By Susan Patterson, Master Gardener
The cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior), also known as iron plant and ballroom plant, is an extremely hardy houseplant and perennial favorite in some regions. Growing cast iron plants is especially favored by those who don’t have a lot of time for plant care, as this species can survive even the most extreme conditions under which other plants would shrivel and die, which makes cast iron plant care a snap. Keep reading to learn more about how to grow a cast iron plant indoors or using cast iron plants in the landscape.
How to Grow a Cast Iron Plant Indoors
Growing cast iron indoors is extremely easy and rewarding. This China native is a member of the lily family. The plant has small purple flowers that only appear near the soil surface and are hidden its foliage. For what this plant may lack in glitz, however, it makes up for in robust, healthy dark green leaves.
The cast iron plant grows well in low light indoors and is not finicky about regular water either. Although a slow grower, this reliable performer will live for many years, reaching a mature height of around two feet.
Growing Cast Iron Plants Outdoors
Various cast iron cultivars succeed where other vegetation will not. Using cast iron plant in the landscape is common as a ground cover under trees where other plants fail to thrive and in other “hard-to-grow” areas. You can also use is as a background plant in your flower bed or along with azaleas for a nice in-between filler plant.
Cast Iron Plant Care
Although the cast iron plant will tolerate extreme conditions, it is always a good idea to provide plenty of water, especially during very dry periods.
This plant also responds well to organic soil and an annual dose of all-purpose fertilizer.
Propagate cast iron plants by division. Although new plants are slow to grow, with some patience and time, the new plant will thrive.
This hardy plant thrives in very hot, dry summers and is not easily damaged by cold winters. Insects seem to leave it alone, and it very rarely is bothered by disease of any kind.
When you want a plant with such ease of care and flexibility or when all else fails, give this easy-care plant a try. Grow cast iron indoors or try your hand at using cast iron plant in the landscape for a unique look.