Cast iron plants are native to the forest floors of Japan, China, and Taiwan. They were first introduced to Europe in the 19th century, and then to the United States in the early 20th century. The plant gets its common name from its ability to survive in low light conditions, and its durability - it can survive in a wide range of temperatures, from 50°F to 85°F.
Habit: An upright, erect, slow growing perennial plant growing up to 100 cm tall producing shiny, dark green elliptical leaves on long stalks. Flowers are rarely produced and small, reddish-purple and bloom at ground level.
Temperature: Plants grow best between 15 to 25ᐤ C and temperatures below 4ᐤ C may result in the death of the plant. Avoid placing plants in windy or drafty locations which can lead to less attractive plants.
Light Exposure: Plants grow well in low to moderate light levels and are adaptable to many areas within a house where most other plants will not grow; however, plants cannot grow in total darkness or full sun.
Watering: Aspidistra can be fairly drought tolerant storing moisture in its root system, however; watering once a week during the rainy season, once every two weeks in the cold dry season and once to twice a week during the hot dry season will be adequate.
Fertilising: Cast iron plants do not require a lot of fertiliser. They can be fed once or twice a year with a balanced, slow-release fertiliser during the spring and summer months. Avoid fertilising during the winter months when the plant is dormant.
Pruning/Repotting: Cast iron plants prefer to be slightly pot-bound, so repotting is not necessary very often. When it is time to repot, do so in the spring or early summer. Use a well-draining potting mix that is rich in organic matter.Remove drying leaves as necessary. Repot plants every four to five years or when it has outgrown its current pot when the roots are growing over the edge of the pot.
Pests/Diseases: Cast iron plants are relatively pest-resistant, but they can occasionally be bothered by mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects. To prevent these pests, inspect your plants regularly and remove any affected leaves. You can also use insecticidal soap or neem oil to treat any infestations.
In conclusion, cast iron plants are incredibly hardy and adaptable houseplants that can survive in a wide range of conditions. They are low-maintenance, making them a great choice for beginners or those who don't have a lot of time to devote to plant care. By following the tips outlined above, you can ensure that your cast iron plant thrives for years to come.