Well-known for its toughness and durability, the Aspidistra was given its common name of Cast-iron Plant by the Victorians. They valued its ability to tolerate gas, a recent introduction to homes that killed many other indoor plants grown at the time. With the current fashion for some of the older styles of interior furnishing and decoration, the Aspidistra is enjoying a moderate comeback in popularity. It makes an ideal subject for less well-lit positions, although the key to presenting and displaying the plant well lies in finding the right type of container or pot. For a little more colour the variegated form, A. e. ‘Variegata’, can be grown, but this plant requires more light to promote the variegation.

Plant type : Foliage plant with somewhat loose, untidy habit
Season of interest : All year round
Size : 30-60cm (12—24in)
Flower : Uninteresting, purple, at base ot plant in late summer
Leaf : Broad, slightly ribbed, spear-shaped, 30-45cm (12—18in) long, 7.5-10cm (3—4in) wide
Temperature : 10-20°C (50—68°F)
Aspect/Light : Low to moderate light
Humidity : Tolerant of moderately dry atmosphere
Watering : Evenly moisten compost all year round, allowing to get on the dry side before re-watering
Feeding : Once every four weeks with houseplant fertilizer in spring and summer
Propagation : Separate rhizomes mid spring to early summer and pot them singly or in groups at 18-20°C (65 — 68°F) in houseplant potting compost
Potting : Houseplant potting compost
Problems : Mealy bug, root mealy bug
Availability : Occasionally available throughout the year
Uses indoors : Good plant for relatively poorly lit position on table, desk or in north facing window; display plant in unusual pot to make best of both plant and pot
Other varieties : A. e. 'Variegata' - cream and green variegated foliage