Asked on May 06, 2012

My iron plants aren't doing well. I posted about them at the end of winter, asking if I should dig them up and make them

by Louise
house plants. They were bought at Pike's in the fall and planted outside because the zone info said they'd do fine all winter. Even with the mild winter, they turned brown like you see here. I'd hoped they'd get better. They have put out some new growth, but they don't look good. I have 4 smallish plants. Should I dig them up and pot them for inside? And if so, should I cut off all of the leaves with brown on them? My front yard, where they live, is mostly shade, but does have short times during the day where there's some sun.
q my iron plants aren t doing well i posted about them at the end of winter asking if, gardening
q my iron plants aren t doing well i posted about them at the end of winter asking if, gardening
q my iron plants aren t doing well i posted about them at the end of winter asking if, gardening
q my iron plants aren t doing well i posted about them at the end of winter asking if, gardening
  10 answers
  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) on May 06, 2012
    I can't tell really well from the picture but it looks like you may have them planted too deep?

  • Louise Louise on May 06, 2012
    How can I know if they're planted too deep? Does too deep cause this reaction?

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on May 07, 2012
    Being planted too deep causes a decline. The plant should be planted so the dirt is at the same level it was in the pot. Also, it's not great to have your mulch touching the plant like that. There should be a little space around the base of the plant.

  • Erica Glasener Erica Glasener on May 07, 2012
    Louise, these plants are very hardy for Georgia gardeners but I have had periods in my garden where they got very dry and had lots of brown leaves. Morning sun would be ideal but hot afternoon sun may contribute to the spots, bleached leaves, etc. I suggest making sure they get plenty of moisture if they are getting hot afternoon sun.

  • Louise Louise on May 07, 2012
    How much is plenty of moisture? Watering every day, every week, what? Sorry, I'm not a very dedicated gardener, I fear. I like to plant things and watch them thrive without doing much. Not too good, I guess. :-( And should I dig them up and plant them higher in the ground?Should I cut off the ugly leaves? That will mean very few remain. They're certainly not pretty at the moment.

  • Erica Glasener Erica Glasener on May 07, 2012
    Louise, I don't pay much attention to mine but yes cut off the ugly leaves, and new ones should replace them. I would water them once every couple weeks, long and slow, soaking if we get no rain, just rained here in Atlanta so this week is covered. They will recover I feel certain, if it's not too much trouble take a shovel, dig up the clump and brush off some soil on the top and replant but this is only if you buried them deeper than the depth of the pot they were growing in. Hope this makes sense and helps. Some 10-10-10 or similar fertilizer may help too.

  • Barefootyardlady Barefootyardlady on Aug 14, 2013
    Since they are in the shade, I would say these look like they were planted too deep. Mine have a bit of stem (6 inches at least) before leaf. The corm (little knot like thing near the roots) is at the place where the dirt meets the air. Sometimes when you transplant cast iron plants you cut off the leaves and let the corms establish roots in the ground so that the leaves can be supported. I have actually tossed garden soil in the back yard and corms sprouted... never having been panted! I suggest you dig them up and place the corms almost on top of the ground (scrape off about an inch of soil to the side) and cover them with soil and see what happens....

  • Pam Johnston Pam Johnston on Sep 14, 2013
    I have had two cast iron plants for years...I am now down to one plant and it's trying to become a nice plant again. I have had trouble with this suppose to be easy plant. The best it has ever looked was when I lived in Chicago and had a dining room with two large nooks in the wall for something to be I put my two cast iron plants in the nooks and put a plant light above them, there was no additional lighting. They became the most beautiful plants you have ever seen, lush thick beautiful. So beautiful in fact that when we were transferred to the Ohio area the lady who bought our house wanted to buy them from me. These are suppose to be some of the easiest plants to grow but I have had trouble with them from the get go. They are suppose to be able to dry out at times and need very little light so what gives?

    • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Sep 15, 2013
      @Pam Johnston Just because something will get by with benign neglect doesn't mean it won't do better with a little TLC. The light from a north window would qualify as little light, but that's not like being in a room with no light. I don't know about the drying out claim since we grow it outside here and it's considered a good plant for wet areas.

  • Katie Price Katie Price on Nov 09, 2013
    Cast Iron plant (Aspidistra) needs very little light. Mine are planted in my landscape where they are in full shade all day and protected from cold winter wind. They seldom get fertilizer or extra water. I tried to attach photos, but no luck.

  • Louise Louise on Nov 09, 2013
    Mine don't get much sun at all. They're doing better now. Maybe being new plants, they were stressed or something.