’s denser growth and an appealing shape. You can also pinch off flower buds since they aren’t usually attractive and also deplete energy that could have been used for growing dense foliage. All in all, your plants rarely flower if you grow them in less than ideal conditions.
How Often Should You Repot a Bloodleaf Plant?
Repotting the plant annually should work as long as it’s helping it reach a mature size. Then, you can repot a bloodleaf plant every other year or so. If you’re surrounded by a tropical landscape, try growing a tiny clump of the plant in a mixed container with other tropical plants in it.
Problems With Iresine Herbstii
While it isn’t common to encounter serious issues with bloodleaf plant, it does come with its own set of vulnerabilities. However, most of it has to do with their environment. If its stressful, you can expect the plant’s growth to undergo many obstacles.
Common Iresine herbstii problems revolve around diseases and pests. The good news is, most of them can be managed easily as long as you watch for the symptoms.
Fortunately, there are no serious diseases you’ll have to deal with while caring for an iresine herbstii. However, there have been instances of Southern blight occurring in the plant. The condition can result in extensive coverage of the stem in mold. A common symptom to look for is the development of water-soaked lesions that eventually rotten after becoming soft.
While you can treat southern blight using fungicides, it’s better to prevent the condition from occurring right from the start. Make sure to use a potting mix that is well sterilized. Follow the right sanitation practices and disinfect your gardening tools properly.
Unfortunately, the plant is prone to getting attacked from pests like whiteflies, scales, aphids, and mealy bugs. They tend to target the softer and younger parts of the bloodleaf plant mainly because they suck sap from them.
Since they’re extremely tiny, they often go unnoticed. Make sure to have a keen eye on them. If your iresine herbstii is heavily infested, the pests could leave it with a distorted look by damaging the foliage. Thankfully, most of these pests are manageable. All you need to get rid of them is to spray insecticidal soap, pressurized water and neem oil.
Problems with Growth
As with every other plant, the bloodleaf plant also undergoes problems while growing. You may notice them losing their bright color and for the most part, it’s due to excessive sun exposure.
While you can relocate it to a place with low light, lack of bright light is also a problem for beef plant. You may notice it growing lanky mainly because of the absence of a source of light, contributing to the leggy growth. In a nutshell, diseases and pests can cause your iresine herbstii to get sick.
Is Iresine Herbstii Toxic?
If you have bloodleaf plants at home, don’t worry about your children or pets coming in contact with them. They’re generally non-toxic but you still want to practice precaution. For one, the sap can cause irritation to those with sensitive skin.
Adding iresine herbstii to your indoor plant variety is certainly a wonderful idea. This colorful plant does not only enhance your home’s appearance but it is also non-toxic to humans and pets. Even if a child or a pet ends up ingesting a small part of it, there won’t be any serious health troubles emerging as a result. Again, it doesn’t mean that the plant is completely harmless. The sap can result in extreme irritation, prompting you to wear gloves before you handle bloodleaf plants.
Nevertheless, it’s important that you discourage your pets and children from consuming the plant parts because the sap has the potential to irritate their skin. The good news is that it may not even taste palatable to them despite appearing inviting on the outside. It’s better to keep the plant away from your pet’s reach, somewhere safer and more secure.
Does the Iresine Herbstii Have a Fragrance?
There isn’t much to look forward to when it comes to the bloodleaf plant’s fragrance. It doesn’t have a special scent but that doesn’t mean it serves as a disappointment. Despite the lack of fragrance, the foliage stays attractive.
The flowers also do not emit a noticeable odor. If you aren’t primarily looking for the fragrance factor, it’s safe to conclude that the beauty of this plant will suffice. Visitors would love to come across the colorful foliage as soon as they enter your home. However, you can still find a way to add some fragrance to the plant by using an aroma diffuser to emit the scent of your choice.
How Can You Use Your Bloodleaf Plant?
There are a number of ways to use your iresine herbstii. One of the most common ways most people use it is by adding it to an outdoor space such as a garden in a soil based potting mixture. It also enhances the beauty of your indoor space.
Furthermore, you can also use it as an accent plant to garner more attention as it will add a contrast. Beauty isn’t the only strong suit of this plant. Bloodleaf plants are also known for freshening the air as they give off oxygen naturally. Apart from that, some researches indicate that the plant can have medicinal benefits. The leaves of bloodleaf plant carry the potential to heal wounds and treat skin conditions like pimples, sores and eczema.
Can You Revive Your Iresine Herbstii?
It is possible for your bloodleaf plant to succumb to its environment and begin deteriorating. While it is something to be concerned about, it isn’t that serious. You can revive a bloodleaf plant by altering the conditions its growing in. You want to make sure to bring the conditions close to the ideal requirements of your plant. Give it proper lighting, humidity, and water and see it growing immensely again in no time.
Can It Tolerate Cold temperatures?
Iresine herbstii can tolerate cold temperatures as low as 55°F (13°C). However, if it goes any lower, it can be dangerous to the plant so you want to make sure they’re protected under all circumstances.
All in all, the foliage of Iresine herbstii or beefplant is undeniably a stand-out. From the bright leaf color to the prominent red veins, it boasts wonderful features as both an outdoor and an indoor plant.
Each leaf is 10 cm long and has an oval shape. However, it is mainly due to the color that it never goes unnoticed. The best way to maintain the color of its leaves is by providing them with proper sun exposure and bright but indirect light. Too much or too little of anything can cause your plant’s color and health to fade. You also want to place it in the right spot.
Additionally, your bloodleaf plant is generally safe for children and pets but you don’t want to allow them to ingest it. While there are no serious health risks associated with it, the sap can irritate your pet or child’s delicate skin.
Caring for a bloodleaf plant can be a challenge. However, with the right conditions in place, the task shouldn’t be as daunting as it seems. Not only is it a brilliant addition to your plant family but it also has numerous benefits with one of them being its refreshing aura.