Updated: April 14, 2022

If you’re looking for a plant that can survive almost any condition, then look no further than the cast iron plant. As its name suggests, this plant is tough and resilient, making it perfect for those who have a busy lifestyle or are new to gardening.

One of the most important factors in successfully growing a cast iron plant is choosing the right type of soil. In this article, we’ll explore what makes a good cast iron plant soil and how to choose the right type for your plant.

What is a Cast Iron Plant?

Before we dive into the specifics of soil requirements, let’s take a quick look at what a cast iron plant is. The cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior) is an evergreen perennial that is native to China and Japan. It has dark green, glossy leaves that can grow up to 2 feet long and 4 inches wide. The plant is named after its ability to withstand neglect and tough conditions, much like a cast iron skillet.

What Makes a Good Cast Iron Plant Soil?

A good cast iron plant soil needs to provide three main things: good drainage, moisture retention, and nutrients.

Good drainage is essential because cast iron plants do not like wet feet. Their roots will rot if they are left in standing water for too long. Moisture retention is also important because cast iron plants do not like to dry out completely between waterings. Finally, nutrients are needed to keep the plant healthy and growing.

Types of Cast Iron Plant Soil

There are several types of soil that can be used for cast iron plants. Here are some of the most common:

Peat-Based Potting Mix

Peat-based potting mixes are made from sphagnum peat moss and other organic materials such as perlite or vermiculite. They have good moisture retention and are lightweight, making them easy to work with. However, they do not provide as much drainage as other types of soil.

Coir-Based Potting Mix

Coir-based potting mixes are similar to peat-based mixes but are made from coconut coir instead of sphagnum peat moss. They have good moisture retention and are also lightweight, but they provide better drainage than peat-based mixes.

Cactus Soil

Cactus soil is a fast-draining mix that is made from sand, perlite, and other coarse materials. It provides excellent drainage but does not retain moisture as well as other types of soil. If you live in an area with high humidity, this may not be the best choice for your cast iron plant.

Soilless Mix

Soilless mixes are made from a combination of peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite. They provide good moisture retention and drainage, making them a good all-purpose soil for cast iron plants.

Choosing the Right Soil for Your Cast Iron Plant

When choosing the right soil for your cast iron plant, it’s important to consider the specific needs of your plant. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • If you tend to overwater your plants, choose a soil with good drainage like cactus soil or a coir-based potting mix.
  • If you live in an area with low humidity or tend to forget to water your plants, choose a soil with good moisture retention like a peat-based potting mix.
  • If you want an all-purpose soil that will work well in most conditions, choose a soilless mix.


How often should I water my cast iron plant?

Cast iron plants do not like to dry out completely between waterings. Water your plant once per week, or when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.

Can I use regular garden soil for my cast iron plant?

Regular garden soil is not recommended for cast iron plants because it does not provide good drainage. Use a soil that is specifically formulated for container gardening.

How often should I fertilize my cast iron plant?

Fertilize your cast iron plant once per month during the growing season (spring and summer). Use a balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10, to provide the plant with the nutrients it needs.

Can cast iron plants be grown outdoors?

Cast iron plants can be grown outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 7b-11. They prefer partial to full shade and well-drained soil.