How to Care for and Grow Your Cast Iron Plant

Cast Iron Plant

AKA aspidistra elatior

How to care for and grow the Cast Iron Plant

Beautifully lush and tougher than nails, the Cast Iron Plant is a favorite houseplant for its deep green foliage and easy care vibes. Learn the basics of Cast Iron plant care including light requirements, watering frequency, and how to troubleshoot common problems you may encounter along the way.

Light

Cast Iron Plants thrive in dim, drafty spaces. Your plant will do just fine in bright indirect light, but keep it out of direct sunlight as it may scorch the leaves.

Water

The Cast Iron Plant likes even moisture at all times. Water it once or twice a week to maintain the soil just moist to the touch. Avoid overwatering, and note that your watering schedule may be less frequent during winter months.

Growth

The Cast Iron Plant is a slow grower, not showing too much growth over time. It will grow up to two feet tall and two to three feet wide.

Common problems with Cast Iron Plants

Leaves turning yellow on Cast Iron Plant

Leaves turning yellow or brown

If you see yellow or brown leaves on your Cast Iron Plant, the most likely cause is either waterlogged soil (while these plants like to remain evenly moist, they do not like soggy soil), or your plant is getting too much light. Avoid direct light, and make sure you are not overwatering your plant.

In the meantime, remove any damaged leaves by simply cutting with clean scissors or a blade at the base of the stem.


Brown tips

If your Cast Iron Plant has brown tips, it’s possible your plant is underwatered. While the Cast Iron is a very resilient plant, like any other greenery it will show distress if neglected for long periods of time. If you do not suspect underwatering, consider the possibility of mineral accumulation. Some areas have tap water that is too high in minerals for watering indoor plants. If this is possibly the case, try leaving a full watering can out overnight before watering your plants.

Spider mites on plants

Speckled discolored leaves

Cast Iron Plants can sometimes be susceptible to spider mites. Check the underside of the leaves to see any webbing. The spider mites themselves can be hard to see but if you shake a leaf over a sheet of paper and see small specks fall, your plant has spider mites. Don’t worry! The plant can still be saved. Follow our simple instructions for how to treat spider mites here.

 

How to maintain a beautiful and healthy Cast Iron Plant

Take care of your Cast Iron and it will take care of you! Below are simple tips to continue caring for your Cast Iron Plant over time.

How to repot Cast Iron Plant
  • Pruning - Remove dry or dead leaves all year round, but save any major pruning for the spring and summer months. When pruning your Cast Iron, use sharp, clean shears and cut any excessive growth or unwanted foliage at the base of the stem.

  • Cleaning - Take each leaf between two soft tissue cloths and wipe off the top to reveal a healthy shine. Do this at least once a month to keep away pests and help the plant soak in more light!

  • Repotting - Houseplants grow much slower than they would in the wild. Because of their slow-growing nature, Cast Iron Plants only need repotting once every three to four years.

    • When to repot - Cast Iron Plants have strong roots and will show you when it’s time! When the plant begins to “bust” out of its pot, it’s time for a new home.

    • Pot sizing - if you want your plant to grow wider, find a nursery pot that’s 2” in diameter larger than the current pot. If you want your plant to stay the same height, you can reuse the same pot and simply change the soil.

    • Get your hands dirty - spread out newspaper on the floor, remove the plant from the pot and shake off as much of the old soil as possible so that you have clean roots. Place the plant in the center of the pot, add new soil and pat down firmly. Water the soil thoroughly and place the plant in an area with bright indirect light. Your plant will take 2-4 weeks to settle from the shock and adjust to its new home.

 

How to propagate a Cast Iron Plant

Cast Irons are easy to propagate through division. Follow these instructions to propagate your Cast Iron Plant.

  • Remove from pot - Remove a mature Cast Iron from its pot (or do this when you are repotting).

  • Separate the roots - With your hands, gently separate a root cluster (rhizome) for propagation. You will need at least two or three stems growing off the root cluster you choose to propagate.

  • Place in soil - Place in a small pot with a few inches of fresh potting soil and cover with more soil to about half an inch below the rim of the pot, firmly pressing down once you’ve reached the top.

  • Keep moist - Water frequently to keep the soil just moist to the touch. After a few weeks, your plant will take root and should feel snuggly “rooted” to its pot.

Illustrations by our talented plant stylist, Kailie Barnes.


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