Cast Iron Plant

About

Aspidistra elatior or the Cast Iron plant, native to China, Japan, and Taiwan, is an almost indestructible easy-care plant that survives where other houseplants quickly die. It’s a member of the Asparagaceae family and is a relative of the spider plant (which it does not resemble in the least). A Cast Iron plant is sometimes referred to as an Iron plant or a Ballroom Plant.

Cast Iron Plant Description

This is a rather plain plant with long, lancet shaped, pointed, course textured, leathery leaves that emerge directly from the soil. The leaves are over a foot long and 5” wide. Every individual leaf on the plant is grown on it own stem. You can separate a stem and its roots from the plant and propagate a new plant. When a cast iron plant is grown outdoors, it sometimes produces inconsequential purple and white flowers around the base of the plant. When grown as an indoor houseplant, it very rarely blooms.

Cast Iron Plant Varieties

There are several different varieties of the cast iron plants:

Variegated (Aspedistra “Ippin” and Aspedistra “Okame”have lancet shaped green leaves with cream – colored stripes.

“Starry Night” has semi-glossy green leaves decorated with white or yellow small dots.

“Lennon’s Song” has dark green, long, narrow, lancet shaped leaves with an irregular pale yellow central stripe.

“Asahi” has green leathery leaves that develop white tips as the plant matures.

“Akebono” has  2-3ft long leaves with a cream or pale yellow stripe running down the center of each leaf.

The leaves on all of varieties revert back to solid green when the plant is in very low lightWhen you select “Low Light” a list of the most adaptive plants in our database appears. These plants can live in lighting conditions too low to support any other plants in our database, but will grow faster in medium and high light. Variegation (color) in the leaves is often lost in low light. A plant in low light needs less water and fertilizer than the same plant in better light. Place a low-light plant within 2-3 ft. of a window with a northern exposure, 3-5 ft. of a window with an eastern exposure, 4-10 ft. of a window with a western exposure, and 10-18ft. of a window with a southern exposure. A low light area has between 50-150 ft. candles of light. The best low light house plants are: Chinese Evergreen, Dracaena Janet Craig, Peace Lily, Heart leaf Philodendron..

                       

A. Variegated       A. Variegated         A. Starry Night                   A. Asahi

Conclusion

A Cast Iron plant is perfect for someone with a brown thumb or if you want to put a plant in an area where no other plant can possibly survive. They forgive you if you forget to water but develop root rot is you water too much. They can survive in low lightWhen you select “Low Light” a list of the most adaptive plants in our database appears. These plants can live in lighting conditions too low to support any other plants in our database, but will grow faster in medium and high light. Variegation (color) in the leaves is often lost in low light. A plant in low light needs less water and fertilizer than the same plant in better light. Place a low-light plant within 2-3 ft. of a window with a northern exposure, 3-5 ft. of a window with an eastern exposure, 4-10 ft. of a window with a western exposure, and 10-18ft. of a window with a southern exposure. A low light area has between 50-150 ft. candles of light. The best low light house plants are: Chinese Evergreen, Dracaena Janet Craig, Peace Lily, Heart leaf Philodendron., but the leaves get bleached if the light is too strong. This is the type of green friend that can only be “killed with kindness.

 

FAQ

Why Are My Cast Iron Plant Leaves All Green Now When They Used to Be Green and White?

Cast Iron plant lose their white stripe when the light is too low. If you want the leaves to regain their white stripe, you’ll have to move your plant to brighter light. The more color in the leaves, the more light a plant requires.

I Am Going Away for Three Weeks; Will My Cast Iron Plant Survive Without Water for That Long a Time or Should I Ask Someone to Care for It?

If you move your Cast Iron plant to a low-light and a cool area it will be fine for three weeks.

I Don’t See Any Stems on My Cast Iron Plant. Don’t All Plant Have Stems?

The stems of a Cast Iron plant are below the soil. The leaves only look like they don’t have stems.