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Aspidistra elatior

Cast Iron Plant

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Item #: 844

Zones: 7a to 10b

Dormancy: Evergreen

Height: 30" tall

Culture: Light Shade to Shade

Origin: China

Pot Size: 3.5" pot (24 fl. oz/0.7 L)

This is the cast iron plant that everyone has grown indoors. Its bold foliage is quite striking in the garden as each leaf, 30" long x 5" wide, emerges singly from the underground root system. We think aspidistra is striking for its evergreen effect in the woodland garden...don't miss the wild red flowers at the base in spring. After a severe winter, you may want to remove the old foliage if it looks weathered.

Cast Iron Plant, Aspidistra, produces new leaves once a year in the spring. Each leaf lasts about three years. Maintenance of Aspidistra consists of removing leaves that are starting to become unsightly. These are usually ones that are starting to yellow from old age. A cold winter can damage otherwise healthy leaves and thus necessitate their removal. Cut the leaves off at ground level. Often a once a year clean-up is all that is necessary on these low maintenance plants. It is not recommended that all of the leaves, young and old, be removed at one time, unless necessary, for regrowth will be weaker.

Aspidistra is readily propagated by division. It can be done most anytime of the year, though it is best to avoid dividing them while they are putting up new growth in the spring. The growth of the new leaves will be checked if disturbed during their development. They will survive, but the new leaves will be stunted. Divisions can be as small as a rhizome with a single leaf. Replant 6 to 12" apart depending on how long one is willing to wait for total coverage. Planting a bit deeper will help keep the leaf, now a large sail, upright. Water well to settle in.

Aspidistra definitely prefers shade and readily tolerates heavy shade. Avoid a sunny location for though they are likely to survive a sunny location the foliage will be yellowish and can burn and otherwise be unsightly. Normally they are handsome year round.