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How to Grow Aspidistra — Cast-Iron Plant

Cast-iron plant Aspidistra

Aspidistra–commonly called the Cast-iron plant–is a good choice for tough growing situations. Broad dark green leaves are upright; they need minimal care apart from regular water.

Aspidistra has stiff, glossy, evergreen leaves. They can withstand heat, dust, poor soil, and dim light. The flowers are dark-colored and borne close to the ground where they are hidden by the foliage; they are not effective and usually not noticed.

Aspidistra is propagated by dividing the roots in early spring.

A variegated variety is occasionally seen, but the variegation rapidly disappears if the plant is given rich soil.

Get to Know Aspidistra

  • Plant type: Subtropical evergreen perennial
  • Growing Zones and range: outdoors in 8-11
  • Hardiness: Good choice for shady places
  • Height and width: 24 to 36 inches (60-90cm) tall and wide
  • Foliage: Upright growth habit; leaves grow to 30 inches (75cm) and 4 inches wide; dark green leaves
  • Temperature: Best with an average temperature of 50°F (10°C)
  • Flowers: Small, bell-shaped purple blooms form at the base of the plant
  • Uses: Grow in the landscape in the South; grow as a groundcover beneath trees; grow in containers indoors
  • Common name: Cast-Iron Plant
  • Botanical name: Aspidistra elatior
  • Family: Aspleniaceae
  • Origin: The Himalayas, China, and Japan

Where to Plant Aspidistra

  • Aspidistra outdoors grows best in medium light and dislikes direct sun.
  • Grow indoors in average indoor temperatures and average household humidity.
  • Aspidistra adapt easily to poor soil. Plant in soil except one that is soggy and wet.
  • Sandy soil enriched with organic matter.

Planting and Spacing Aspidistra

  • Aspidistra spread slowly into thick clumps of large, dark green leaves.
  • Space Aspidistra 24 to 36 inches (60-90cm) apart.

How to Water and Feed Aspidistra

  • Allow soil to dry slightly between waterings; dislikes constantly wet soil.
  • Water when dry and temperatures are high.
  • Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer in spring and again in summer.
Cast-iron plant, Aspidistra
Cast-iron plant, Aspidistra

Aspidistra Care

  • Rinse or wipe off the plant’s broad leaves once a month or so with water.

Growing Aspidistra as a Houseplant

  • Aspidistra requires little care and can survive under adverse conditions.
  • Aspidistra grows best in a cool temperature, medium humidity, and bright light, but can adapt to low light.
  • Keep the soil relatively dry.
  • Fertilize Aspidistra regularly in spring and summer.

Aspidistra Common Problems

  • Too much sun and lack of moisture can turn leaves crispy brown on the edges.
  • Spider mites occasionally attack the foliage; control pests by washing the leaves monthly with plain water

Aspidistra Propagation

  • Divide the roots in early spring and replant in fresh mix; plant two or three pieces together in each pot.

Aspidistra Varieties to Grow

  • Aspidistra elatior, cast iron plant. Dark green leaves grow to 30 inche long and 4 inches across. Variegated cultivar is Aspidistra elatior ‘Variegata’, green leaves with creamy or white stripes.

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