The cast iron plant is a hardy great beginner plant with long narrow leaves. This easy to care for plant is a favorite among new plant parents.
The cast iron plant otherwise known as Aspidistra elatior, or Parlor Palm is native to China and Japan. This plant is an evergreen with shrub like foliage that grows 3 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide.
The name comes from the hardy constitution of this plant. It’s tough as cast iron. This notoriously hard to kill plant is incredibly easy to care for.
That makes is just the right size for an indoor floor bush tucked beside your favorite table or chair.
It is able to grow in lower light conditions and is drought resistant. It is the perfect plant for beginners or busy individuals.
The reason these plants are able to withstand longer periods without water is because they grow from a root structure called Rhizomes. These rhizomes can hold and transport water and nutrients throughout the plant making it a hardier plant than most.
Cast iron plants come in a few different varieties. The Hoshia-Zora variety has speckled leaves that are green with yellow or white dots. The Cast Iron plant also has a striped or variegated variety.
The variegated varieties are popular and set this plant apart from its plain green counterparts. Something to keep in mind. A variegated plant will need more light than the non variegated varieties.
This is pretty much the case for the marble queen pothos and all other variegated varieties of any plant species. Variegated needs more light than plain green leaves.
Other Beginner Plants:
Looking for more tough plants to gift to your friends? We have a whole list of easy care plants for new plant parents. Some of them are also included in our collection of low light indoor plants.
Non toxic Plant:
Another wonderful thing about the Cast Iron plant. It is non toxic to humans, dogs, and cats. You can set this plant on a lower surface of your home, or even the floor, without needing to worry.
With a little love and care, you can keep this beautiful houseplant for decades. Read through the care guide below to learn how to keep it happy and healthy.
- Pot (ceramic, plastic, or terra cotta)
- Potting medium (perlite, soil,)
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Cast Iron plants prefer well draining soil. The roots will rot quickly if they sit in moist soil.
- potting soil and perlite will keep the roots happiest.
- Make sure your pot has drainage at the bottom. Do not use a pot with no drainage hole for this plant.
- A heavy soil potting mix is not recommended for Cast Iron plants.
Pot Size and Type:
- The cast iron plant can grow in many different kinds of pots, I like to plant mine in ceramic pots with a drainage hole.
- Repot every second year or when roots come out the drainage holes on the pot bottom To the next pot size up. Don't jump to a huge pot from a small one. Just go to the next size up pot.
- The Cast Iron plant will grow faster in bright indirect light. It will also grow just fine in lower light conditions, but the growth will be slower.
- Some filtered sunlight from a window may be appreciated in this circumstance.
- Make sure the Cast iron plant isn't sitting in constant direct sunlight, the leaves can get burnt.
- If you have a variegated variety, the plant will need more light to hang onto the variegation. Otherwise it can revert back to green,
- Water your Cast Iron plant when the soil is dry at least an inch down. These plants are typically drought resistant and can withstand longer periods of dryness compared to other houseplants.
- Watering is best done on a regular schedule so the plant is not over or under watered. Both can cause stress on the plant.
- The recommendation for watering is every 2-3 weeks.
- In dormant winter months reduce watering to when the soil is dry.
- Never let this plant get wet feet. Heavy wet soils encourage root rot and Fungus Gnats.
How to Fertilize:
- Apply a good quality fertilizer (linked in materials) monthly through Spring and summer.
- Decrease feedings by late Fall and allow the Cast Iron plant to rest through the winter months.
- The Cast Iron plant will do best in temperatures between 55-85 degrees F.
- The Cast Iron plant is a hardy resilient plant. However all plants can get attacked by pests.
- Stress by longterm overwatering, poor light, extreme temperatures and soil conditions are contributors to plant stress..
- Spider mites, mealy bugs, scale, thrips and whitefly are the most common houseplant pests you will see.
- Read our post on How to get rid of aphids and other pests with our homemade pesticide soap recipe or neem oil.
- To minimize the possibility of pests be sure to check all nursery plants before bringing them home.
- Quarantine all new plants until you are sure no pests live in them.
How to Propagate:
- Divide plant when repotting
- Gently pull apart roots
- Choose roots with 2-3 stems attached
- Plant in moist soil
- Water frequently until plant acclimates
The Cast Iron Plant is a rewarding and perfect plant for a beginner. This plant will grow tall and beautiful with just a little bit of care.
Read more about the this plant
History and more information on the this plant