Aspidistra elatior – Indoor House Plants

Aspidistra elatior

Aspidistra elatior plant grows slowly in a clump of 6-inch (15 cm) stems with glossy, dark-green leaves growing 24 inches (60 cm) long and 4 inches (10 cm) wide. Small, unattractive, purplish-brown flowers may appear at the plant’s base in spring. But, don’t expect them. Flowers don’t appear often, and they’re hardly noticeable. Aspidistra” is Greek for “small round shield” and refers to the shape of the flower’s stigma. The species name “elatior” means “taller,” in reference to the plant’s lengthy leaves. The “iron” in the common names suggests A. elatior’s hardiness, and the label “barroom plant” comes from Victorian times and the plant’s ability to withstand the dark and smoky air of taverns.

Scientific name: Aspidistra elatior
Common name: Cast-iron plant, Iron plant, Bar room plant

Aspidistra elatior

How to grow and maintain Aspidistra elatior :


Aspidistra elatior (Cast-iron plants) can tolerate low light levels although more light will result in a fuller plant. The ‘Variegata’ variety requires brighter light to maintain its striping. Avoid direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves.


Water sparingly, and don’t allow the plants to sit in standing water. Cast-iron plants can survive some underwatering if the temperature is not too high, but they suffer with overwatering.


Average indoor temperatures around 70 F are ideal. Do not keep the plants at temperatures below 55 F. In mild climates, the plants can be moved outdoors
in the summer.


Dry air won’t harm this plant. Wash the leaves occasionally.


Feed with a diluted fertilizer once a month.


Aspidistra elatior is most easily propagated by division. Cut away a vigorous section of rhizome which has an actively growing tip. Alternatively, dig an entire clump and divide it by pulling apart or cutting with a sharp knife. Plant the divisions in a freshly prepared bed or container.

Last updated on March 7th, 2017

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