Iresine herbstii - is an evergreen perennial normally growing in South America or warmer areas of Australia. This particular variety is erect growing and often grown as an outdoor bedding plant for its contrasting foliage display.
There are several varieties, with the most common being the red foliaged Iresine herbstii 'Brilliantissima". Iresine "Aureoreticulata has attractive foliage with green leaves and golden vein markings. They make for a good contrasting pair in a mixed houseplant pot or trough.
If used outdoors, they should be treated as tender bedding plants and not planted out until all trace of frost has gone. It is frost tender. Indoors a reasonable temperature and plenty of light is required.
The Plant: An elegant red foliage plant, the Iresine herbstii has spear-shaped bronze-red foliage with a distinct red stripe, and Iresine Aureoreticulata has red stems with green leaves and a yellow stripe.
Iresine lindenii has narrow
strap-like leaves of deep red with a scarlet stripe. Height
about 60 cm if un -pruned.
Its needs: Warmth and humidity are essential and good light including some morning sun.
Care: Water and feed regularly throughout the growing season, but reduce to a minimum over winter. Trim straggly growth for a more compact plant, and pinch out growing tips to ensure plenty of fresh colourful foliage. The Iresine can stand outside in summer.
The flowers are quite insignificant - so treat as a foliage
plant, rather than trying to get it to flower.
Good for: The Iresines make attractive foliage plants, either on their own or as taller members of a mixed container. Simple, elegant and easy to maintain.
They can also be affected by powdery mildew disease. Good ventilation will normally keep this at bay but if affected, spray with general fungicide' take outside to give drench spray.
It is easy to grow this plant from cuttings. Tip cuttings - softwood cuttings - can be taken at any time during the growing season.