How to Grow Purple Lady Bloodleaf (Iresine diffusa f. herbstii)

purple lady bloodleaf container plant

By Jennifer Poindexter

Are you in the market for a lush, purple plant that you may grow inside your home or outdoors? What if I told you purple lady bloodleaf could be the plant that fits the bill?

Purple lady bloodleaf does well as a houseplant or as an annual when grown as a fixture in your landscape.

If you’re curious to learn more about growing purple lady bloodleaf, you’re in the right spot. I’m going to share general information on how you can grow, care for, and protect this plant.

Here’s what you should know when learning how to grow purple lady bloodleaf:

What You’ll Learn

  • Understanding the native environment and ideal growing conditions for the purple lady bloodleaf, including its preferred temperature, lighting, and soil type.
  • How to properly plant purple lady bloodleaf from seed or cutting, including key steps such as sprouting, watering, propagating, and transplanting.
  • Necessary care requirements for maintaining a healthy purple lady bloodleaf, including watering methods, humidity considerations, winter care, repotting and pruning techniques.
  • Awareness of common pests and diseases that may impact the purple lady bloodleaf, along with preventative measures and treatments.

Growing Conditions for Purple Lady Bloodleaf

Purple lady bloodleaf is a beautiful plant that goes by various names. It’s sometimes called Iresine, beefsteak plant, and chicken gizzard. No matter what you call it, expect beauty when it’s growing and healthy.

As mentioned earlier, purple lady bloodleaf is an evergreen plant. It maintains deep purple foliage year-round.

This plant is native to the rainforest areas in Brazil, so if you’re growing it outdoors, don’t expect it to serve as a perennial unless you live in planting zones ten through twelve.

All other planting zones, this plant will serve as an annual. Yet, if grown indoors as a houseplant, it can live up to five years.

Purple lady bloodleaf thrives when grown in a container or planted in the ground. The growing conditions will be the same no matter the gardening method. Expect purple lady bloodleaf to thrive in areas of indirect sunlight and consistently damp, loamy soil.

 The only difference between growing purple lady bloodleaf as a houseplant versus an outdoor plant is the size at maturity.

When grown outdoors, the plant becomes larger. It’s known for a maximum height of five feet and a width of three feet.

Should you grow this plant indoors, it’ll only become approximately one foot tall and equally as wide. The only other necessity in a growing location is the temperature.

Purple lady bloodleaf prefers to be grown in temperatures around 60-degrees Fahrenheit and higher. If you supply the right soil, temperature, and lighting, this plant should have what it needs to grow adequately in the chosen location.

purple lady bloodleaf cuttings

How to Plant Purple Lady Bloodleaf

When deciding to grow purple lady bloodleaf, there are two methods. The first method is to grow the plant from seed.

The other method is to propagate more plants from cuttings of an already established plant. We’ll cover both methods, so you can decide which works best for your current growing situation.

Should you start purple lady bloodleaf from seed, begin by filling a grow tray with a well-draining and nutritious seed starting mix.

You should start your seeds indoors two months prior to the final frost date. Place two seeds per cell in the grow tray and lightly cover them with soil. Place the tray inside a larger one. Pour water between the two trays.

This allows the soil to absorb water from the bottom and deters certain fungal issues which is important since this plant is a prime candidate for these problems.

The seeds should sprout between one and three weeks. When this occurs, start watering the plants from overhead.

If both seeds happen to sprout, pick the healthier of the two, and cut the weakest off at soil level. Provide bright, indirect lighting to the seedlings and continue to keep the soil damp.

When all threat of frost is over, harden the seedlings off, and transplant them in their permanent growing location.

Ensure you amend the soil and dig a hole large enough to support each plant’s root system. You should leave approximately three feet between each plant.

When the plants are in their respective holes, backfill them with dirt. Water the plants thoroughly to help the roots become established.

The next method to growing purple lady bloodleaf is to propagate from a cutting. You should remove new growth from the plant for the purpose of propagation.

Remove a three-inch cutting. You may either root the plant in soil or water. If you choose to root the cutting in water, select a pint-sized glass jar. 

The leaves on the bottom of the cutting must be removed and allow the plant to rest in the water placed in the jar. You don’t want it to be fully submerged.

Place the jar in a sunny location and change the water every few days. The plant should form roots in approximately four weeks.

If you’d prefer to go straight to planting in soil, dip the cutting into rooting hormone and place it in a container filled with well-draining soil.

No matter the method used to root the plant, the cutting should grow in a well-draining container filled with adequately draining soil.

Keep the container in a warm growing location and the soil should remain evenly damp. You can place a plastic bag around the container to help retain moisture.

Wait until the plant becomes well established and transplant it into a permanent outdoor growing location or into a larger pot.

These are a few ways you can go about growing purple lady bloodleaf from seed or a cutting to incorporate this plant into your landscape or indoor space.

Caring for Purple Lady Bloodleaf

Now that your purple lady bloodleaf is growing, it’s time to learn how to care for it. This plant needs water, humidity, fertilizer, care over the winter, repotting annually, and pruning.

When watering this plant it’s best to use the deep watering method. This allows you to apply larger quantities of moisture to the plant, fewer days of the week.

As you water deeply, you ensure the plant receives the amount of moisture it needs, but you also encourage it to develop a deeper root system.

This type of root system generally encourages a healthier plant. Be sure to test the soil to know when to water the plant deeply again.

The soil should be dry to your first knuckle. When this occurs, it’s time to water the plant deeply again. If not, wait a day or two before testing the soil.

Purple lady bloodleaf also requires humidity. If it’s growing outdoors, this should naturally occur throughout the warmer time of year.

Growing the plant indoors may create new challenges with humidity. You may grow the plant in naturally humid rooms of the home such as a kitchen or bathroom.

You can also place the container inside a larger container which is filled with rocks and has a small amount of water just covering them.

This will help create humidity around the plant. If your plant is grown in a container, you should bring it inside over the winter months to keep the plant alive.

Water the plant when the soil is dry and ensure it’s placed in a window where it receives bright, indirect light.

The last two things you should do when caring for purple lady bloodleaf is to prune the plant and repot it. You won’t need to perform a hard prune.

Instead, you should pinch the ends off of the plant. It will produce pale-colored blooms that don’t compare to the rich foliage. Instead of letting the plant produce, pinch the ends to encourage a bushier plant.

Finally, repot the plant once per year. Move to a larger pot to provide more growing space and fresh nutrients.

These are things you should do to provide adequate care for your purple lady bloodleaf plant. By performing these tasks, it could help your plant reach all of its beautiful potential.

Garden Pests and Diseases Which Might Impact Purple Lady Bloodleaf

As mentioned earlier, purple lady bloodleaf is prone to issues with fungal disease. It also has a few pests which enjoy snacking on it.

The main pests to impact this plant are aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies, and scales. You can treat them all with an insecticide.

However, aphids can also be removed by spraying a plant forcefully with soapy water. Scales can be removed by rubbing the plant down with rubbing alcohol.

Regardless of how you treat the issue of pests, be sure to act quickly to discourage a larger infestation.

The main disease that impacts purple lady bloodleaf is powdery mildew. It can be treated with a fungicide but also deterred by planting in areas of warmth and well-draining soil with adequate airflow.

Fungal issues thrive in cold, wet areas. By avoiding this, it could help keep this issue at bay. Keep these tips in mind when learning how to best protect this plant.

You now have a solid foundation to start from when learning how to grow a new plant. If you provide the right growing conditions, care, and protection, hopefully this plant will do well when growing in your home or around it.

Utilize this information to start your journey. Whether growing as a houseplant or as part of your landscape, purple lady bloodleaf could be a wonderful addition to your surroundings.

Key Takeaways

  • Purple lady bloodleaf thrives in indirect sunlight and consistently damp, loamy soil and requires temperatures around 60-degrees Fahrenheit and higher.
  • There are two main methods for planting purple lady bloodleaf: from seed and propagation from cuttings. Both methods have specific steps to ensure successful growth.
  • Proper care for the purple lady bloodleaf involves a combination of deep watering, creating a humid environment, annual repotting, and regular pruning to encourage bushiness.
  • Be vigilant about common pests and diseases that can impact the plant, such as aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies, scales, and powdery mildew. Quick actions can prevent larger infestations or disease spread.
  • Understanding and implementing the right care conditions, the purple lady bloodleaf can become a stunning addition to your indoor or outdoor plant collection.

Purple Lady Bloodleaf Quick Reference Chart

Purple Lady Bloodleaf
Other Names Iresine, Beefsteak Plant, Chicken Gizzard
Sunlight Partial shade
Ornamental Features Burgundy textured oval leaves/deep purple hints, upright spreading growth habit
Landscape Applications Mass Planting, Borders, Containers, Hanging Baskets
Wildlife Resistant to deer
Soil Preference Moist to wet soil, tolerates standing water
Propagation Cuttings

More About Purple Lady Bloodleaf

The post How to Grow Purple Lady Bloodleaf (Iresine diffusa f. herbstii) appeared first on Gardening Channel.



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