IRESINE herbstii 'Blazin' Lime'
Plant Common Name
Blazin' Lime Bloodleaf, Bloodleaf
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The genus Iresine includes approximately 70 species which are native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas, Asia and West Africa. Commonly known as bloodleaf, these exotic plants are grown primarily for their brilliant, richly hued foliage. Some species have been in cultivation for thousands of years, particularly in medicinal gardens.
These plants are generally herbaceous and may be either annual or perennial. A few are shrubby or climbing. The leaves are typically oval to lance-shaped, and may be either smooth or fuzzy with occasionally serrated edges. They may be held alternately or in opposite pairs on the stems, and appear in a wild array of solid to multicolored combinations of green, red, pink, brown, white and purple. Spikes of small, inconspicuous, green to dull white flowers are borne at the ends of the branches. These are followed by many small, hard seeds.
Currently, only a few of the many species of Iresine are cultivated. The most commonly grown is Iresine herbstii which is variously referred to as bloodleaf, gizzard plant or beefsteak plant. This short-lived tender perennial is native to Brazil, and is prized for its colorful foliage. Juba’s bush (Iresine diffusa) is native to the southeastern United States, the West Indies and Central and South America. It is an unassuming annual with green leaves and tall plumes of tiny flowers, and is often considered to be a weed. Grown for centuries as a medicinal plant, its therapeutic value is currently under investigation.
Grow bloodleaf in full to part sun and moist, fertile, well-drained soil. Bright light produces the best leaf color. The plants may be pinched back occasionally to encourage bushier growth. Where not hardy, they may be overwintered indoors as houseplants, but should be watered more sparingly during this time. These colorful gems are a striking addition to containers, annual beds and tropical planting schemes.