Cast-Iron Plants Looking Rusty

Q: My cast iron plants suffered damage from the heavy freeze in December. The leaves are rusty-looking. Can I cut back the damaged ones?

A: You are not alone! Every clump of cast iron plant, also known as barroom plant, I’ve spotted looks exactly like yours. But the name ‘cast iron plant’ is not undeserved. It will grow in bright light or smoky gloom. You can water it every week or you can gallivant off to Indonesia for a month, forgetting to ask someone to water your houseplant: Aspidistra won’t care either way. It laughs at freeze damage. You can clip off rusty leaves now and wait until April to see what sprouts from the ground. If your plants were healthy at the beginning of winter, they will have plenty of reserve energy stored up to make new leaves.

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