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Cast Iron Plant · Wiki

Botanical Name: Aspidistra elatior

As its common name suggests, Cast Iron plant is tough; it will survive low light, infrequent watering, and extreme heat that would be deadly to most plants. In fact, it practically thrives on neglect. Take care to not over-water, as the Cast Iron plant doesn't like soggy soil. Also, don't re-pot it very often, as the Cast Iron plant doesn't like to be disturbed.

This plant grows slowly in clumps of 6 inch (15 cm) stems which have glossy, dark-green, leaves that can grow to be 24 inches (60 cm) long and 4 inches (10 cm) wide. You can keep the shiny leaves dust-free by wiping them with a damp cloth.

Many varieties of the Cast Iron plant are available:
Starry Night has leaves which are speckled with yellow.
Milky Way has leaves which are speckled with white.
Variegata has leaves which have creamy stripes which go down the leaves.

Small, unattractive, purple/brown flowers may appear at the plant's base in spring; but, don't expect them as they don't appear very often, and they're hardly noticeable.


Care Tips

Origin: China

Height: Up to 3 feet (90 cm)

Light: Low to moderate light with no direct sun; direct sunlight can cause brown scorched marks on leaves.

Water: In the spring and Summer seasons you'll want to water thoroughly, but allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Be sure to water less in Autumn and Winter. Yellow leaves are often a sign of overwatering.

Humidity: Average humidity. Will tolerate dry air, but keep plant out of drafts.

Temperature: Adaptable to changing temperatures ranging from 50-85°F (10-29°C)

Soil: Any all-purpose potting mix.

Fertilizer: Feed monthly spring and Summer with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half. Do not feed at all in fall and winter, as plants grow very little during this time.

Propagation: Divide in the spring, but only when it gets overcrowded in its pot. A slow-grower, it probably won't need divided more often than every 5 years. It's best to remove any new shoots, with roots attached, and pot them separately, rather than to repot an old plant.



Split and damaged leaves may be caused by too much fertilizer. If leaves are starting to split, skip feeding for a month; then resume feeding with a diluted amount. You can cut off any badly damaged leaves at the base. It's also a good idea to flush the soluble salts that build up in the soil from fertilizers.

Watch for spider mites that may invade this plant; you'll notice their faint webbing between leaves. Treat any infestation immediately.
Posted By Gremelin Posted on July 12th, 2018 · Updated on September 2nd, 2020
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