Monday, November 9, 2009

Plant Pest: Cast-Iron Plant Scale

Cast-Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior) is one of those plants that you don't expect to have any problems. It can grow in areas of deep shade, drought and poor soils, filling a very specific niche in the garden.

Over the last couple of years, I have seen an increase of scale on this species- both in nurseries and landscapes. And it seems to reproduce and establish quickly. This brown insect covers the leaves like braille and is easily detected.

Don't use Horticultural Oil on Cast-Iron plant because it can be absorbed by the leaves and result in a water-soaked mottling.

The best management is to remove any leaves that have scale.


  1. And could you use a systemic on the cast iron plant? I have found that it gets very ugly like this if it gets any sun whatsoever, here. As long as it is in total shade, it is usually pretty.

    I had some that we had dug from a clients bed, and stuck in plastic mulch beds for convenience, until we could do something with them. Somehow, they got forgotten, things got thrown over them, or whatever. When we cleaned that area up, 3 years later, that cast iron plant was pretty as could be. I was just amazed.

  2. Systemics would work on this pest.

    Use a product that contains imidicloprid help clear clear up the infestation. Remove the badly infested leaves first, then apply the insecticide.

    They're a tough plant!



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