Botanical Name: Iresine herbstii
Bright red leaves with prominent red veins are the attraction of this Brazilian plant. Luckily for us, it also happens to adapt well to being indoors, making it a spectacular room accent.
This tropical native needs warmth, humidity and plenty of light to thrive. Put it near a window or in a sunroom to maintain its vibrant color. If you set it on your porch or patio for the summer, keep it shaded from hot, direct sunlight.
Repot in spring. When you see roots growing out of the drainage holes, it is time to repot. Move it up to a container just 1-2 inches larger, using a pot with drainage holes to prevent soggy soil.
Prune it back. Pinch off soft stem tips to keep Iresine herbstii compact. Don't toss out those cuttings! Pot them up to grow more plants.
Watch for aphids. These tiny pests are attracted to the soft, new growth on the plant. Treat any infestation immediately.
Height: Up to 2 ft (60 cm)
Light: Bright light is necessary to prevent the leaf color from fading. Shade the plant from hot, direct summer sun.
Water: Water thoroughly, aiming to keep the potting mix lightly moist at all times. Empty drainage tray to prevent soggy soil, which can lead to root rot.
Humidity: Moderate to high (50% relative humidity or higher). Use a humidity tray or room humidifier to raise the moisture in the air around it.
Temperature: Average to warm room temperatures 65-80°F/18-27°C. Iresine will tolerate a minimum of 55°F/13°C in winter.
Soil: Any good-quality potting mix.
Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks spring through fall with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half.
Propagation: Take 3-4 in (8-10 cm) soft stem tip cuttings in early spring and root them in moist perlite. They root easily.
Small flowers may appear in summer. You can pinch them off, if you want, because they aren't nearly as stunning as the brilliant foliage.