Low Maintenance, Hard to Kill

Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)

November 7, 2016

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With a name like cast iron you know it has to be a rugged plant that is easy for new, busy and casual gardeners to grow.

This lesser known plant has been grown in North America for over 100 years. It was popular during Victorian times where it often occupied a space in the parlor. Southern gardeners use this outdoors as a ground cover in dry shady locations.

It’s also called saloon plant because it tolerated the dim light of bar rooms in the past.

Grow this plant in medium to low light indoors. Water thoroughly whenever the soil is dry.  Only fertilize actively growing plants in need of a nutrient boost. The large flat leaves benefit from an occasional cleaning. Wipe off any dust with a damp cloth several times a year.

Harvest a few leaves to use in flower arrangements. They’ll last longer than many cut flowers.

A bit more information: The biggest challenge will be finding a plant. Check with garden centers that sell a wide range of indoor plants or order online.  And while looking consider purchasing the dwarf variety ‘Milky May’ with black and green leaves and white spots.

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