Aspidistra elatior - Cast Iron Plant
This plant basically "earned" the name Cast Iron Plant due to it's virtually indestructible nature. Native to both China and Japan, Aspidistra elatior is seemingly un-phased by less than desirable soil conditions, wide ranges of moisture, and love for low light conditions. Will grow to form a nice thick groundcover of lanceolate foliage that is very dark green......reaching an eventual height of up to 2 1/2 feet. Each individual leaf is almost blade shaped, up to 4" - 5" wide at the widest point.
Very small insignificant pale purple flowers form close to the soil level in early spring, but nothing to write home about......and only occurs if planted outdoors ( Cast Iron Plant is also used as an indoor house plant ) in optimum conditions & location. As mentioned, we have seen Aspidistra used for everything from a great, dense groundcover or border along extremely shady areas, to indoor house plant, even in terrariums!!
We specifically grow ours outdoors, and with the intention of them being used for outdoor landscape applications - either as groundcover, nice borders around the base of larger trees, along walkways, or even for outdoor patio container gardening. However you choose to utilize this plant, you'll love the fact that it is pretty much completely maintenance free - no trimming, no pruning, it's so thick at maturity there's not even a weeding problem, lol. Awesome, and unique ground cover that's perfect for shady spots.
Plant Facts & Specifications--Mature Height : 20" - 30"
--Mature Width : 20" - 30"
--Growth Rate : Slow to moderate ( 4" - 8" avg per yr )
--Hardiness Zones : 7 - 10
--Sun Exposure : Partial shade to full shade - leaves will tend to scorch in full sun locations.
--Soil Preference :
Average with good peat content is preferred - well drained. But will adapt to an amazingly wide range of soil types.
--Foliage Color & Texture :
Evergreen - heavy textured, thick lanceolate blade shaped foliage is extremely dark green on color all season
--Flower, Cone, Or Berry Facts :
Flowers - small inconspicuous light purple / lavender flowers appear in early spring on the lower portions of this plant closer to the soil level. But trust me.......nothing to write home about, or anxiously wait on, lol. This plant is definitely grown for it's wonderfully thick foliage, and easy, no maintenance characteristics.
--Diseases / Insects :
None to mention. Occasionally check for mites or scale.
--Recommended Spacing : 12" - 14" apart recommended for most typical groundcoverings
--Deer Resistance Rating : Lowest Resistance [ 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 ] Highest Resistance
--Fertilization / Feeding :
For maximum health & hardiness, we highly recommend a good grade granular ( preferably organic ) fertilizer / plant food for use with all of our plant species. We personally use, and recommend the Espoma line of organic plant foods, as they are super effective yet gentle enough to use on even the most delicate of evergreen species where fertilizer burn would normally be a major concern. However, a water soluble type plant food (Miracle Gro, or equivalent ) are also acceptable options. Other granular fertilizers with a 6 - 12 - 12, or 10 - 10 - 10 ratio can also be used - but we suggest using them at 1/2 - 3/4 strength to avoid any chemical burn issues to the root system of the plants. Best to fertilize in early spring, and again in mid fall - avoid feeding standard chemical fertilizers during hot summer months, and directly after transplanting. The Espoma Organic Plant Foods may be used at anytime.
Prior to shipping, your plant(s) are removed from their pots and any loose, unnecessary soil removed. The root base of the plant is then misted down with water and put in a plastic bag. The plastic bag serves to keep the root base nice & moist while keeping the remaining soil with the roots. The bag is then secured with a twist tie around the plant's base and placed in the shipping container/box and sent out for shipment. We use various methods to secure the plant within the shipping box so that it does not move / shift during transit. The result is a plant that arrives to you in excellent condition, and whose root system is protected and in tact, while the rest of the plant is able to "breathe". We have found this method to be much less stressful on the plant than shipping bare root. True, bare root shipping weighs less, and may cost a few pennies less - but we think you will find our shipping costs to be quite reasonable when compared to other nurseries. And bottom line is we want you to have the healthiest plant possible when it arrives at your doorstep. Feel free to contact us regarding any shipping questions - whether regarding rates, methods of packing, or whatever else you may want to know about getting plants from us to you. We will always be more than happy to take the time to answer your questions.
SPECIAL SHIPPING NEEDS / REQUESTS
We ship the majority of our evergreen varieties year round, and will be glad to try to accommodate whatever special shipping needs or requests that our customers may have & need. If there are special circumstances involved with your order, please feel free to e-mail us anytime to let us know what would work best for you. We can then work with you to ensure that your order is delivered at the best time for your particular situation or schedule. Obviously, the well being of the plants always comes first, but we will be more than happy to do our very best to arrange shipping & delivery to best suit your needs - just let us know !!!
SHIPPING / ORDERING PROCEDURES
We have checked out several shipping methods, and have chosen FedEx as our exclusive method of shipment. FedEx has the advantage of nationwide coverage, very reasonable rates, and they ship 7 DAYS A WEEK. Your shopping cart on our website is automatically equipped with a built-in FedEx shipping cost calculator that will figure your shipping cost for you based on the shipping info you enter and the items you have placed in your shopping cart. All you do is fill out the shipping address info and we do the rest. All this is done before your order is submitted. So you can see the all the charges before you actually order. Once again - no surprises. Then just submit your order when satisfied, and we'll take it from there. You will receive an order confirmation e-mail usually with 24 hrs, and a shipping confirmation e-mail once FedEx has picked up your order. Your shipping confirmation e-mail will include a link from which you can track the progress of your package. All tracking information is provided straight from FedEx, and is real time.
Orders are usually packed & shipped in just a matter of a couple days after receiving them. You can almost always expect your order to be shipped out within 3 - 5 business days, with exceptions being during holiday periods ( no FedEx service ), or times of extremely high order volume ( peak ordering, mainly in spring ). We try to ship all orders out in the order that they are received.
Occasionally, there may be severe, or extreme weather conditions that may prevent us from shipping orders out at our normal times. These times are extremely rare, but we really have no control over the type of weather that Mother Nature can dish out. But rest assured, we make every effort to get your order out as quickly as possible, and with the safety & well being of your plants as the highest priority. Please feel free to contact us via e-mail at anytime should you have special shipping needs, or requests, and we will be more than happy to do our very best to accommodate whatever would work best for your particular situation.
SHIPPING TRANSIT TIMES - FedEx Ground/Home Delivery Service
Below is a chart to help you determine the number of days your order would be in transit with FedEx. We make every effort to minimize the amount of time your order is in transit, and generally try to ship orders with the longest transit times first. One of the main reasons we chose to use FedEx was the fact that they deliver all 7 days of the week, meaning your plants will have the least amount of transit time and no "weekending over", which is a HUGE benefit.
Transit times, and shipping times will vary somewhat during peak ordering seasons, and delivery routes in your particular area. FedEx Ground/Home Delivery Service offers delivery in many parts of the country 7 days a week, which is an excellent feature not offered by most other parcel services. But we have found that FedEx Ground/Home Delivery Service is by far the most popular, and most economical.
SHIPPING TRANSIT TIMES - FedEx Ground/Home Delivery Service
read these planting instructions before planting your new plants. As
you will notice, your plants still have a major amount of the dirt they
were grown in still attached to their root systems. This is done to
minimize any transplant shock, as well as to keep the plants root system
from any damage due to drying out, or other damage that can occur with
shipping plants “bare root”.
Keep your new plants in the bag they
arrived in & the roots with the soil moist until you are ready to
actually plant them. We suggest you plant them as soon as possible -
their new home in the ground is better for them than their temporary
home in the shipping bag. If you need to store / keep your plants for a
short period of time until you can get them planted in the ground, then
please follow the following guidelines for temporary storage of your new
--- Remove plants from their box, and stand upright in a sheltered location.
Do NOT place the plants in direct sunlight while still in their plastic
shipping bags. This will cause the temperature inside the plastic bag
to get extremely warm - similar to “greenhouse effect”.
--- Store the
plants either inside, in a garage area, covered porch / patio, etc.
Preferably where they get some indirect, filtered sunlight - but nothing
--- There is usually enough moisture retained in the
rootball & surrounding soil to last for several days ( 3 - 5 ). After
this period of time, you will need to check the moisture content of the
soil, and water very lightly if needed.
--- To water your plant while
still in their plastic shipping bag, simply loosen the twist tie at the
base of the plant & lightly moisten the soil & rootball by
sprinkling water onto the soil, or even using a clean spray mist bottle.
Should you accidentally add too much water to the rootball, you can
simply cut 2 or 3 small slits in the bottom of the plastic shipping bag
--- Following these fairly simple guidelines will allow
you to temporarily keep / store your new plants for a more extended
period of time until planting in the ground can be accomplished ( up to
3 - 4 weeks ). Any period of time beyond this 3 - 4 week period, we highly
suggest that you temporarily pot the new plants up in containers until
planting can be completed.
suggest that you dig the hole for the plant at least twice the size of
the root system of the plant. Depending upon the quality of your native
soil, we recommend using a 50/50 mix of a good grade topsoil or organic
compost and your native soil to backfill around the root system of your
new plant. This will make the adjustment to your soil, which is bound to
be somewhat different than the soil the plant has been grown in, as
gradual as possible. It will also help the new feeler roots to spread
through the looser soil around them much more easily than is the soil
was hard, and compacted. The most common causes of a plant not making it
through a transplant is the lack of root development after
transplanting, and lack of water/moisture.
After backfilling the hole with your 50/50 mix of soil, give the
plant a good deep watering - don’t make it swampy, just good & moist
throughout the entire depth of the hole. Then check on your plant every
day, or every other day to monitor the moisture in the soil around the
plant. Do this for the first couple weeks if possible..
We also highly recommend a top dressing around the base of the plant
using hardwood or cypress mulch. Any type of mulch will be sufficient,
but hardwood and cypress mulches are of a higher quality and have a
better nutritive value for the plant. Basically meaning that as it
breaks down over time, it has more organic compounds which your plants
will feed on as organic food sources than most other mulches ( pine ).
Freshen up the mulch twice a year (early spring & fall).
We do not generally recommend using fertilizers on a regular basis,
and especially not right after transplanting. This may sound a little
strange, but after transplanting, the root system of the plant is most
vulnerable to getting “burned” by too much, or too strong of
fertilizers. If you really feel you would like to give it some sort of
fertilizer/plant food as a little “boost” after transplanting - then we
recommend a very weak dilution of original Miracle Gro, or similar
product. Either a water soluble type, or a granular product ( such as
Holly Tone ) can be used effectively. Be especially careful with Firs,
Spruces, and most other conifers & evergreen species. They are among
the most sensitive to root damage from fertilizer burn. We strongly
recommend using fertilizers at a weaker dilution / application than the
manufacturer states ( 1/2½ - 3/4¾ strength ). We also recommend that
fertilizing / feeding be avoided COMPLETELY during the hot summer months
( late June thru August ) - the risk of fertilizer burn are greatest
during this time of year.
Freshen up both the mulch, as well as apply any desired fertilizers /
plant foods twice per year - once in very early spring, and again in mid
Please feel free to contact us with any other questions you may have : email@example.com