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Aspidistra retusa 'Nanjing Green'

Nanjing Green Cast Iron Plant

This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.

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Item #: 7521

Zones: 7b to 10b, at least

Dormancy: Evergreen

Height: 24" tall

Culture: Light Shade to Shade

Origin: China

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

(aka: Aspidistra GS #2) Thanks to the late Greg Speichert, who brought this 1981 named species from Northeast Guangxi, back from the Nanjing Botanic Garden in the late 1990s. Our plants of Aspidistra retusa have thrived in our gardens since 2001 with no winter damage at 6 degrees F. The 2' tall x 2' wide clumps of Aspidistra retusa are composed of medium green leaves with dramatic raised veins unlike any other cast iron plant that 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.

Growing Conditions:

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.

Garden Value:

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.