I've had this plant for a while and lately it's been getting really brown and crispy tips. The problem is that I don't know what species it is so I can't search for what it needs.

Does anybody know?

picture of the plant to be identified

3 Answers 3


This plant is an Aspidastra elatior, a native of Taiwan, which has been in cultivation as an indoor plant for hundreds of years. Common names include the cast iron plant which describes how tough it is. It can be grown outdoors in tropical climates where it might produce a maroon flower.

You can grow this plant in very low light, low humidity and not much care but it does better if given more daylight from almost any exposure. If a hot southern window is chosen then a regular inspection for spider mites on the underside of the leaves is advised. This is only pest I have ever seen on this plant.

More light and top up the pot with some fresh potting soil is about all this plant needs.

  • Fantastic! Thanks so much for this info. I'll move it to the window sill and lift the blinds a little. Thanks again.
    – Christian
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 10:05
  • 1
    The can flower quite regularly indoors in pots as well. All the flowers I've seen on indoor Aspidistras appear with the top of the flower "bell" level with the soil and the rest of the flower "in" the soil - you can't see underground flower buds until they actually open! Don't worry too much about brown leaf tips. We have some that have looked like your photo for at last 50 years, and they aren't dead yet!
    – alephzero
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 13:05
  • I agree, that's a cast iron plant. Brown tips can be low humidity, or water stress ( too little water from over or under watering ) Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 2:10

It could be water stress.

What is your watering frequency?

I would strongly recommend only water (thoroughly) when the soil is almost dry, and flush the pot (every few months) with plenty of water to prevent minerals build up from the watering.

  • I don't really have a watering frequency. I water it whenever I think of it but the pot is a self watering one so I just make sure there is water in it.
    – Christian
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 9:47
  • How does your self watering system work? Try to increase the duration in between watering if you have to use it. Browning of leaf tips is a sign of water/mineral stress, less of sunlight issue, given that of Cast Iron plant's light requirement :)
    – Yennie
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 12:56
  • Its very simple, its a tray under the plant but built into the pot. You just fill that tray up and it gets sucked up into the soil automatically by the plant.
    – Christian
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 23:59

That looks like a peace lily, but the leaves are different. They're also common house plants.

This shows the difference: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ee/Spathiphyllum_commutatum_Miquel.jpg/800px-Spathiphyllum_commutatum_Miquel.jpg

  • Thanks David. I have several peace Lilys and while similar, this is quite different. Particularly in its leaf stems being unique to each leaf and not shared.
    – Christian
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 21:40
  • A spathiphyllum leaf has a central vein with secondary veins that come off at a 45 degree angle. The aspidastra has parallel veins. Also the Spathiphyllum has leaves that grow from an above ground node whereas the aspidastra has leaves that come from the soil in single leaves.
    – kevinskio
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 13:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.