cast iron plant /Aspidistra

merrydJune 10, 2005

I've read where this plant can be invasive and hard to get rid of. I'm going for a tropical look and thought they'ed fit in and I can get a bunch free. What are it's more favorable conditions and then the least favorable (without detracting from it's looks)? How quickly does it get out of hand? what methods have been shown to work and what hasn't.

I have an area where nothing is growing under some oaks and then some areas under a maple.

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i have never heard that aspidistra is aggressive. i think of it as slow-growing. it will grow in dry shade and i feel it looks best in shade. some plantings i have seen in full sun look bleached out.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 4:26PM
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oldblush(8a, MS)

I agree totally with jeff_al. It does not spread but the clumps just keep getting larger. I looks best grown in the shade and remove the old damaged leaves in early spring.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 6:53PM
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dallasdirt(No Dallas)

If you can get them free, you should do it. one gallons here in Dallas are selling most places for $11. Instead of being invasive, they are very slow growing. I love the tropical look they provide.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 7:26PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

In order to preserve the trees, I would plant them hole by hole rather than tilling up a large area. You will have to provide extra water to keep them going in the mat of fibrous roots.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2005 at 4:28PM
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Thanks for your replies. Maybe I can get a few suggestions.

One side of our lot is separated from our neighbor by a row of very big oaks along with a split rail fence the length of the yard. The first half is across from the garage, and unfortunately that's our 'utility' area. Unfortunatly, that neigbor has their back yard facing in our direction and we are somewhat down hill.

The oaks shade the entire space up to the house so there is no ground cover, but we have informal bushes along side the house. We have to keep the plantings within 2'-4' because we park our trailer there. Oh ya, the ground slopes down from the tree line about 2' within 8' and then pretty much levels off.
In the area past the house line I'm building a shade garden and going for the tropical look.

The question: How to create a screen that doesn't become a wall. The neighbors would like to maintain a feeling of space as we do too. I'm thinking of nandina as I can get that free also but would a mix of nandina and cast iron work? I could also incorporate a vine on a trelis but I dont know what would enhance the look as there's so much shade. A little of very early morning and late evening sun dapples in for some of the row. Also, how would I blend that thin row of bushes into a very unformal garden?

I do have on hand an eleagnus that is some what vining and has a large splotch of yellow on the leaf, and a varigated akieba. I could have them attach to some thing that would only look like they are climbing the trees because they belong to the neigbor.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2005 at 11:09PM
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Dieter2NC(z7b NC)

I planted mine in a five gallon bucket sunk into the ground, just in case I wanted to move them or did not like them, the name comes from the fact that their roots are like cast iron and very difficult to remove. I would agree that they are slow growers, I started with three stalks, about three years ago and the bucket is not full yet.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2005 at 9:05AM
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Thanks all, that makes me feel better about digging and planting them.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2005 at 10:43AM
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littlekinder(z8 DFW Tx)

I thought the name came from their hardiness! Mine sat upright and rich dark green through a thick snowfall last year - Dallas doesn't usually get anything like it and that one tropical plant standing up out there alone in the white looked hilarious!

Mine is spreading very slowly and looks so perfect it would seem to be fake! It's in dry shade.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2005 at 3:43PM
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is there any sun in this area?
i like bayberry(myrica) as an informal screen. it is not as dense as some other shrubs and can be pruned for height and width management.
since it is a native plant, it should not be very expensive.
one of our local nurseries usually has it in stock.
there is a "dwarf" form listed at this site.

Here is a link that might be useful: dodd natives

    Bookmark   June 13, 2005 at 5:49PM
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amyta(z8 mid GA)

I recently planted cast iron plant in moist shade under my steps leading up to the deck. Will it take the moisture? Also, how much sun will it take if planted elsewhere?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 5:03PM
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Giving my porch a tropical look and would like to know if anyone has had success with containerizing the cast iron plant.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 8:14AM
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moonsheller(z8b SC)

I have had one in a concrete container for several years now. It gets only rain water and has grown very slowly but looks good.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 11:56AM
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