Aspidistra elatior (Cast Iron Plant) Indoor Care, Propagation and Problems with Solutions

Aspidistra elatior, Cast Iron Plant

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


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.

Cast Iron Plant is an extremely slow grower and can withstand periods of dryness at the roots if the temperature is not too high.

Cast Iron Plant is a hard to kill plant which 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

Where to Buy

Cast Iron Plants are excellent plants for any plant collection. Buy Aspidistra elatior online from Etsy.

Aspidistra elatior, Cast Iron Plant

Aspidistra elatior Care Indoors

Aspidistra elatior grows best in bright light away from direct sunlight, average warmth and moderately moist, fertile, well-drained soil coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.

Cast Iron Plant has no need for high humidity. It requires repotting 4-5 years only when it becomes pot-bound.

Pruning is needed to keep it neat and also reduce pest and disease infestations. 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.


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

Decrease watering during the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist as growth is minimal at this time.

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

Temperature and Humidity

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.

Aspidistra elatior has no need for high humidity. An average room humidity is ideal for this 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.


Cast Iron Plant does not require heavy feeding. Feed it with a balanced, liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season.

Stop feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time, so feeding at this time can cause fertilizer and death of the plant.

Potting Mix

The best potting mix 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 Mix is ideal for this plant as it drains easily. Buy quality Cactus and Succulents Mix from Amazon for Cast Iron Plant.


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.


Pruning Aspidistra elatior involves removal of dead leaves by snipping them off at the soil level to keep the plant neat and minimize pest and disease infestations.


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

How to propagate Aspidistra elatior by plant division

Water the Aspidistra elatior thoroughly at least one day before to make it easier to divide, to hasten establishment and to reduce plant shock.

Take the plant out of 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.

Make sure that 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

Aspidistra elatior Problems with Solutions

Aspidistra elatior (Cast Iron Plant) has few problems which are brought about by cultural faults mainly in lighting and watering. The problems include leaf spots, yellow leaves, cracked leaves, leaf drop, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.

Brown leaf spots

Brown leaf spots in Aspidistra elatior are sunscorch marks caused by exposure of the plant 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 as it cannot tolerate direct sunlight.

Remove the affected leaves and move the plant to a more shaded place away from direct sunlight or protect it by instaling a light curtain to filter the light.

Bruised, torn or cracked leaves

Bruised, torn or cracked leaves in Aspidistra elatior are caused by physical stress due to being brushed against.

Cut away the affected leaves with a sharp clean knife or pair of scissors to keep the plant neat and tidy. Position or keep the plant away from the line of traffic to avoid bruising.

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 which is enhanced by overwet conditions coupled with poor air circulation.

Get rid of the infected leaves by snipping them off at the soil level and treat the plant appropriately for leaf spot disease.


Aspidistra elatior is quite tolerant to pests but weak plants can be attacked by Mealy Bugs, Scale Insects and Spider Mites. Always ensure the plants are healthy at all times to minimize pest infestations.

Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the rest of the houseplants and treat it for the pests appropriately. Read on how to identify and get rid of pests in houseplants.

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