Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Cast Iron Plant
Aspidistra lurida 'Milky Way'

Family: Asparagaceae
Genus: Aspidistra (ass-pi-DIS-truh) (Info)
Species: lurida (LEW-rid-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Milky Way
Additional cultivar information: (aka Amanogawa)

Synonym:Aspidistra kouytchensis
Synonym:Macrogyne convallariifolia

7 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade


Bloom Color:
Maroon (Purple-Brown)

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
4.5 or below (very acidic)
4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 10 photos.
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3 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive growin On Jan 1, 2006, growin from Vancouver, BC (Zone 8b) wrote:

I had divided my large plant a few years ago for my small nursery. Unfortunately a fire burned the greenhouse. The 'Milky Way' Aspidistra were on the prop tables and their pots had melted with globs of melted metal & glass on the soil. Most of the "fried" plants actually came back and have done well. This plant colours-up better in drier and poorer soil than organic-rich & wet soil. They also prefer being root-bound. The foliage is interesting and reminds me of the maps or images of atom-splitting with streaks, blips, & stars.

Positive vossner On Nov 20, 2005, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I've had this plant for one year. I suspect the desert-like summer we experienced in 2005 took a toll on my plant. Planted in morning sun, afternoon shade, inground. Slow grower.
March 2010: If planted outdoors, definitely keep plant in shady and moist location for a beautiful display, too sunny and it will look ratty. Suffered freeze burn in Winter 09/10 so I trimmed to the ground and green shoots already coming out.
Makes an absolutely wonderful indoor plant.

Neutral darylmitchell On Jun 1, 2005, darylmitchell from Saskatoon, SK (Zone 3a) wrote:

I bought this at a greenhouse in their "bargain bin" of plants which looked only marginally healthy. It was a bit scraggly, but it survived and now I keep it at work in my north-facing office. A problem I have had constantly is tip dieback... I trim off the dead part but it just keeps advancing down the leaf. I only recently tried cutting the leaf out completely, and that spurred some new growth. I've cut a few dying leaves out, and with the new growth it's looking better than ever. I'm sure that this will keep it healthy and vigourous for a long time.

Neutral brugmansialover On May 23, 2005, brugmansialover from Santa Maria, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

The only reason I am rating this experience as a Neutral is because I've had a very, very hard time finding the true Milky Way. I've bought two different plants that both looked different, at two separate times. They were supposed to be Milky Way, but come to find out a year later, they are not!

The true Milky Way has Stripes and Spots. It looks a lot like the variegated cast iron plant, but it has spots all over it, as well. So, when you go to order or buy a Milky Way, make sure it has stripes and spots. Otherwise it is the wrong plant. Overall, I love my true Milky Way, and its just amazing.

Positive TropicalLover21 On Apr 26, 2005, TropicalLover21 from Santa Maria, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

WOW!!! I cant believe I found this plant!!! I was at the garden center today, shopping for some plants (because its my 21st b-day!!). I went to this garden center I rarely go to and asked them if they get the "Milky Way" cast iron plant! They said they had never seen one, but they had a regular cast iron plant in the back.

Well, its been soooo hard for me to find Milky Way, I went back where she said, and on the table, there was a cast iron plant. I thought it was just the normal one... I was wrong!?! I looked closer and saw it has speckles all over the leaves!!! OMG, my heart stopped when I found it.. It's soooo awesome!

I re-planted it when I got it home (it was really pot bound, in a one gallon pot), and I fertilized it, too, because the leaves were light, light green (they had it in some sun there). I can't believe what a great find this is. I know it's hard to find, because I've had problems finding it, too.. I've driven three hours away, and still had no luck. What a great 21st B-Day present!!! I will remember this day forever!!!


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Beverly Hills, California
Lompoc, California
Bartow, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida
Brooksville, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Raleigh, North Carolina
Bluffton, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Lexington, South Carolina
Richmond, Texas
Mukilteo, Washington

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