Aspidistra (Aspidistra elatior) is a sturdy plant that tolerates poor growing conditions and will survive even in low light where most plants won't stand a chance. Because of its toughness and adaptability, aspidistra is also known as the cast iron plant. While aspidistra is a nearly indestructible plant that can tolerate a certain amount of neglect, the plant will be healthier and more beautiful with a bit of attention. Although aspidistra is suitable for growing outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 7 to 8, the plant is most often grown indoors.
Plant aspidistra in a pot filled with commercial potting soil. Use a pot with a drainage hole in the bottom, as aspidistra will rot if the soil doesn't drain well. Outdoors, plant aspidistra where the soil drains well. While aspidistra can be purchased at garden centres and nurseries, you can also start with a small plant divided from a healthy, mature aspidistra. Divide the plant during the spring.
Place aspidistra in a lowlight area of your home. A spot several feet away from a window with a northern or eastern exposure is appropriate. Outdoors, plant aspidistra in a shady spot.
Fertilise indoor- or outdoor-grown aspidistra every three to four months, using a balanced granular or liquid fertiliser with a ratio such as 20-20-20. Withhold fertiliser during the winter months, as aspidistra should only be fertilised during active growth.
Water indoor or outdoor aspidistra when the top 1 to 2 inches of soil feel dry. While aspidistra isn't fussy about water and tolerates dry soil, it won't survive in soggy, wet conditions. Water indoor-grown aspidistra sparingly during the winter months and don't allow the soil to become completely dry.
Things you need
- Pot with drainage hole
- Commercial potting soil
- Balanced liquid or granular fertiliser
- Clemson Cooperative Extension; Debbie Shaughnessy; September, 1999
- North Carolina State University Extension; Aspidistra Elatior; Erv Evans
- University of Illinois Extension; Cast Iron Plant -- Aspidistra Elatior; Jennifer Schultz Nelson; March 7, 2010
- Floridata; Aspidistra Elatior; Steve Christmas; April 25, 2006