I've recently just purchased some Cast Iron plants (aspidistra elatior) from an online vendor. They were shipped bare-root and I've just planted them. I intended to have two plants to go in my apartment's living room.

What I failed to realize, being somewhat new to house plants and having a brown thumb, is that while the plants shipped as two separate root balls with leaves, each root ball was actually a combination of plants. So, I think that I may have planted two or three plants (two or three root systems) in each pot. (Apparently, Cast Iron plants propagate using rhizomes; it looks as though a few of these were placed in the same package.)

I only need two plants, and I've only just completed the potting task (and I gave the plants a little water, so the soil is now wet). I wanted the plants to look full, but I don't want them to suffer. Question - will the plants survive as they are, or should I remove the plants, separate them, and repot all of them separately?


Edit: I've added a picture of one of the plants, here (Google Drive link): https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MuAyP8pupgAzyI7GVwfpMFzup58AG6bS/view?usp=sharing. (Note that when the plants arrived, some of the leaves were scorched and it looks like they were a bit bug-eaten as well. I think I got the last of the available cuttings, probably near the bottom of the main plant.)

1 Answer 1


The Cast Iron plants are slow growers, so I would leave the 2-3 plants per pot, so that it looks fuller already. It is normal to have more separate plants put together in one pot.

They are quite easy to maintain, they are pretty 'neglect' tolerant. I would just put each root ball in a separate pot, and let it adjust to its new environment. Maybe in spring see if you need to repot.

Here some care instructions. Good luck.

  • 1
    Thanks for the advice! I understand that they don't like their roots to be disturbed, but they do like to be root bound a bit. I was worried that the plants are more or less on top of each other as the pots aren't much larger than the combined root ball.
    – user20091
    Commented Oct 31, 2017 at 17:27
  • Do you have photo's of the situation?
    – benn
    Commented Oct 31, 2017 at 17:52
  • I can take a photo of the potted plant, but I'd have to remove the soil to take pictures of the roots.
    – user20091
    Commented Oct 31, 2017 at 22:08
  • If you show us a photo of the plants in the pots, we can see if they are overcrowded or not.
    – benn
    Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 9:21
  • Finally got around to this; I've edited the post to add a link to the plant and the pot. Let me know if better angles are needed.
    – user20091
    Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 20:26

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