A Detailed Guide On How to Successfully Grow a Cast Iron Plant
Cast Iron Plant is a hardy plant that would light up your indoor garden! In this guide, we’ll share with you the necessary care practices to keep your Cast Iron Plant thriving and happy.
Interested in getting this plant for yourself? Read more to find out where you can buy this Aspidistra, its exciting attributes, and common pitfalls to avoid.
What Is Cast Iron Plant?
Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra Elatior) is from the Asparagaceae family. It is famous for its lanceolate-shaped, deep green, and glossy leaves.
It may be referred to as Iron Plant, Ballroom Plant, and Barroom Plant (Bar Room Plant). However you call it, this plant earned its reputation as a hard-to-kill plant, hence, its common name.
Aside from being low maintenance and hardy, this beautiful plant is recommended for growers with “brown thumbs” as they can survive a lot of neglect and growing conditions that usually kill other houseplants.
Typically, a hands-off approach is best for this plant.
Cast Iron Plant is a beautiful addition to your home and can be placed near a north-facing window. If outdoors, it has the highest chances of survival in hardiness zones 6-11.
You can learn more about plant hardiness here.
Cast Iron Plant Origin And Family
Iron Plant originates from the Aspidistra genus, part of the Asparagaceae family. The forests of Asia (mainly from Japan, China, and Taiwan) are home to this plant.
Popular during the Victorian era, this plant’s fame fluctuated over the years, and it’s not because it’s a complex plant to grow. However, this plant is still found in most modern homes that provide it with its needs.
John Bellenden Ker Gawler first described the Aspidistra genus in 1822. It produces small purple flowers near the soil surface and hidden in its foliage.
Where To Buy
To acquire a Cast Iron Plant, you could always start looking in a local nursery, but you can purchase several cuttings and full-grown plants online. Etsy is a reliable site that we recommend. However, these plants are slow-grower, so it takes a while to grow to a size that can be marketed; therefore, they can be expensive.
The high prices for a Cast Iron Plant are typically between $50 for plants in 6-inch pots and $200+ for larger or more mature plants.
Cast Iron Plant Plant Size
The Cast Iron Plant grows about 2-3 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide as a houseplant. This stunning perennial prefers to be placed near a north-facing window and is considered a slow grower.
Cast Iron Plant Care Needs
The cast-iron plant is for you if you’re looking for low-maintenance plants that can withstand low light, low humidity, irregular watering, and sporadic temperature changes.
Check out this more detailed guide to care for your Cast Iron Plant!
Cast Iron Plant Care Difficulty
The Barroom Plant is typically considered easy to care for with its light, water, and humidity needs. To successfully grow this plant, you’ll need to be particular with the well-draining soil and amount of water.
Cast Iron Plant Growth Rate
The growth rate of Cast Iron is slow. Indoors, it will reach a mature height of about 2-3 feet.
Cast Iron Plant Potting
Aspidistra plants generally prefer a pot with good drainage. A large-sized clay or terracotta pot works fine. Drainage holes are essential to keep excess water from drowning the roots of your Iron Plant.
Cast Iron Plant Repotting
Like many indoor plants, it’s essential to repot your Cast Iron Plant if you see roots pushing out the drainage holes. Based on experience, this plant grows relatively slowly, so expect to repot every 3-4 years.
While repotting, you can give your Aspidistra a nutrient boost by adding standard commercial potting soil to replace the old material.
Gonna cook my beefsteak begonia in my cast iron plant pic.twitter.com/3WbhGdymef— 🍑 erisa (´･ω･`) (@enralis) August 2, 2022
Cast Iron Plant Soil
The Barroom Plant does best in standard commercial potting soil. The roots of this plant prefer a relatively moist environment, so make sure you choose components with suitable moisture-retention properties for your soil. Use perlite, pumice, or coarse sand to create your soil mix.
Root rot and other diseases can be avoided with efficient drainage. Consider adding chunky and gritty materials to your soil to improve aeration.
These are some excellent substrate options for your plant:
Cast Iron Plant pH
You’ll want your soil to be between 6.5-7.5 (or neutral to acidic) in terms of pH. There’s not much reason to be concerned if you’re using standard commercial potting soil. This medium’s pH level is usually within the ideal range.
If you are concerned that your Cast Iron’s pH is excessively high, you can lower it with additives containing sulfur or aluminum sulfate.
If the pH is insufficient, you can raise it using calcitic lime, dolomitic lime, wood ash, or baking soda.
Try measuring the soil pH to see if you need to adjust your growing medium.
Cast Iron Plant Water
Proper watering is an essential factor for houseplants. Frequent watering might invite diseases like fungal infections and root rot. On the contrary, too little and the plants might end up with browning, undernourished leaves. For optimal health, Iron Plant generally prefers relatively well-drained soil.
One way to check for moisture is to stick your finger in the pot. When the top half of the soil feels dry to the touch, you’ll know it’s time to give your plant a drink.
Drainage holes and aerated soil are must-haves for Iron Plant. Rule of thumb: You don’t want your plant sitting in water for an extended period. This plant, while almost impossible to kill, does not like to sit in soggy soil for too long.
Cast Iron Plant Light
Cast Iron is an adaptable houseplant that will cope with any light level except total darkness or full sun. If the sunlight is too bright for your plant’s liking, its leaves will get burned. When this happens, move your plant away from the window or use curtains and blinds to filter the light coming in and create a partial shade.
On the other hand, if your Elatior is not getting as much light as it needs, its leaves will grow smaller and darker. In this case, you can move your plant closer to a window. You can also supplement it with grow lights. We recommend the following artificial lighting products:
Cast Iron Plant Fertilizer
The Barroom Plant’s growing season is in the spring and summer. During this time, fertilize your plant once a month using a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer.
When this plant’s development naturally slows in the winter months, you don’t need to fertilize.
Propagating Cast Iron Plant
Perhaps you’re impatient to see your Cast-Iron Plants sprout new leaves. One planting technique is to prune back the stem to encourage new growing points. Usually, the cuttings you’ve pruned back can then be propagated so that you can grow a new baby plant!
Check out these various propagation methods for you to choose from.
Cast Iron can also be propagated by dividing the clusters of stems with entangled root systems.
1. Dig up. Using your small shovel, tap on the sides of the pot to loosen the soil. Gently tug at the plant until it comes out.
2. Separate. You should be able to see the natural boundary of each stem. Separate them using your hands. You may need to cut the roots but be careful not to disrupt the main root balls.
3. Repot. Repot each section in smaller pots filled with the same soil they’re used to.
Mother-in-law was pulling up her cast-iron-plant and noticed it had flowered. These flowers are so interesting! pic.twitter.com/EfzubgxT9Y— Ida (@ncdraw) February 2, 2021
Humidity And Aeration for Cast Iron Plant
For this plant, humidity levels are unimportant. It can handle dry and moist air, so you don’t have to worry a lot about providing it with the right levels.
Cast Iron Plant Temperature
Generally, warm to cool temperatures are best for your Cast Iron plant. This can range between 45-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Sudden temperature changes do not easily damage them. However, you want to keep it away from heat vents that can dry the foliage.
If you can provide the best conditions for your plant and keep it happiest, you can see insignificant purple flowers near the base of the plant and hidden in its foliage. You must know, however, that most plants generally bloom in an outdoor environment.
The Barroom Plant is not hazardous to children or pets. According to the ASPCA, it will not hurt dogs or cats if consumed, and there are no toxic elements in the plant.
|Toxic To Pets?||Care Specifics|
|Botanical Name||Cast Iron Plant|
|Common Name||Iron Plant, Barroom Plant, Cast Iron|
|Origin||Asia (particularly from Japan and Taiwan)|
|Leaf Color||deep green and glossy|
|Recommended Home Placement||near a north-facing window|
|Light||low to bright indirect light|
|Soil||standard commercial potting soil|
|When To Water||Water When the top half of the soil feels dry to the touch.|
|When To Fertilize||once a month during growing season|
|Toxic To Pets?||No|
|Common Pests & Diseases||spider mites, brown tips, scale insects, yellow leabes, root rot, mealy bugs, drooping leaves|
Pests, Diseases, And Other Problems for Cast Iron Plant
The Cast Iron Plant is an ideal indoor plant resistant to several bugs, issues, and diseases. In the sections below, I’ll outline some common issues for the Cast Iron Plant and some tips and tricks for treating them.
Spider mites are an unwelcome but widespread problem on houseplants, particularly in Cast Iron. Spider mite damage initially appears as little brown or yellow dots on your plant’s dark green leaves. When the infestation is severe, you might notice fine, sticky webs crawling with red bugs.
To dislodge the spider mites, begin by thoroughly washing off every nook and cranny of your Cast Iron. You will need to do this on a sink, in a tub, or outdoors. If that doesn’t work, you can use insecticidal soap, neem oil, or horticultural oil to suffocate the spider mites.
If you have several plants in your home, you should quarantine your sick plants while controlling the spider mite population.
Scale insects might appear as lumps on the stems or leaves of this very tolerant plant. These small bugs, which may be green, gray, brown, or black, usually remain sedentary once they’ve latched onto a plant.
If the infestation isn’t too severe, you can use a teaspoon of neem oil diluted in four cups of water to discourage scale insects from attacking your plant. Take a spray bottle and vigorously spritz the plant.
Neem oil and horticultural oils may not kill the pests but will undoubtedly cause some damage to them. Numerous insecticide sprays against scales are considered safe to use indoors.
Mealybugs may infest your Cast Iron. These tiny parasites weaken your plant by sucking on the sap. The honeydew that they secrete can also invite fungal diseases.
Mealybugs are visibly oval bugs that appear as cottony masses on all parts of plants. They will either stay immobile or crawl slowly.
To fight against a mealybug invasion, take a cotton swab, soak it in rubbing alcohol, and rub it over the lanceolate-shaped leaves or any affected areas of the pant. I also recommend neem oil mixed with water as a preventive spray.
Brown Leaf Tips
If you notice browning tips on the leaves of your Iron Plant, double-check on several factors.
Make sure the humidity in your home is not too low. Filter the sunlight with curtains if it’s shining too harshly on your plant. Don’t apply too much fertilizer. Let the excess water flow through the soil for several minutes to flush out excess minerals and salts.
Drooping leaves on your A. Elatior Plant can be caused by inconsistent watering, incorrect lighting, and lack of humidity. It might also help to clean your plant’s leaves with plain water and a microfiber cloth to remove the layer of dust that can interfere with photosynthesis.
Aspidistra swooning 🤩 Seeing U.K. houseplants growing outside where they love to be is so satisfying! Have you ever killed a cast iron plant?! They’re not called that for nothing lol 😂 pic.twitter.com/3tgWwtaVYr— Ellen Mary (@EllenMaryGarden) December 29, 2021
Yellowing leaves on Barroom Plant can be caused by lack of light, too much light, overwatering, underwatering, nutrient deficiency, overfertilization, recent disruption of the roots, changes in temperature and humidity, presence of pests, and many others.
If you’re confused, don’t worry! Gardening requires trial and error to figure out the ideal conditions for your plants, and even master gardeners learn new things every day.
It is usually encouraged to prune off yellowing leaves so the plant won’t waste its energy trying to “save” the leaf instead of supplying nutrients to new leaves.
Overwatering, inadequate drainage, or fungal spores on the soil can all cause root rot in plants. Root rot is difficult to treat, so it is best to take precautions.
The best way to prevent Cast Iron rot is to ensure that the root system is not consistently exposed to wet conditions. Always check for soil moisture before watering your plant. Use a chunky soil mix to allow airflow in the roots. Most importantly, use a porous pot that has drainage holes.
Similar Plants to Cast Iron Plant
Love Iron Plant? Here are some other hardy plants you should try:
Peace Lily – Similar in appearance to our Iron plant but more glamorous and not as hardy, the Peace Lily plant is another perfect house plant for indoor gardens. These attractive plants not only add brightness to a room but also do a wonderful job of purifying the air.
ZZ Plant – It has a stunning appearance, is effortless to maintain, tolerates drought, propagates easily, and filters the air around it! As long as adequate lighting is available, this plant is unquestionably a superb option for a room, such as an office area with very little natural light or even no windows.
Spider Plant – Because they are incredibly hardy and practically unkillable, they are a great choice for people with “weak green fingers.” These plants make excellent hangers in areas with moderate to low light levels, prefer to dry out between waterings completely, and generate many “spiderettes” that can be utilized for plant propagation.
Want more impossible-to-kill plants? Here’s our list of Plants that are (Almost) Impossible to Kill
The Cast Iron Plant is an excellent choice for plant enthusiasts due to its hardiness.
If you’re looking at finding an addition to your collection or are just getting started as an indoor gardener, use the tips you’ve learned from us to begin growing Cast Iron Plants today!
Help us grow! This post contains affiliate links, which means we receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something recommended. All opinions, however, are our own, and we do not accept payments for positive reviews.