Aspidistra elatior, or cast iron plant, is native to the Himalayas and Japan. Although it is hardy in USDA planting zones 7 to 10, it is a popular indoor plant. The hardy plant thrives in low light and can take considerable abuse and neglect -- thus, living up to its common name. It is one of the best and easiest plants to grow indoors in low light.
These large plants grow up to 36 inches wide and 24 inches high. Their oblong-shaped, overarching leaves with pointed tips emerge directly from thick rhizomes. Each shiny, dark green leaf grows up to 36 inches long. The plants have small stemless flowers that emerge directly from the ground in spring. Chances are you won't see the flowers if you grow the plant indoors.
Aspidistra elatior likes low light. Place it at the back of a room or in an area that gets light from an eastern or western window. Grown indoors, plants with large leaves like Aspidistra elatior often get covered in dust. However, dust won't hurt this plant and neither will shifts in temperature; it's also drought tolerant. Aspidistra elatior's impressive large size and lovely shiny leaves could become the focal point of your indoor garden.
Grow your Aspidistra elatior in an all-purpose potting mix for indoor plants. Allow the soil to completely dry out before watering again. Feed with an all-purpose plant fertiliser twice a month during the growing season. Although it's not necessary, misting the plant keeps its leaves dust free and shiny. Aspidistra elatior is dormant in winter. Gradually reduce watering to about twice a month. Do not fertilise the plant during wintertime.
When grown indoors, the thick rhizomes of Aspidistra elatior eventually fill the pot. It's easy enough to transplant it into a bigger pot. Transplanting is done in spring at the beginning of the growing season. If the plant gets too big, divide it into smaller pieces, potting them separately. Use a sharp knife to cut through the rhizome, dividing the plant into equal pieces.
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