How to Grow Cast Iron Plants
The cast iron plant is known for its durability, it is a tough hardy plant that can survive under just about any condition. The cast iron ( Aspidistra elatior ) or bar-room plant by which it is called is native to Japan and Taiwan, this plant has tough leathery foliage and is a popular house plant.
Cast iron is also cultivated to be grown outdoors, in some parts of the United States this plant is used as a ground cover in shaded areas. The cast iron is family to lilies and produces small purple flowers that grow near the soil’s surface and are hidden by the leaves. Even when neglected the cast iron will still thrive. For more on this hardy plant which has been widely accepted growing both commercially and in many home gardens, let’s take a closer look.
Cast iron planting location
When growing cast iron in your home garden locate an area that is shaded because direct sunlight will burn the leaves.
The soil type of cast iron
Cast iron can be grown in sandy or clay soils.
Watering your cast iron plant
Cast iron plants are drought-tolerant therefore do not overwater which can lead to root rot, allow the soil to dry out between watering before giving your cast iron another drink.
Fertilizing your cast iron plant
During the growing season spring through summer when your cast iron is actively growing feed with an all-purpose fertilizer every two weeks or once per month.
Garden insect pests of cast iron plants
Keep an eye out for these garden insect pests and treat them soon as spotted.
- Spider mites
Scale insects cause yellowing and browning of the leaves. Scales remain motionless on garden plants sucking the plant’s fluids. The use of insecticidal soap or wiping them off the plants leaves with a clean cloth dipped in soapy water will bring control.
Spider mites are tiny insects that are hard to spot, to know if your cast iron is affected by these garden insect pests look for spider webs. Another test is to hold a white sheet of paper under the leaves and shake. You will notice tiny dots moving around on the sheet of paper, you may also feel them crawling around on your hand. The use of insecticidal soap or horticultural oil will bring control.
Mealybugs are also sucking insects that do damage as scales and spider mites, mealybugs are covered with a white cottony substance and if observed moves very slowly especially when disturbed. Control measures that are listed for garden pests will bring mealybugs under control.
Disease of cast iron plants
Be on the lookout for this disease and treat soon as spotted.
- Leaf spot disease
Leaf spot disease shows up as yellowish-brownish spots, these spots may vary in color, shape, and size. To control this disease ensure that the soil is not waterlogged, allow the soil to dry out between watering, the plant’s leaves should be dry at all times, and providing good air circulation is a must. Also, the use of fungicides listed for this disease will bring control. Before using fungicides read and follow the manufacture’s directions for best results.
Where to install cast iron
1. Install cast iron plants on the interior.
2. Plant cast iron in your garden plant bed.
3. Place alongside your garden path walkway.
4. Place cast iron in containers and place the container on your porch, patio, deck, or balcony.
5. Install alongside a fenced area.
6. Plant cast iron alongside your wall.
7. install cast iron plants in containers and place the container on either side of your door entrance.
Growing cast iron in containers
When growing cast iron plants in a container the container should be large enough to accommodate your iron plant. As discussed earlier these plants are drought-tolerant so containers should have drain holes for water drainage. The soil should be soil that drains well, fill the container to about a quarter or half with the soil, remove your cast iron plant from the grower’s pot and place it in the container next backfill with soil until it reaches almost to the top or rim of the container. The container should be placed in a shaded area, maintenance procedures should be followed as mentioned above.
Growing cast iron in baskets
Cast iron can also be grown from baskets, just follow the same procedure as when growing from containers.
Growing cast iron indoors
When growing cast iron indoors place, the container in an area that gets bright indirect light because as mentioned direct light will burn the leaves. These plants can survive temperatures between 50°F-75°F. Ensure that the room has good air circulation and follow maintenance practices mentioned above.
Pruning your cast iron plant
Pruning will help your cast iron to maintain its natural form. When pruning, leaves should be removed from the base or close to the soil’s surface. Branches that are diseased, dead, discolored, or weak should be removed at this time also.
Taller branches should be removed to control size or the plant’s growth. A few inner branches or branches which grow in the middle should be removed for proper air circulation. Although pruning will help try to avoid removing too many branches because what you want is to maintain the plant’s health. The hand pruner that is used should be sharp and sterilized.
Propagating your cast iron plant
Cast iron plants are propagated by division, remove your cast iron from the container or grower’s pot and gently pull the roots apart. Remove the rhizome which has at least two leaves and repot in another pot with good potting soil, the soil should be kept warm and moist the regrowth is a long process but in time, those divisions will grow into healthy plants.
The final word on cast iron plants
The cast iron plant is so amazing, though they are slow growers these garden plants are tough and can survive under just about any condition so if you are looking for a plant that is durable and easy to care for then the cast iron is the plant for you. Join the many homeowners and take advantage of this garden beauty.