Aspidistra Elatior (Cast Iron Plant)
Cast-iron plant (Aspidistra elatior) is an herbaceous perennial that has earned its reputation as a nearly indestructible houseplant. It has arching deep-green glossy leaves and is so undemanding that it survives neglect that would easily kill lesser plants. Cast-iron plant practically grows in the dark, making it an excellent choice for those difficult-to-fill areas in deep shade.
When grown outdoors, it produces creamy purple flowers near the base of the plant, but the blossoms usually do not appear with indoor plants.
Origin: Taiwan, Japanese islands
Light: Keep cast-iron plants away from direct sunlight, which can burn the leaves. If you're using it as a houseplant, you can place it away from the windows or near north-facing windows. Outside, place cast-iron plants in a shady area that's away from direct sunlight.
Water: Cast-iron plant is drought-tolerant, but it does need some water—just be sure not to overwater it, which can lead to plant death by root-rot. Let it dry out between watering, checking with your fingers to see if the soil is moist.
Soil: If your cast-iron plant is a houseplant, use potting soil with a compost base with a pH value between 5.5 to 6.5. Outside, the plant can grow in sandy or clay soils.
Temperature & Humidity: A. elatior can be grown in temperatures between 45 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit—they're not picky about temperature or humidity.1 If you're growing the cast-iron plant outdoors in a container, take it inside before the first frost to allow the plant to hibernate in slightly warmer temperatures.
Fertilizer: Fertilize your cast-iron plant every two weeks with an all-purpose liquid fertilize during the spring and summer months. It's not necessary to fertilize during the fall and winter months. Only apply fertilizer after watering the plant to avoid burning the roots. Keep in mind that cast-iron plants grow slowly, even when fertilized.
Propogation: Aspidistra plants propagate by division. To start a new plant, take pieces of the rhizome that include at least two leaves. Pot into pieces of the rhizome that include at least two leaves. Pot into fresh potting soil and keep moist and warm until new shoots begin to emerge. Although new plants are slow to grow, with some patience and time, the new plant will thrive. 2