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Common Name:

Cast Iron Plant

Scientific Name:

Aspidistra elatior

Family Name:



Cast Iron Plant is an extremely tough shade groundcover or interiorscape plant. The bold coarse textured 1 ft to 2 ft leaves arise directly from underground rhizomes. Very tropical in appearance.

Plant Habit or Use:

Perennial, groundcover, interiorscape


partial sun, shade

Flower Color:

Purplish-brown, not ornamental

Blooming Period:

Spring, summer

Fruit Characteristics:

Not ornamental


1 ft to 2.5 ft


indefinite, slow spreading groundcover

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: Medium Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Medium Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Medium Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: High Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Medium Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

USDA Hardiness Zones:

7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Very tough durable plant as long as it is not used in full sun. Can tolerate incredible levels of shading, hence useful in interiorscaping. Somewhat slow to cover, plant closely if a solid fill is needed soon after planting.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.