View All Plants :: View All SHADE PERENNIALS :: View All TENDER PERENNIALS
Aspidistra elatior 'Akebono'
Cast Iron Plant
Plant Type:SHADE PERENNIALS
Aspidistra elatior ‘Akebono’ (ex: Jonathan Lehrer) – This historic Japanese selection displays a yellow central stripe, a narrow flame that lights the shaded garden. On younger plants there may be multiple irregular striations. Jonathan tells us that "these slashes may occur throughout the leaves on recently divided specimens but settle down with age along the midrib." The fine cream-yellow striping matures to creamy white. 'Akebono' which translates into "Daybreak" or "New Dawn" is a most handsome Japanese heirloom similar in look to the newer 'Lennon's Song' but with broader leaves. Site Aspidistra elatior ‘Akebono’ in shade planted in fertile draining soil. Clumping. Cast Iron Plant demonstrates drought tolerance. Division.
Zone:(7b)8 to 10
What is my hardiness zone?
Characteristics and Attributes for Aspidistra elatior 'Akebono'
Season of Interest (Foliage)
- Spring / Summer / Autumn
- Drought Tolerant
- Greenhouse / Alpine House
- Ground Cover
- Potted Plant
Growth Rate in the Garden
Genus Overview: Aspidistra
Good old-fashioned Cast-Iron Plant is resurging in popularity as the tough garden denizen it is when located in even quite dense shade down south in USDA zones 7 to 10 or as a potted plant in the north. It is also possible they may exhibit greater northern hardiness according to Professor Jonathan Lehrer (into USDA zone 6) as it re-emerges in his Long Island garden. It would be worth seeking out Jonathan's sage article, From Cast-Iron to Gilded Gold, which appeared the June, 2011 issue of American Nurseryman. But let me offer one colorful quote right here, right now: "this herbaceous perennial from Japan has long been the butt of Western insult. It debuted as a tortured container plant in the dusty, drafty parlors of Victorian England and became a maligned icon of literature and song. A forgiving character, apsidistra sought refuge at the local pub only to serve admirably potted in a spittoon." ...Very cheeky, indeed.
The blade shaped leaves are glossy to semi-glossy on tough stems. Aspidistra is virtually evergreen down south sited outdoors and certainly evergreen as a potted plant in your vestibule up north. The flowers which occur at ground level or just below are akin to wine-maroon sea anemones with the "tentacles" becoming waxy opaque whitish at the tips. Flower color may vary somewhat from this descriptive. And though the flowers are perhaps not a Cast Iron Plant's most ornamental feature, hidden or otherwise they are nevertheless cool, odd curious and even luridly beguiling - one could say their season of flowers, generally during winter, offers a fascinating "Angry Red Planet" dimension... Okay, okay - some of us are easily amused.
If grown as a house plant filtered shade to early morning sun is adequate. Full sun behind nylon (or another gauzy material) curtains is excellent. Do not over water cast iron plant. If constantly wet it will rot. Water thoroughly but never let it sit in water. In winter keep them even drier. In late winter look for new growth tips shooting up above the soil. Check for the amazing flowers at this moment. Increase water at that time. But again it is imperative as a house plant that you let the plant go dry between waterings. A moderately good but draining soil/medium is best.
There are remarkably beautiful variegated color forms available and through the generous support of Jon we are offering some. Our plants are pot-grown divisions.