Photo Credit: Plantinfo
Botanical name: Aspidistra elatior
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.
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.
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 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.
Photo Credit: Flower Power
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.
Water Aspidistra elatior regularly during the hot season and allow the top half of the soil to dry out between waterings.
Reduce watering Aspidistra elatior during the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist as growth is minimal at this time.
The best temperature for growing Aspidistra elatior indoors is an average warmth with a minimum of 100C.
However, Aspidistra elatior can withstand a wide range of temperatures. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.
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 of your Aspidistra elatior by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust and discourage pest infestation. Read more on how to clean houseplants.
Cast Iron Plant does not require heavy feeding. Apply an all-purpose liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season.
Withhold feeding for your Cast Iron Plant during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time. Read more on how to feed houseplants.
Aspidistra elatior grows extremely slowly therefore it does not require frequent repotting.
Repot your Aspidistra elatior 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.
Pruning Aspidistra elatior involves removal of dead leaves by snipping them off at the soil level. Read more on how to prune houseplants.
Aspidistra elatior can be propagated during the growing season 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 Aspidistra elatior section has some roots and at least 2 leaves. Take care not to damage the roots.
Pot each Aspidistra elatior division 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, shaded 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 Aspidistra elatior has established, continue with the normal routine care.
Photo Credit: C&J Gardening Center
Brown leaf spots in your Aspidistra elatior are sunburn spots caused by exposure to direct sunlight.
Move your Aspidistra elatior to a shadier spot or protect it from direct sunlight.
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 your Aspidistra elatior to a more shaded place.
Bruised, torn or cracked leaves in your Aspidistra elatior are caused by physical stress due to being brushed against.
Remove the affected leaves and move your Aspidistra elatior away from the line of traffic.
The cause of brown or black leaf spots followed by leaf drop in your Aspidistra elatior is Leaf Spot Disease.
Remove the infected leaves and treat your Aspidistra elatior appropriately to get rid of the disease.
Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the rest of the houseplants and treat for the pests appropriately.
Aspidistra elatior is non-toxic to both humans and pets. Cast Iron Plant is safe to grow indoors.