Aspidistra truning yellow......

leeward46February 1, 2009

starting at the tip and gradually taking over the whole leaf.


I keep it on the dry side, out of direct sun/drafts and water only with non chlorinated water. Have not fed since I acquired it in September. It's potted in regular houseplant soil.

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Leeward, you are doing what every houseplant owner does for the average plant....but unfortunately, some are different.

The Cast Iron Plant (aspidistra) can tolerate variety of conditions but some are important.
You let the plant dry down---ugh, ugh, Aspidistra likes it moist and higher humidity than most plants.
It also prefers cooler nighttime temperatures---too high it can cause exactly what yours is experiencing...yellowing leaves.
It can take light as you give it...from bright, but not direct, to deeper shade. But it should'n't be given changes abruptly. That is, it can take an eastern or close to the light northern exposure but not one taken from bright to dark...or dark to bright quickly. Let it adapt slowly to any change.
Keep the plant out of drafts from either a door opened often, or in direct path of air from ....say a heat vent.

When you water, water to drainage, allow full drainage, and dump the excess after 10 or so minutes.

You point out you use non-chlorinated water. That might bring up a few questions.
The source of this water; from a tap that is allowed to gain room temperature overnight; water from a tap that is on a softening system, water from a bottle, or distilled water, or just a regular tap water that comes from community water that is not chlorinated.
(your children are missing out on good dental protection if so)

Let water sit overnight to lose some of the fluoridation; or do not use water that is on a softening system.
Snow melt or water obtained from a tap not on such system should be used.
The water should not be so cold...plants can get stressed from such temperature.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 3:42PM
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karen715(z5 IL)

I let my aspidistras get quite dry before watering; it doesn't seem to bother them much. Overwatering is more likely to cause yellowing. Aspidistras are often attacked by spider mites--which can cause tip death and yellowing. Check the underside of the leaves for them. Spider mites are barely visible pests. If you can't see them, an alternate test for them is to feel the leaves; if you have mites, the undersides will feel gritty.

Jeannie, in this post and several others, you seem to have trouble keeping fluoride and chlorine straight. Water does not lose fluoride overnight. I repeat: Fluoride in water does not evaporate.

Chlorine in water does evaporate, however, it has nothing to do with dental health.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 4:59PM
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Karen, my apologies, I had read something about dracaena is one plant that is affected by such fluoridation...and that IS the case. But, you are right, further reading does correct my assertions, fluoride does not escape in any manner from such overnight sitting.

But, it IS still the best way to avoid stress from whatever might be in the water and its temperature.
Where dracaena is mentioned, it can be affected by such fluoridation and other sources of water is recommended in some cases.
In cases where potting soil might contain perlite that has such concentrations of fluoride, it should be looked at prior to putting the plant into.

Sometimes its easy to read a particular comment about dangers faced by houseplants and read into it that it is always the case. In trying to not let our plants suffer any indignation, we believe most what we are told by the experts. The use of fluoride from water in our taps is such misconception from many circles; not just from me.
I just happened to believe the first reference to such danger and wish to pass it along.
In future, I will refrain from such reference.

Thank you for bringing this error to my attention. should learn something new every day and benefit from it.

Did you hear about the two guys who were swimming in the woods. One sighted a bear and passed the information to his friend. They quickly left the water and one stopped to put on his shoes.

"What are you bothering about your shoes for, any bear can outrun us", the one said.

"Ah, but all I have to do, the other one answered, is to outrun you".

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 9:42PM
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Thanks all....
No sign of spider mites (thank heavens) I plan to gradually get it into a brighter spot and water more water is chlorinated I just let it sit for a few days before I water the plants.
Somehow I always envisioned the plant forgotten but thriving in a dark corner of some English home in the 1890's.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 9:55AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Jeannie, fluoridated water CAN cause problems for some sensitive've been getting that part right. What is incorrect is that it does not evaporate from the water when left overnight. Chlorine, however, DOES.

The best advice for those with fluoridated water is to use bottled water, rainwater, etc, as you've suggested.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 4:46PM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

I used to have an aspidistra too. The legend is that they are easy. The truth is that they were easy in Victorian times, when were kept in cold parlors. Our "overheated" modern homes are not as good of an environment for them.

Mine reacted similarly to yours. I eventually did find spider mites and threw it out.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 10:12PM
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leeward46, yellowing, like you describe it, occurs with over-watering or spider mites on the Aspidistra. (In my limited experience). From what you say, over watering may be ruled out. That leaves the spider mite. They are easy to miss. Dampen a paper towel and squirt a little liquid-soap on it and rub it in lightly. Firmly wipe the underside of the affected leaves and if the tissue is discolored yellow, then spider mites are present.
There is a yellowing symptom on Aspidistra that I am still working on. The leaf starts yellowing along one margin and spreads towards the midrib and stops! One half of the leaf remains green.
Any ideas?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 1:18PM
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My mother gave me some clumps of her Aspidistra last year when I bought my first house. She has moved them from house to house (3x) when we moved. Last year our Aspidistra did well, this year, they are pale yellow. We are in Austin and having a drought the may make history. It is close to the 1950's drought here. Today, we had rain. About 1 inch. First rain in about 2 months. I'm going to see if the rain water, which has nitrogen and other good things makes a difference in mine, and hers. This is the first time either one of us have seen them pale yellow. Mom is in her 70s, I'm 40s. If this rain doesn't green them up, I will get the plain drinking water that does not contain chlorine and add some nitrogen fertilizer.

I have also read that Aspidistra are pretty pest resistent so I'm banking on the drought and only having watered with city (chlorinated) water for the pale yellow leaves. I sure hope they come back because I love them and want a new crop for different areas.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 10:38PM
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