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Garden Topics: Tropicals & Houseplants

Cast Iron Plant

Aspidistra Elatior

Cast Iron PlantThe Cast Iron Plant is one of the best at providing a reliable sheaf of dark green leaves adding life and form to rooms after the removal of Christmas greenery. This remarkably tough plant from China and Japan often succeeds where other plants fade and die away. In Victorian times it was used as a house decoration in places where the low light levels and fumes from the gas mantles killed most other plants, earning it the name of 'Cast Iron Plant'.

Why you may want to grow it: It is an attractive, sturdy plant is perfect for the forgetful gardener because it can survive if neglected. It can withstand a wide variety of growing conditions such as cold temperature, heat waves and drought. The cast iron plant is one of the easiest plants to grow and maintain. It is ideal for locations that have low light such as dark corners of living rooms, hallways, and cool areas near exterior doors. Because it is extremely slow growing it can remain in the same pot for decades.

How to care for it: 

Light: Grows best with bright indirect light, but will tolerate very dim light. Place your plant back from an east or north facing window to avoid direct sunlight.

Water: Water the soil thoroughly, then allow the top inch of soil to dry before watering again. To prevent overwatering your plant, always insert your finger into the top inch of soil to check for dryness. Overwatering will force the plant to release water through its leaf tips. This constant moisture expulsion can damage the tips of Cast Iron Plantthe leaves. On the other hand, soil left to dry out too much can also cause your plant's leaf tips to turn brown.

Humidity: Average to high. You can achieve this by placing plant on any plastic or non-rusting tray filled with pebbles. Add water to just below the surface of the pebbles so the soil in the pot won't get wet. As the water evaporates it will add moisture to the air.

Temperature: 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit during days and 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit during nights. It can tolerate temperatures as low as 28 degrees Fahrenheit for a few days.

Fertilizer: Feed the plant once a month from spring through fall with a balanced liquid fertilizer such as Maxsea or Bonide Liquid Plant Food. When you do feed your cast-iron plant, give it only the amount stated on the fertilizer's directions. Overfeeding will also turn the leaf tips brown.

Repotting: This plant is a slow grower and doesn't need to be repotted frequently.  

For More Information Check Out Wikipedia:  Cast Iron Plant


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