The Q&A Archives: Do You Know The Name Of This Houseplant?

Question: I sure hope you can help me - no one else seems to be able to. I am a North Carolina native now living in Montana. While in N.C. a friend from the east coast gave me a cutting from a plant described as follows:
a. Small, roundish, dimpled red leaves.
b. Does not flower
c. The stems are red as well
d. The plant enjoys moderate sun and quit
a deal of water.
e. Very easy to propagate from cuttings.
This plant is solid red all over - no green on it at all.
It can get leggy, so when you cut it, you must be careful because it can "leak" a red fluid on the carpet which stains. My friend's mother called it a blood plant, but I'm sure that is not the correct name. But is certainly describes it. I have not been able to find anything on the internet or at local plant houses about this houseplant. All I know is that it came from someone who lives in "Little Washington" near the east coast. Can you help me? Again, it is solid red - no green at all.
Thank you so much. Mary Stroud

P.S. I used to be a subscriber and am in the process of becoming one again. I love your magazine!!

Answer: I think the plant is Iresine herbstii, commonly called Bloodleaf. Bloodleaf has wine red leaves and stems. They plants love sunshine (but too much will cause the color to fade), average household warmth, lots of water during the summer and little water during the winter months. For best growth, mist leaves occasionally. There's another variety of Iresine that's a popular houseplant. It has green leaves, yellow veins and red stems, and the common name is Chicken Gizzard. It, too, is a very striking plant. Enjoy your plant!

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