Aspidistra elatior 'Akebono'
Center Stripe Cast Iron Plant
Item #: 1813
Zones: 7b to 10b, at least
Height: 30" tall
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We first met Aspidistra elatior 'Akebono' in 1996, while visiting Louisiana, and spotted it growing in several places on the LSU campus. By using a black and yellow shovel and chanting "Go Tigers", we were able to secure a start to bring home, and now are able to share. Aspidistra elatior 'Akebono' is composed of evergreen 30" tall leaves, each highlighted with a narrow creamy yellow streak in the center of each leaf. Aspidistra 'Akebono' flowers at ground level in late winter, but the flowers are usually only seen by ground level critters and passed out football fans, so pull back the mulch and try to find the purple pizza-shaped flowers. Akebono cast iron plant makes a great bold-textured addition to the Southern garden... up North, here's another good house plant!
Aspidistra are very low maintenance perennials. Each leaf can last up to 3 years, but after the second year, it will begin to show signs of aging and leaf degradation. For that reason, we recommend removing all old foliage regularly to retain the attractiveness of the clump. It's always disappointing to see large patches of cast iron plants in public spaces where it hasn't been properly maintained.
Cast iron plants grow well in both moist and dry soils as long as the drainage is good. Aspidistra must be grown in shade, since their foliage will scorch if they are subjected to sun. In the jungles where they grow, they are often seen in very deep shade.
In containers, they make superb house plants. The common name cast iron plant speaks to their durability in less than ideal conditions. Regular moisture, including increased humidity when they are grown as house plants, keeps them from getting stressed and becoming susceptible to spider mites.
The bold texture and upright form of cast iron plants is invaluable in the garden, since there few other plants with this form and texture. Many cast iron plants have amazing flowers, produced at the base of the foliage, often in the winter months. While these flowers are rarely noticed in the garden, they can be quite attractive in the home.
Bloom Time: Winter
Container Role: Thrillers
Garden Themes: White Garden
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