The Cast Iron Plant is Nearly Bullet Proof: Indoors or Out
You’re probably wondering why the common name for the Aspidistra elatior is “Cast Iron” Plant. Luckily for inattentive gardeners, it’s because it is as tough as iron.
This evergreen perennial has lance-shaped leaves that grow upright to 20” tall. The China native is actually a member of the Lily family. The plant has small purple flowers that are usually hidden in its dark green foliage. Outdoors, it is an excellent choice for those difficult-to-fill deep shade spots. Over time, a single plant will spread via its roots to create an attractive larger clump. Indoors, you’ll find it blissfully thrives in homes or offices that don’t receive much light. It’s also not finicky about regular watering.
Also known as aspidistra, the Cast Iron Plant is a houseplant favored by many because of its hardy nature. With a little care and love, this plant can survive through anything. Unlike other plants, the Aspidistra Elatior is one of the strongest plants out there.
History of the Cast Iron Plant
Originating from the forests of Taiwan and Japan, these plants were brought to Europe and America during the Victorian Era. Since then, people have been keeping these plants in their homes. Over the years, the plant has been falling in and out of trend, but in recent times, you can find them everywhere. It is because of its evergreen foliage that the plant is commonly found in offices, homes, and bars.
Caring for Aspidistra Elatiors
Even though Cast Iron Plants are not very demanding, but you need to give them the right care to make sure they grow perfectly. There are two very important things you need to consider when you want to grow Aspidistra Elatior. The first thing you must be careful of is not to put your plant in direct sunlight. Keeping them out of direct sunlight is the best option. The next thing you must be sure of is not to overwater the plant, as it can eventually cause the plant to rot.
The cast iron plant does exceptionally well when it gets moderate light. The only thing you need to avoid is keeping the plant in direct sunlight. Any place with shade is fine, which makes it a great plant to grow indoors.
These plants are not very fond of water, which means that you will need fast-draining soil so the soil does not stay wet for a long time. The best way to go about it is to get a cactus mix and a pot that has holes in it. This will make sure that there is not a lot of water in the soil.
There is no significant need for watering your cast iron plant. If you want to water your plants, it is best to first let the soil completely dry out so that you do not overwater your cast iron plant. To test that, you can put your finger in the soil and feel if it is dry or not. You can also use a wooden stick to check whether the soil is dry or not.
You definitely want your Cast Iron Plant to grow, and for that, you need to use a gentle liquid fertilizer. This fertilizer is best for summer, which is when the plant is in its growing state. A gentle fertilizer will be the best option as it will go well with each watering cycle.
The cast iron plant is not very susceptible to damage from pests, but there are certain household bugs that can damage it. Other common issues include the leaves and tips browning.
Household bugs are the most common pests for the aspidistra. Bugs such as mites and scales can affect the plant and keep them off. You can rinse the foliage gently. This may not work if the infestation is greater. In that case, you can clean the foliage with insecticidal soap.
There are not many diseases that can harm the cast iron plant, but the plant turning brown should be something that concerns you. If you keep your plants in direct light, then that can cause them to brown. This is why it is best to keep your plants in the shade and, more importantly, avoid overwatering them.
You do not need to prune your cast iron plant regularly. If you see any yellowing leaves, you can just pull them off. This will help your plant focus on its growth and not waste its energy.
To propagate your plant, you can use division, which requires you to unpot your plant first and tip it on its side to work it out of the pot. Get the roots out of the soil and gently massage them off. Once you do that, make sure that the roots are untangled, and then you can easily put the plants in different pots and divide them.
Potting / Repotting
Suppose you want to pot your plant for maximum growth than the first layer of the pot with the soil and then tip your plant sideways. Always leave two inches of headroom on the top of the plant so that all the excess water drains out.