Aspidistra, Cast Iron Plant 'Milky Way'

Aspidistra lurida

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



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade


Grown for foliage


Good Fall Color

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors 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

Bryan, Texas

Jacksonville, Texas

Richmond, Texas

Mukilteo, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 18, 2021, Rests from Bryan, TX wrote:

When it says that it likes shade, it really means nearly all shade. Had it for a year on the north side of the house. It would get sun early in the morning and late in the afternoon. It would get sun scorched even though exposure to the sun was very early and very late in the day. Pulled it up and put it in pots on the patio where it gets maybe an hour of sun a day. It is growing very fast and crazy. Probably needs to be divided at this point. Give it mostly shade and you will be rewarded with a very full plant with very striking foliage.


On Jan 1, 2006, growin from Beautiful, 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.


On Nov 20, 2005, vossner from East Texas,
United States (Zone 8a) 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.


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.


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.


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 ligh... read more