Aspidistra elatior, aka Cast Iron Plant, also called the bar room plant, is a hardy perennial foliage plant native to China that grows from rhizome roots.
When any of the cast iron varieties are kept as houseplants, the plants can benefit from a good pruning every few years, in the springtime.
Aspidistra kept outdoors or planted in the landscape may need more frequent trimming because of damage caused by the elements and sometimes by deer.
In between thorough prunings, do the following:
- Trim away dead or damaged leaves or leaves that interfere with the plant’s appearance.
- Whenever you prune a Cast Iron Plant, you should trim the stems as close to the surface of the soil as possible.
- Then, remove the entire leaf and stem.
- If leaves are completely brown, you can pull them off.
How To Prune Cast Iron Plant?
As with any garden task, begin by gathering the materials you’ll need.
- Garden gloves or rubber gloves
- Very sharp pruning shears
- A bottle of bleach
- A bucket
In your bucket, combine bleach and water at a ratio of 1 part bleach and 9 parts water.
You’ll use this to sterilize your shears before you begin pruning your Cast Iron Plant.
If you are pruning more than one plant, sterilize your shears between plants.
With your gloves on, pull off any of the plant’s leaves and stems, including dead branches that are completely dead and brown. Pull out any weeds surrounding the plants as well.
Use your shears to completely cut back leaves from the iron plant stems, and branches showing any damage signs.
If a leaf has brown tips, it will not get any better.
Cut the leaf back all the way to the soil to enable the plant to use its energy to create new leaves.
Shape the plant and improve air circulation among the leaves by trimming away any branches that may crisscross in the center of the plant.
If the plant is taller or larger than you want, cut away the tallest branches.
When Is the Best Time To Prune Cast Iron Plants?
Perform this sort of thorough pruning once a year when the plant is poised to put out new growth in the springtime.
Cutting away damaged, dead and diseased limbs, stems, and leaves encourage lots of lush, new growth maintaining evergreen leaves.
If you plant your Cast Iron Plants in the landscape, they may become damaged by harsh weather or deer predation.
Brown tips on Aspidistra growing outdoors is common but if the entire plant appears brownish-yellow, it might be having too much exposure to the full sun.
Cast iron plants aren’t fond of direct sunlight and thrive in areas with complete or mostly shade.
If this happens, you can cut established plants all the way back to the ground and let them start over.
The best time to do this is in the springtime, late February to early March, but if your plants are badly damaged during the autumn, you can cut them back, mulch over them, and wait until spring.
In areas where cast iron plants can thrive outdoors as perennials, you can maintain their size by trimming them at the base as required.
Wait until April, or when the weather warms up, and they will put out new growth.
It may take the cast iron plants a while for their leaves to come back, but they will grow back.
If you cut them back in the early springtime, follow up with an application of an all-purpose fertilizer.
If you cut them back in the autumn, fertilize them when the weather warms up.
Cast Iron Plant Need
After pruning is done, you must pay extra attention to your cast iron plant care while it is recovering.
Avoid direct sun. It can scorch the leaves but provide much sunlight needed for the plant’s growth. Cast iron plants thrive the best in medium to low light.
If you live in areas with higher zones like Texas, beware of extreme temperatures.
Maintain a good watering schedule but avoid excess water, especially when kept in pots, avoiding root rot. Consider using a moisture meter to keep moist soils.
Do this regardless if you keep it as an outdoor or indoor plant.