Common Name: Cast Iron Plant, Bar-Room Plant, Variegated Cast Iron Plant
Botanical name: Aspidistra elatior
The houseplant of the century, the Cast Iron Plant, has a whimsical charm and a rightful place in your home if you love easy-care plants! This tough-as-nails indoor plant thrives on neglect, but there are a few things you should know about when caring for one! Learn how to care for and grow Aspidistra elatior:
Cast Iron Plants are very adaptable in terms of light. These plants can handle low, medium, or bright indirect light. This makes sense given the plant’s tropical origins where it can be found growing underneath the dense jungle canopy. That being said, these indoor plants will grow faster when they receive over 6 hours of indirect sunlight a day. Direct sunlight can burn the delicate leaves, so it should be avoided. Variegated types need at least 6 hours of indirect light to maintain their vibrant light stripes.
Let the soil slightly dry out between watering. When it is time to water, saturate the soil until the water drains through the grow pot. Drooping or curling leaves are an indication the plant is too dry and needs more water. In general, these plants prefer to be on the dry side so refrain from watering if the soil appears to be moist. If the plant is receiving lots of indirect light and the temperature is warm for long periods of time, the soil will dry out faster requiring more frequent watering! Younger plants whose roots are not fully developed will need more water, but be careful not to overdo it! Moist, not soggy!
Cast Iron Plants love good drainage and a soil mixture containing pumice, perlite, or wood chips to provide the drainage they need! Most bagged potting soils will be adequate for transplanting your palms. Consider mixing in cactus potting soil to help with drainage. If you decide to transplant your palms (we do not recommend transplanting your new plants for at least 3-6 months after receiving them), make sure you do not damage the roots.
Average room temperature will suffice for Cast Iron Plants. As a tropical plant, anything between 65 - 85 °F is ideal. They can withstand lower temperatures, but their growth rate will slow down if kept under 50 °F. They should never be left outside in freezing temperatures!
Aspidistra is not as humidity sensitive as some other leafy house plants, but they will appreciate slightly higher humidity levels if you can supply it!
Fertilize your Cast Iron Plant during the growing season to promote new growth. Use a diluted complete liquid fertilizer or seaweed or fish emulsion. When re-potting, the soil can be amended with worm castings to provide increased nutrition. Give it time to rest during the colder months and do not fertilize when the plant is dormant.
Cast Iron Plant is a relatively slow-growing plant, and in the right conditions and cared for properly, it can reach 2’+ in height when kept indoors.
Pet Friend or Foe
Cast Iron Plant is Non-Toxic to pets! Friend
- Finding the right balance of soil dampness can sometimes be hard for first-time Cast Iron Plant owners. Placing the plant in an area with increased indirect light can help the soil dry out and regulate the soil dampness helping avoid root rot!
- Cast Iron Plant can be propagated through division. When it’s time to re-pot, separate the plants and re-pot into separate containers. Re-pot these plants only when they start to become root-bound! (Please note that some plants are patented and propagation is prohibited! Check the patent status of all houseplants before you propagate.)
- Routinely wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust and debris. Cleaning the leaves helps the plant more efficiently conduct photosynthesis and keeps it looking amazing.