How to grow and care for Cast Iron Plant Indoors

Houseplant, Cast Iron Plant

Botanical name: Aspidistra elatior
Family: Asparagaceae

Cast Iron Plant is one of the highly tolerant houseplants, almost an indestructible houseplant. It is very tolerant to shade and can withstand neglect. It is native to Taiwan and islands in southern Japan including Kuroshima, Suwanosejima and Uji islands where it grows in shade under trees and shrubs. This explains why it is tolerant to shade and dislike direct sunlight. It is an extremely slow grower and can withstand periods of dryness at the roots if the temperature is not too high. It dislikes constantly saturated soil and frequent repotting. This plant can withstand deep shade, dry soil, hot temperatures, air pollution and neglect but will be scorched by direct sunlight.

The leaves arise more or less directly from soil level and their flowers also appear from the ground level. The leaves are glossy dark-green in color, about 12-20 in. long and are grouped in small tufts of 2-4. The plant grows to a height of about 1.5 ft to 2.5 ft from rhizomes from which the leaves arise rather than being borne on stems. Each leaf has a long stalk and a blade with many veins. The flowering stem is usually very short so that the flowers appear low down among the leaves. It bears 8-lobed cream flowers with maroon coloring on the inner surface.

The various varieties of Cast Iron Plant include Okame which bears green leaves with dramatic white streaks along the leaf length. Lennon's Song whose leaves bear light green or yellow vertical stripes. Ashahi whose leaf tips become white as the plant grows. Hoshi-zora also called Milky Way whose leaves are decked in yellow to white spots among other varieties.

How to Grow Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)

Light

Cast Iron Plant is extremely tolerant to varying light intensity but not direct hot sunlight which leads to sunburn brown spots on the leaves. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Water

Water Aspidistra elatior regularly during the hot months and allow the top half of the soil to dry out between waterings. Reduce watering during the cold months. Avoid waterlogging as it can lead to root-rot disease. Learn more on how to water houseplants.

Temperature

Average warmth with a minimum of 100C is ideal for Cast Iron Plant though it can withstand a wide range of temperatures. Find out more on temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Cast Iron Plant has no need for high humidity. Average room humidity is ideal for this plant though it can withstand dry air. clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth.

Feeding

Cast Iron Plant does not require heavy feeding. Apply an all-purpose liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season. Withhold feeding in the cold season as growth is minimal at this time. Find out more on feeding houseplants.

Repotting

Cast Iron Plant grows extremely slowly therefore it does not require frequent repotting. Repot every 4-5 years or when the plant has outgrown its pot, repot during the growing period. Use a free-draining soil that is rich in organic matter and a pot 1 size larger than the current one. Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent waterlogging which can lead to root-rot. Take care not to damage its delicate roots.

Pruning

Pruning Cast Iron Plant involves removal of dead leaves by snipping them off at the soil level. Learn more on how to prune houseplants.

How to Propagate Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)

Cast Iron Plant can be propagated by division during the growing season. Remove the plant from its pot and divide it int several sections by pulling the roots apart. Ensure each section has some roots and at least 2 leaves. Take care not to damage the roots. Pot each division in its individual pot containing moist free-draining soil. Place the set up in a warm place and maintain the soil moist until new shoots begin to sprout. Keep in mind this may take quite sometime and it requires patience. Once the new plant has established, continue with the normal routine care.

Common Problems in Growing Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)

  • Brown leaf spots
  • Brown leaf spots in Cast Iron Plant are sunburn spots caused by exposure to direct sunlight. Move the plant to a shadier spot or protect it from direct sunlight.

  • Yellowing of leaves
  • Where the leaves of Cast Iron Plant begin to turn color to shades of yellow, too much sunlight is the cause. Remove the affected leaves and move the plant to a more shaded place.

  • Bruised, torn or cracked leaves
  • These are caused by physical stress due to being brushed against. Remove the affected leaves and move Cast Iron Plant away from the line of traffic.

  • Brown or black leaf spots followed by leaf drop
  • The cause is Leaf Spot Disease. Remove the infected leaves and treat Cast Iron Plant appropriately to get rid of the disease.

  • Pests
  • Common pests in Cast Iron Plant are Mealy Bugs, Scale Insects and Red Spider Mites. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the rest of the houseplants and treat appropriately.

Toxicity

Cast Iron Plant is non-toxic to both humans and pets. It is safe to grow indoors.

Was this insightful? Feel free to share on social media.


On the Blog



On the Blog


Houseplants, Indoor garden
Benefits of houseplants

Apart from adding beauty, live houseplants are beneficial to us in many ways. Some of these are quite interesting. Read more »

Houseplant, Peace Lily
10 Houseplants that clean the air

These ten beautiful houseplants have been found to be effective in removing indoor air pollutants. Select some to improve your indoor air quality. Read more »

Houseplants, Golden Pothos
10 easy houseplants

These houseplants are easy to care for which means they are suitable for you if you are just starting out with growing houseplants. Read more »

Houseplants, Snake Plant, Sanseveria
10 hard to kill houseplants

These houseplants are suitable for the forgetful, a beginner or one who has limited time to take care of their houseplants. Read more »

Houseplant, Nerve plant
16 Houseplants for small spaces

Let not space limit you in greening your living spaces. These small houseplants are perfect to additions for such spaces. Read more »

Houseplant, String of pearls plant
15 Houseplants for hanging baskets

Hanging baskets are one beautiful way of maximizing on the vertical space. These easy to grow houseplants are excellent for hanging. Read more »

Aglaonema modestum
15 Houseplants for low light spaces

Even for the poorly lit spaces, these houseplants will adapt very well to the low light conditions and continue to brighten up such spaces. Read more »

Houseplant, Monstera plant
20 Houseplants for the office

Do not let yourself be surrounded by dull plain walls while you are working. Bring some green in and break the monotony of pale boring walls. Read more »

terrarium
10 Houseplants suitable for a Terrarium

One interesting way to display houseplants is the use of a terrarium. These houseplants are well suited for a terrarium. Read more »