How to Grow and Care for Aspidistra elatior (Cast Iron Plant) Indoors


Aspidistra elatior, Cast Iron Plant

Photo Credit: Plantinfo

Botanical name: Aspidistra elatior
Family: Asparagaceae
Common name: Cast Iron Plant

Description

Aspidistra elatior commonly called Cast Iron Plant is one of the highly tolerant plants, almost an indestructible plant that easily adapts to varying indoor growing conditions.

The Cast Iron Plant is an extremely slow grower and can withstand periods of dryness at the roots if the temperature is not too high. It is very tolerant to shade and can withstand some level of neglect.

Aspidistra elatior can withstand deep shade, dry soil, hot temperatures, air pollution and neglect but will be scorched by direct sunlight.

Size

Cast Iron 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.

The leaves are glossy dark-green in color, about 12-20 in. long and are grouped in small tufts of 2-4.

Flower

The flowering stem in Aspidistra elatior is usually very short so that the flowers appear low down among the leaves.

The flowers in Cast Iron Plant are 8-lobed and cream colored with maroon coloring on the inner surface.

Origin

Aspidistra elatior (Cast Iron Plant) is native to Taiwan and islands in southern Japan including Kuroshima, Suwanosejima and Uji islands where it grows in shade under trees and shrubs.

Varieties

The various varieties of Aspidistra elatior 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.

Where to Buy

Cast Iron Plants in various sizes are available online at Etsy. Buy beautiful Cast Iron Plants (Aspidistra elatior) from Etsy.

Aspidistra elatior, Cast Iron Plant

Photo Credit: Flower Power

Aspidistra elatior Care Indoors

Aspidistra elatior (Cast Iron Plant) care indoors is when provided with the right growing conditions. Cast Iron Plant thrives in bright light away from direct sunlight and moderately moist, well-drained soil coupled with monthly feeding. It has no need for high humidity or regular repotting. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Light Requirements

Cast Iron Plant is extremely tolerant to varying light intensity but not direct hot sunlight as it leads to sunburn brown spots on the leaves. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Watering

Water Aspidistra elatior regularly during the hot season and allow the top half of the soil to dry out between waterings.

Reduce watering during the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist as growth is minimal at this time. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease.


Temperature

The best temperature for growing Aspidistra elatior indoors is an average warmth with a minimum of 100C. However, it can withstand a wide range of temperatures. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Aspidistra elatior has no need for high humidity. An average room humidity is ideal for Cast Iron Plant although it can withstand dry air.

Regularly clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust and discourage pest infestation. Read more on how to clean houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Cast Iron Plant does not require heavy feeding. Apply a balanced, liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season. Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

Repotting

Aspidistra elatior 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 free-draining soil that is rich in organic matter and a pot 1 size larger than the current one. Take care not to damage its delicate roots.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease.

Soil

The best soil for Aspidistra elatior should be rich in organic matter, loose and free-draining to avoid getting soggy soil. The soil should be loose enough to allow water to drain out fast enough as the plant is prone to root-rot disease.

Cactus and Succulents soil is ideal for this plant as it drains easily. Buy quality Cactus and Succulents Soil for Cast Iron Plant from Etsy.

Pruning

Pruning Aspidistra elatior involves removal of dead leaves by snipping them off at the soil level. Read more on how to prune houseplants.

Propagation

Aspidistra elatior (Cast Iron Plant) can be propagated during the growing season by plant division.

How to propagate Aspidistra elatior by plant division

Take out the Aspidistra elatior from its pot and divide the rhizomes into 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 section in its individual pot in moist, free-draining soil.

Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.

Place the set up in a warm, brightly-lit place and maintain the soil moist until new shoots begin to sprout.

Keep in mind that this may take quite sometime and it requires patience.

Once the new Cast Iron Plant is well established and begin the normal routine care.

Aspidistra elatior, Cast Iron Plant

Photo Credit: C&J Gardening Center

Aspidistra elatior Problems Indoors

Aspidistra elatior (Cast Iron Plant) has few problems indoors which are brought about by cultural faults in mainly lighting and watering. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.

Brown leaf spots

Brown leaf spots in Aspidistra elatior are sunburn spots caused by exposure to direct sunlight. Move the Cast Iron Plant to a shadier spot or protect it from direct sunlight with a light (sheer) curtain.

Yellow leaves

Where the leaves of Aspidistra elatior 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 away from direct sunlight.

Bruised, torn or cracked leaves

Bruised, torn or cracked leaves in Aspidistra elatior are caused by physical stress due to being brushed against. Remove the affected leaves and position the plant away from the line of traffic.

Brown or black leaf spots, leaf drop

The cause of brown or black leaf spots followed by leaf drop in Aspidistra elatior is leaf spot disease. Remove the infected leaves and treat the plant appropriately to get rid of the leaf spot disease.

Pests

Aspidistra elatior is quite tolerant to pests but weak plants can be attacked by Mealy Bugs, Scale Insects and Red Spider Mites. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the rest of the houseplants and treat for the pests appropriately and always ensure the plants are healthy.

Is Aspidistra elatior toxic?

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

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