Cast Iron Plant

As its name suggests, the cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior) is a toughie! It basically thrives on neglect and looks good all year round. The upright, glossy green leaves (which can also be patterned) grow incredibly well indoors or can also be planted densely in a dry shaded spot – you won’t find a plant that loves it more! They do very well indoors but can also be grown outdoors as they clump together and make a lovely display.


How to grow cast iron plants in a garden

  1. Choose a shaded spot with well drained soil. Enrich the soil with Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser
  2. Dig the planting hole twice as wide and to the same depth as the root-ball. Remove the shrub from the container, gently tease the roots and cut away any circled or tangled roots.
  3. Position in hole and backfill with soil, gently firming down. Water in well after planting to settle the soil around the roots and keep the soil moist for several weeks while the new plant establishes. Once established, it will benefit from regular watering, especially during dry conditions, but it’s not absolutely necessary.
  4. Mulch with an organic mulch, such as bark chips, sugar cane or pea straw ensuring to keep it away from the trunk. 
  5. Feed with Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser every 8 weeks from spring until mid autumn.  


How to grow cast iron plants in a pot

  1. Choose a pot at least 500mm wide and deep. Position in a well-lit spot, out of direct sunlight. Fill with quality potting mix, such as Yates Potting Mix with Dynamic Lifter
  2. Remove the shrub from the container, gently tease the roots and cut away any circled or tangled roots.
  3. Position in pot and backfill with potting mix, gently firming down. Water in well.
  4. Water when the potting mix is dry – insert your index finger to the first knuckle, if it’s dry, water and if it’s moist, don’t water.  
  5. Feed fortnightly during the growing season with Yates Thrive Houseplant Liquid Plant Food

Growing tips

  • To help the potting mix and root zone stay moist, cast iron plants can be gently and briefly immersed into a tub of water every month.

  • Dust the leaves regularly by gently dusting them with a small brush or feather duster.  Dust can clog up the pores of the leaves and make it difficult for the leaves to function.

  • Lightly prune in winter.

  • Divide plant clumps every couple of years to keep the plants happy and healthy. Use a spade or sharp knife to separate the clumps, ensuring there are a couple of leaves to each clump and re-plant else where in the garden. The best time to do this is in winter.


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Common Problems and Solutions

Caterpillars: Small and large irregular holes and caterpillar droppings

Solution: Yates Success Ultra

Snails and Slugs: Large ragged holes, chew marks on leaf edges and silvery trails on leaves or ground

Solution: Yates Baysol