So, you are on the hunt for a new houseplant that is stylish, hardy, and resilient to dying! A perfect houseplant for a beginner. But does this plant exist? Look no further than the Aspidistra Elatior or commonly known as the Cast Iron Plant! These houseplants belong to the Lily family and native to Asia, more specifically China and Japan, where it is used to growing in poor soil under trees, making the Aspidistra Elatior very good at handling neglect. The Cast Iron Plant is an old-fashioned houseplant with leathery, dark-green leaves. A fantastic addition to any home and a stunning piece for Victorian hallways alongside the Kentia Palm.
The Aspidistra Elatior was a very popular houseplant, but is it now? To answer this question, we should look at why the Aspidistra Plant used to be so popular. As you can recognise by its name, the Cast Iron Plant is a very hardy indoor plant. It requires little maintenance and is easy to care for. Even those with a brown thumb can keep their Aspidistra Elatior alive for years to come. All these features made the Aspidistra appealing to grow both indoor and out. Since Victorian times this variegated Aspidistra Elatior has been very popular with its beautiful, paddle-shaped, elegant leaves that have graced many a film set. You can capture this style in your own home and enjoy the sophisticated looks of the Cast Iron Plant in any room.
How to Care for a Cast Iron Plant?
As we have stated above, the Aspidistra Elatior is an easy-care houseplant that can handle neglection. They tolerate dust, droughts, heat sources such as radiators and cold temperatures as low as -2°C or 18°F without damaging its beautiful foliage, the Aspidistra Plant can tolerate low light and is generally less tolerant to pest infestations. All this sounds great, but if you really want your Cast-Iron Plant to shine, we’ll offer some care recommendations.
Where to place an Aspidistra Plant?
The most important component of any houseplant is placement. The balance of finding a spot that both complements the room it’s in and a spot that your houseplants loves can be tricky but, not for the Aspidistra Elatior! The Cast Iron Plant enjoys a spot that has partial shade. Partial shade is achieved when you give your Aspidistra Plant around 3-6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Happy Houseplants recommend placing your Cast Iron Plant about 3 feet away from an east-facing window to give it the partial shade it needs!
How to Water a Cast Iron Plant
The Aspidistra Elatior does not like a soggy home, so ensure that you have a pot that drains well and have soil that promotes drainage. The Cast Iron plant does not need much water, so you can get away with watering around once a week. During the summer months, ensure that the soil is kept moist and is evenly watered and during winter, you can water more sparingly. This is because there are longer hours of sunlight. Although this is the average watering frequency, feel your soil and if the top couple inches are dry to the touch before watering again.
Humidity for an Aspidistra Elatior Plant
The Aspidistra Elatior will enjoy humidity but will not require it. The humidity that it likes to be present in is average humidity, around 40%. Consider using a fine mist humidifier, misting the leaves regularly (around every 5 days) and group your other houseplants close together.
Ideal Temperature for an Aspidistra Elatior Plant
The Cast Iron Plant likes to be ideally between 16-24°C or 65-75°F. Although this is ideal, it can withstand temperatures as cold as -2°C! We do not recommend that you keep this temperature. They also can survive near windows and heat sources such as radiators. A real hardy houseplant!
Soil for an Aspidistra Plant
As the Iron Cast Plant does not like to be sitting in soggy soil, it is crucial to identify a good potting mix that drains well. Our suggestion is using a blend of: coco coir, bark, activated charcoal and perlite. This blend is natural and will help with drainage, your Aspidistra plant will love you for it! If you want to take it to the next level, add some worm castings to you soil mix as it will act as a natural plant fertiliser that will keep your Cast Iron Plant looking its best.
Fertilising an Aspidistra Elatior or Cast-Iron Plant
Like most houseplants, the ideal period to fertilise these houseplants is during the spring and summer. This is because this period tends to be their growing season due to the length of sunlight each day, allowing our houseplants to obtain more sunlight energy. Fertilise the Aspidistra Elatior once every two weeks and none during the summer.
Cast Iron Plant Common Problems
This plant is thankfully an easy-going houseplant making it perfect for beginners. However, with all houseplants, there is a general rule-of-thumb to follow. Whenever you see symptoms of a potential pest infestation, you must attend to it immediately. Common pests that you may see on an Aspidistra Elatior is spider mites, mealy bugs, and scales. Not to say others may not join the equation, but Happy Houseplants recommend checking your indoor plants for infestations regularly.
There are other problems such as Aspidistra leaves drooping and having grey/fading or yellow leaves. These symptoms are usually caused by two main problems, underwatering and high salt build-up in the soil meaning your Aspidistra Elatior may possibly need repotting. If the leaves are yellow, it is caused by the opposite, an overwatered potting mix, water less.
Our Favourite Aspidistra Elatior!
We love the Cast Iron Plant available at Happy Houseplants! It’s very easy to look after and care for, and almost indestructible! It’s a slow grower - which has its advantages because you will know that it will fit the space chosen for it! It’s not a rare plant but it is hard to find in this large size, however, you can get it here in our houseplant shop!
If you’re buying the Cast Iron plant as a special gift, we’ll enclose a free, handwritten card with your order. Just note your message at the basket stage of the checkout and we’ll do the rest! No paperwork included either to spoil the surprise!