What Does A Cast Iron Plant Look Like

Cast-iron Plant is a suitable moniker for the structure. This evergreen, which was widely employed as a houseplant in Victorian times and is currently grown outside as a ground cover for areas of extreme shade, is one tough cookie.

Aspidistra elatior (05) Landscape

Cast-iron plant is a wonderful ground cover plant that also makes a superb border plant.

This native of China is also known as the “iron plant” or “barroom plant,” and it has two-foot-long, dark-green leaves that are long, oval-shaped, and pointed.

To the amazement of many, the cast-iron plant Aspidistra elatior, a member of the lily family, actually blooms. However, because of how close to the ground its little purplish flower opens, it is frequently hidden by the leaves and scarcely noticed by most people.

How can I recognize a casting plant?

The Aspidistra elatior is a hardy garden plant that is incredibly simple to maintain as an interior ornamental plant. It is native to Japan and Taiwan. Though this seems to be a very rare occurrence for growers, it has been known to blossom tiny flowers close to the base of the foliage. As a result, it is primarily planted for its foliage.

There are two types of foliage: one has green leaves and the other has cream-colored stripes running down the center or outside border of each leaf. Rolling the base of the leaves causes them to open up before narrowing to a point. Over a foot long and five inches wide, the linear leaves have noticeable ribs.

Every leaf originates from a stem that can be divided with its roots to create new plants. To maintain the leaves appealing and dust-free, you can also wish to clean them with a soft sponge and some water.

Did you know? Gracie Fields, a very well-known singer, wrote a popular song in the 1930s titled “The Biggest Aspidistria in the World,” but you’re probably too young to remember her. If you’re from the UK, you might recall the Parkinson program, where Gracie Fields performed it.

Is cast iron a rare metal?

The Cast Iron Plant, also known as Aspidistra elatior, is a member of the lily family and is indigenous to China and Japan. It was once a fairly common houseplant and could be found in many Victorian hallways.

Even while it is currently much less popular and less frequent in modern homes than it was at this time, it is still a wonderful indoor plant to acquire.

An aspidistra is a classy houseplant despite being less frequently seen.

However, the plant’s complexity or maintenance requirements have nothing to do with the decline in popularity. In fact, it was given the moniker “Cast Iron Plant” for its near indestructibility because it is perfectly capable of coping with low lighting, muddy surroundings, as well as bad air quality, warm or cold temperatures.

Famously, it even made an appearance in George Orwell’s 1936 book “Keep the Aspidistra Flying” (despite though the book itself has nothing to do with caring for houseplants!).

Only a few new leaves are produced each year due to the slow growth of the huge paddle-shaped leaves, which are frequently a dark shade of green. The biggest benefit of this is that it won’t quickly outgrow the site you choose for it.

It won’t require much of your effort to live fairly contentedly in many regions of the house.

Because Aspidistra take a long time to reach a size that is suitable for sale due to their slow growth, they can be very expensive to purchase. It might be challenging to find due to the price as well as certain false perceptions that the plant is outdated and “fussy” in modern homes.

Nevertheless, it’s worth looking for because, against popular belief, it makes a lovely and forgiving houseplant. It will also thrive in numerous locations without much of your effort. Additionally, they have a remarkable capacity for longevity, as seen by the numerous anecdotal accounts of Aspidistra living past the age of 50.

The Aspidistra variety with all-green leaves, A. elatior, is the most popular (sometimes labeled as A. lurida). It is conventional, simple to maintain, and quite perhaps the variety you will encounter most frequently.

Nevertheless, although they are more difficult to find, there are some variegated varieties available. If you fall in love with variegated varieties and make a promise to yourself that you must possess one, be ready to look for the professional seller.

Cost: These indoor plants can be pricey. With more than 15 huge leaves, a whole pot might easily cost $40 or more. Look for smaller plants with fewer leaves if cost is a concern. They will develop over time.

Because they will need more light to keep their stripes or markings, variegated types are less forgiving when it comes to lighting requirements. Additionally, they may be less temperature tolerant and grow a little more slowly than their green cousin. Even at its slowest, the all-green A. elatior does not grow quickly, therefore the absence of a cultivar that grows even more slowly may be the cause.

There are varieties with white speckles covering the leaves, such as “Milky Way” (below).

Picture taken by Plantsorbust of Aspidistra ‘Milky Way’s white-speckled leaves

Then there are the Aspidistra species that feature stripes, like A. elatior Okame, which have striking white markings. While A. elatior variegata stands out with its creamy white leaves that can have yellow or lime green tints.

All Cast Iron Plants, whether green or variegated, require the same maintenance in order to flourish. Continue reading for some pictures, detailed care instructions, a list of typical plant issues, reader comments, and owner growth advice.

Is the cast iron plant outside or indoors?

Cast iron is incredibly simple and satisfying to grow indoors. This native of China belongs to the lily family. The plant bears tiny purple blooms that are concealed in its foliage and only show up close to the soil’s surface. This plant may not have much sparkle, but it makes up for it with strong, hearty, dark green leaves.

The cast iron plant tolerates frequent watering and thrives well inside in dim light. This dependable performer will live for many years, maturing to a height of about 2 feet despite its modest growth (61 cm.).

What does the blossom of a cast iron plant resemble?

The tough flowering plant known as the cast-iron plant (Aspidistra elatior) has glossy, dark green leaves. Because they don’t require direct sunshine, cast-iron plants are often known as bar-room plants. Outdoor cast-iron plants produce milky white flowers with a mauve coloring on the inner surface throughout the summer growing season. These hardy plants have green leaves that are an eye-catching deep shade. Since Aspidistra elatior thrives in low light and requires little maintenance, it is a common evergreen house plant that is native to Japan and Taiwan.

Are cast iron plants contagious?

Cast-iron plants produce eye-catching, dark green leaves all year long in the garden. The plants make excellent ground covers since they are low-growing and spread widely. Long, oblong, and pointed at the ends, the glossy leaves. Most cast-iron plants have a deep green color that works well as a backdrop for shorter blooming plants, as a pathway border, or as an understory plant to conceal lanky bushes’ stems. Alternately, use a variegated cultivar to illuminate particularly gloomy spaces. The plants have a comparable spread and a height of around 2 feet on average.

Can you reduce cast iron plant growth?

When is the ideal moment to reduce the number of cast iron plants? Mine appear to be a little faded and brownish-yellow. I reasoned that if I cut it down to the ground, they would revive. Despite being in the ground for a number of years, this planting has never been trimmed out. Randall Eustis

In late February or early March, you can prune back cast iron plants (Aspidistra elatior) before fertilizing them. The planting will be revived if you cut everything down to a few inches above the ground. It will, however, take a year or two for it to regain its previous thickness and height. The plants will recover more quickly if you can simply remove the undesirable leaves while leaving the lovely, healthy green leaves alone, but this is more work. If a plant appears brownish-yellow throughout, it can be receiving too much light. Cast iron plants like complete or significant shade because they do not like any direct sunlight.

How are cast iron plants removed?

The plants can be cut off at the soil’s surface, and the open wounds can then be treated with a herbicide. There could be a requirement for many applications. It is possible to dig up the rhizomes, but this can be challenging.

Does the cast iron industry purify the air?

The cast iron plant’s capacity to enhance air quality is another benefit. A thorough NASA study demonstrated that indoor plants have the ability to absorb dangerous pollutants like benzene and formaldehyde that are present in homes and office buildings. Among the plants that are particularly effective at absorbing these dangerous substances is the cast iron plant. For your clients, these plants can produce a healthier environment.

Where should a cast iron facility be located?

The most important thing to keep in mind when caring for cast iron plants is to keep them out of direct sunlight—that is, make sure the sun’s rays never hit the leaves directly—and to avoid overwatering. I’m done now! The cast iron plant like to be ignored, thus a gentle touch is preferable. (You might also want to take snake plants into consideration if this describes your plant-parenting style.)

To start off on the proper foot and get you going, let’s break down the optimum cast iron plant maintenance.

Soil and potting

Finding a fast-draining soil and a container with drainage holes are important because cast iron plants don’t like to sit in water. To give your plant some room to grow, use a fine, light cactus mix and a pot that is about 2 inches wider than the root ball of your plant.

To pot your plant, fill the bottom of the pot with a few inches of soil, flip your plant sideways and carefully pry it out of the grower’s pot, and then set it upright in the new pot. Soil should be used to fill in the sides and top, allowing about 2 inches of headroom. Give the pot plenty of water so that the extra runs off the bottom. (Either carry out this task in the sink or right away empty the drainage tray.) To account for settling, top with a bit more dirt. I’m done now!


As we previously said, cast iron plants dislike direct sunlight but perform well in low light environments. So long as the light won’t be shining directly on it, you may pretty much put your plant anyplace! You really can’t go wrong as long as the room has a window someplace.


The key to watering a cast iron plant effectively is to allow the soil totally dry up in between irrigations. If the dirt feels dry when you stick your finger into it, you should be set to go. To be absolutely certain, stab a wooden stick, such as a chopstick, into the ground. It’s time to water if it comes out dry!

Fill the drainage tray with water gradually until the extra just begins to flow out the bottom, then slowly add more water to the soil. I’m done now!

Pruning and Propagating

Your cast iron plant won’t need much pruning. Simply remove any leaves that appear to be dry or yellowing so the plant may focus its resources on healthy growth. Make sure you are not over- or underwatering your plant and that it is not in direct sunlight if you observe a lot of dead or withering leaves.

Simply tip your plant on its side and carefully pry it out of the pot to unpot it. The plant should then be divided into two or more smaller plants by massaging the majority of the soil out of the roots and untangling the roots. It is acceptable to break or cut the roots apart in order to divide them.


Use a little liquid fertilizer during the spring and summer when the plant is growing since your cast iron plant needs nutrients to flourish.

On all of my indoor plants, including my cast iron plant, I adore using Indoor Plant Food. You won’t need to keep track of a fertilizing schedule like you would with other liquid fertilizers because it is gentle enough to apply with every watering.

How long-lasting is a cast iron plant?

Cast iron plant is no exception to the rule that a plant’s common name can reveal a lot about it. This resilient plant serves as a dependable groundcover or accent plant in any shaded area of the landscape.

In all parts of Florida, cast iron plant can be cultivated outdoors, and it thrives in both filtered and deep shade.

Just don’t put it in direct sunlight.

The upright, lance-shaped leaves of this perennial evergreen grow to a height of 12 to 20 inches. Although they are typically a deep, glossy green, some better cultivars have variegated leaves with cream or yellow dots or stripes that thrill gardeners. In comparison to cultivars with solid green leaves, these variegated varieties are typically less vigorous.

A single plant will eventually develop a larger clump by extending its rhizomatous roots over time. Cast iron plant is a highly effective and low-maintenance groundcover because of its sluggish, spreading behavior.

This adaptable plant is best suited for dimly lit homes and offices, and it can even be grown as a bulletproof houseplant.

Aspidistra elatior, also referred to as cast iron plant, is a tough plant that can grow in USDA plant hardiness zones 7 to 11.