The relatively undemanding plant was very popular 100 to 150 years ago. It is the only Aspidistra that is cultivated as a houseplant. The formerly widespread use of the shoemaker palm as a houseplant was mainly due to its easy care. It often stood on the window frames of workshops or in the shop windows of cobblers and butchers (butcher’s palm) as well as on the shop counter, hence its somewhat unusual name.


The lush, wide leaves of the cobbler palm are very fleshy and have elongated grooves. The leaf color is dark green and the surface is very leathery. In the less common subspecies Aspidistra Variegata, the leaves have white or cream longitudinal stripes. New leaves form out of plant center. They grow on stalks, which are hardly visible due to the dense, cup-shaped growth. The leaves of the cobbler palm can grow up to 55 cm long. Flowering can also occur in older plants. The flowers appear near the ground and are therefore mostly covered by the leaves. The petals are small and inconspicuous. They have a brown-purple to crimson color. The small spherical to egg-shaped fruits usually contain only a single seed.


The cobbler palm can look really attractive with good care. Although the plant is very undemanding and is not harmed by little light, dry air or drafts, it is very grateful for good care. The only thing a cobbler palm dislikes and can be detrimental to its health is if it is watered too much. Their roots must not stand in the water, otherwise they will quickly begin to rot. It is therefore advisable to check the saucer again half an hour after watering. If water has accumulated, it must be poured off.

Because the leaves of the shoemaker’s palm are very wide, it often happens that they get dusty. While the dust is hardly harmful to the plant, it can contribute to ugly spots forming on the leaf surfaces. It is therefore advisable to frequently remove dust from the leaves of the cobbler palm with a soft sponge so that it regains its natural shiny shimmer.


The repotting of the shoemaker palm is only very rarely necessary. It only becomes necessary when the earth is completely rooted. This is usually the case every three to four years. A cobbler palm thrives best when allowed to grow undisturbed. It is therefore sufficient to repot them only every five years. The best time for transplanting is spring.

The propagation of the cobbler palm

A cobbler palm can be propagated by division. This can easily take place when repotting. The only thing you have to make sure of is that there are at least two leaves on each of the individual root parts. Several sections of a root can be planted in the same container. The rhizomes are not placed very deep in the pot and only half covered with soil. The right time for dividing the rhizomes (root balls) is early spring. Freshly divided plants should not be fertilized at the beginning, as this can lead to disturbances in the formation of new roots.


Commercial soil for flowers or potted plants can be used for a cobbler’s palm. Gravel or shards of clay in the bottom of the planter ensure good water drainage and ensure that waterlogging does not occur so quickly.

The appropriate location

In general, the cobbler palm is very undemanding. The potted plant thrives in almost any location. It even grows in darker corners where sunlight doesn’t penetrate. The plant tolerates dry heating air and sudden temperature changes or draughts. That is why a cobbler’s palm is the ideal plant for the hallway or stairwell. It grows both at lower temperatures of around 12 °C and at heating temperatures of 28 °C. However, there are site conditions that a shoemaker palm is particularly fond of. It thrives particularly well in partially shaded locations and on north-facing windows at around 20 °C. In the warmer seasons, a cobbler’s palm can stand on balconies or terraces. However, direct sunlight is less in demand. However, the white-striped variety needs a little more light, than the unstriped. Young plants should be in a warmer, draft-free place.


The rootstock of the cobbler palm is only thinly covered with soil and usually even sticks out a little at the top. This way you can see if it is evenly moist. A cobbler’s palm is not only watered sparingly during the winter, but throughout the year. It’s just a matter of keeping the root ball moist at all times. If you feel dryness on the rootstock protruding from the ground, some water can be given. However, it may happen that the top 2/3 of the dry off before new water is given again. If the root ball is too waterlogged, brown spots can form on the leaves of the cobbler palm.

Fertilizer and nutrient requirements

The cobbler palm requires only a few nutrients, but gives thanks with shiny, lush green leaves if it is fertilized regularly. The plant has its growing season in spring and summer. Then every 14 days you can give her some commercially available liquid fertilizer of medium concentration for potted plants or for green plants. However, it is sufficient to add half of the amount indicated on the bottle to the irrigation water. If the leaves of the cobbler’s palm tear lengthwise, it can be a sign of overfeeding.


No special precautions are necessary to hibernate the cobbler palm. It can remain in its location in the hallway or stairwell or on a north-facing window all year round. Only if it is on the balcony or terrace should it be brought in in autumn, before the outside temperature drops below 7 °C. Indoors, the plant only needs temperatures between 10 and 12 °C in winter, while slightly higher values ​​won’t hurt either. The leaves can be dusted and sprayed occasionally in winter. Especially in winter, there is a great danger that the leaves of the shoemaker palm will get ugly brown spots due to too much water, because the plant only absorbs small amounts of water during this time. It only needs to be kept moderately moist.

diseases and pests

Although the shoemaker palm is very insensitive and there is not much that can be done wrong when caring for it, the plant occasionally suffers from diseases and/or pests. For example, prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause burns to the leaves. Other dangers include root rot and brown leaves. This can be caused by excessive and frequent watering as well as unnoticed and unresolved waterlogging. Striped cobbler palms can lose their leaf markings due to over-fertilization. Over-fertilization can also be the cause of cracks in the leaves of the shoemaker palm. On the other hand, if you don’t fertilize enough, the leaf stalks will be too short.

Since cobbler palms are often in the shade or even in dark corners, spider mite infestation can occur. This can be recognized by the fact that the affected leaves are covered with a fine web. You can also see small white to yellowish spots on the leaves. With a stronger infestation, the entire leaf color can even change.

Another danger is infestation with mealybugs. They leave behind a small white web reminiscent of cotton balls. That is why these pests are also called mealybugs. They reach a size of up to five millimeters. Her body is pink in color and has fine hair that is greasy to the touch. A mealybug infestation can very quickly impair the growth and vitality of the cobbler palm, because the little creatures lay 500 to 600 eggs every two months. The hatched lice suck the plant sap and at the same time excrete toxins with their saliva. The leaves of plants infected with mealybugs turn yellow and shrivell. Even a death of the plant is not excluded. For plants that are already infested with mealybugs, there is also a risk

Control of diseases and pest infestations

  • change location
  • with lice less heat
  • more dryness with spider mites and brown leaves
  • Cut off brown leaves
  • if there are lice and spider mites, shower off the plant

A cobbler’s palm is a relatively undemanding green plant that can also grow luxuriantly in hallways, in room corners and in stairwells. Due to its wide and lush growing leaves, it can also be used to green workshops, production rooms, retail stores and other places where plant care is not always the first thought. The good thing about a cobbler’s palm is that it thrives when you leave it alone, but don’t forget it. It rarely needs to be repotted, and watering is only necessary when the top two-thirds of the root ball is already dry. Nevertheless, it should be ensured that the root does not dry out completely, but is moistened regularly. Then you can enjoy the lush green, wide leaves of the shoemaker palm for a long time.

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