Aspidistra retusa 'Nanjing Green'
Nanjing Green Cast Iron Plant
Item #: 7521
Zones: 7b to 10b, at least
Height: 24" tall
(aka: Aspidistra GS #2) Aspidistra retusa 'Nanjing Green' is a 2008 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction of a plant the late Greg Speichert brought back from a 1990s trip to China's Nanjing Botanic Garden. First discovered in 1981, Aspidistra retusa has thrived in our gardens since 2001 with no winter damage at 6 degrees F. These groundcover-forming clumps, which reach 2' tall x 2' wide, are composed of medium green leaves with dramatic raised veins unlike any other cast iron plant we have grown. Each 3" wide leaf consists of a 1' petiole topped by a 1' arched leaf blade. The leaves of this very attractive clump have small insignificant chartreuse spots near the bottom.
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 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
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