Known as the Cast Iron Plant, Aspidistra elatior, is an old-fashioned plant,
slow-growing, but easy to grow. It was a popular houseplant in the Victorian
era, when homes often were dark and drafty.
Native to the Himalayas, China and Japan, where its grown as a perennial, it
lives up to its cast iron nickname, as it survives despite neglect, withstanding
drought, heat, cold, drafts, low light and even dust. In the southern United
States, Aspidistra usually is grown as a groundcover, but in our area it is
favored as a bushy houseplant, primarily for its foliage.
Aspidistra is a member of the lily family and produces long-lasting, glossy,
leathery, strap-like leaves that grow up to 24 inches in length. Its tough
evergreen leaves are its main attribute, although it may occasionally produce a
small flower near the base of the plant at soil level. The flower, which is a
dark, bronzy red and sits right on the surface of the soil, often may go
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