How to Repot an Aspidistra Plant (Cast Iron Plant)


Have you ever wondered how to repot an aspidistra plant? Today, we are going to look at the steps required, as well as how often you should repot your aspidistra and what sort of soil you should use. We’ll also cover a few top tips for repotting.

When To Repot an Aspidistra Plant

The first part of knowing how to repot an aspidistra plant involves knowing what time of year you should do it. These plants are extremely sensitive to being repotted, so minimize when you do this, and maximize the sensitivity with which you do it.

This plant prefers to be repotted in the spring or in the summer. This will give you plant the best chance of growing into its new pot.

Repot an aspidistra that is quite crowded like this example

What Type of Pot Should You Use?

You want a pot that is just a little larger than the original pot. Aspidistras don’t like having their roots disturbed, so choose a pot that can take the existing rootball with minimal disturbance.

Do not move your plant into a huge pot from a small pot. There is a risk of it getting waterlogged, and it may not spread its roots properly. Instead, scale up by a few inches each time, and not more. A couple of inches bigger in terms of the diameter is usually sufficient.

The pot should have good drainage holes in it; do not use a pot with very small holes. A clay pot may also help to pull excess moisture away from the plant, so consider choosing something made of terracotta.

What’s the Best Soil Mix for Repotting?

An aspidistra plant likes good drainage, and although it is known as the cast iron plant because it is so hardy, it’s still important to try and give it good conditions.

The kind of soil that you use doesn’t matter too much, as long as it will drain well. You should choose a good quality potting mix and consider mixing a bit of sand or perlite through it to aid drainage.

Recent research has shown that a mix of sand, peat and compost gave the best results when growing aspidistras.

Do use fresh compost when you repot it. The new soil will be nutrient rich and help with growth.

How to Avoid Damaging the Plant While Repotting

The best way to repot your cast iron plant is to spread some sheets of newspaper on the floor and then gently ease it out of its pot. You may find it helps to run a spatula or a trowel around the edges of the pot first to loosen the soil.

If you are really having trouble getting your aspidistra out of its previous container, soak the soil. This should loosen it and make it easier to pull the plant free without damaging it.

Support the stems and leaves and work slowly. If your plant is very large, you might find it easier to rest the pot on its side and slowly ease the plant out of it a little at a time. Make sure you don’t put pressure on the stems, as they may snap.

Once you have the plant free, you can inspect the roots for signs of root rot. You can use a soft brush to free the roots but try not to snap any.

When lifting the plant into the new pot, make sure you support the stems and lift from the base, where they are strongest. Don’t lift the plant from the tops of its stems; they could snap.

Aftercare Once Your Aspidistra Has Been Repotted

Once your plant is in its new pot, you should put it in a place with indirect light. It prefers to be kept reasonably cool, without any sun falling straight onto the leaves. If you are concerned about sunlight, put a sheer curtain over the window to soften the sun’s rays.

Make sure you keep the soil fairly moist over the next few weeks. Your aspidistra will not enjoy being in sodden ground, but it does like to be kept damp. Whenever the soil begins to dry in the top inch of the pot, give it another drink.

This should be all that it needs. You might notice that your plant looks a little limp for a few days, as ‘transplant shock’ sets in. Your plant is liable to suffer from this any time you mess with its roots.

You don’t need to worry about this too much; it should soon perk up and start growing to fill its new pot.

There is nothing you can do to stop transplant shock, except for handling your plant as gently as possible as you repot it.

How Often Does an Aspidistra Need Repotting?

The simple answer to this is as rarely as possible, as the plant really does not enjoy being repotted. Disturbing the roots upsets the plant, and if you do it too often, the plant may die.

In general, young plants need repotting more frequently than mature ones, as they will spread their roots and grow faster. A young plant might need to be repotted once every year, while a mature plant should only be repotted once every four years, or even less frequently.

This will depend a bit on your plant and its growing conditions. An aspidistra should make it clear when it is ready to be repotted, because its roots will start to extend from the surface of the soil, and it will start drying out very readily.

Aspidistras will tolerate a certain amount of being root bound. So, only repot your plant when it really needs it, saving both you and your plant stress.

Conclusion

You now know everything you need to know about how to repot an aspidistra plant. The keys to keeping this plant happy are to minimize root disruption and only repot the plant when you absolutely have to.

Handle the plant gently when you are repotting it, and keep it cool and shaded after you have finished to avoid further stress after transplantation.

About the author 

Paul - Better Houseplants

Loves orchids and foliage houseplants. Always trying to be a better plant parent. Let's get growing!

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