E-Mail to Emily


Search EmilyCompost

Emily's Mailbox

Plant Index



Gardening with Kids

Selected Links

Aspidistra elatior
Cast Iron Plant

cast iron plantGeorge Orwell knew what he was talking about when he used this plant as a symbol of the downtrodden. In "Keep the Aspidistra Flying" this plant lived its life on a dingy windowsill.

We have a book on houseplants that says if you have dim or almost no light, the only plant you should consider is the aspidistra.

Native to China and a member of the lily family, aspidistra has long been appreciated for its ability to withstand enormous neglect.

Its heavy green leaves can sometimes appear black as it sits neglected in a corner. But with proper care this is a beautiful plant.

As you can see in the photo, ours grows, neglected, out of doors year-round in zone 9a.

Indoors this plant can deal with bright filtered light to very dim lighting. Outdoors: shade.

Water regularly in the growing season with a balanced fertilizer once a month. Water sparingly in winter.

It is relatively disease and pest free under most conditions.

Propagation is by division of root mass in early spring.

It grows outdoors in zones 7 to 10.

Tip: Change your containers seasonally - perhaps even with fresh potting soil.