Cast iron makes a return

We now have so many aspidistra (cast iron plants), that there is at least one species flowering virtually every month of the year. Winter still has the most flowering species, and here are a few that are currently blooming in our collection. Most folks don't see the flowers because they either don't know to look or plant their plants too deep, so the flowers form underground. We like to snip off some of the oldest leaves for a better floral show. Aspidistra fungilliformis 'China Star' is a Chinese collection from Jim Waddick Aspidistra tonkinensis is a Dylan Hannon collection from Vietnam...not enough to share yet, but soon. Aspidistra sp. nov. is an Alan Galloway collection from Vietnam.  We thought this was Aspidistra lutea, but we now think it may be a new undescribed species. This one offsets slow, so it may be a couple of years before we can share...hopefully by then we can get this named. Aspidistra vietnamensis...a Japanese selection. Most of the plants in the trade Read more [...]

Cast Iron Tough

Now that winter is giving us a sneak preview of what's in store for the next few months,  the evergreen plants in the garden are really starting to shine without all those pesky deciduous perennials. Aspidistra, or cast iron plants, are one of our favorites, and they really look so good in the garden now. Many folks in more northern climates are relegated to container culture, but for those of us in Zone 7b and south, they are amazing perennials.  Aspidistra ebianensis 'Flowing Fountains' should be in all shade gardens where the climate allows. He's our nine year old clump this month, now 2' tall x 6' wide. Aspidistra retusa 'Nanjing Green' is a smaller clump with a different form. And here is a photo of Aspidistra elatior 'Asahi' from the garden last week.  We've also grown quite a few aspidistra from seed to see what kind of new forms might arise. Below are some photos of some of our 2 year old offspring. Like hostas, variegation in aspidistra arises from Read more [...]