Foliage plants are loosely defined as those grown for their handsome foliage, rather than their blooms. Foliage plants can be used to add texture to a garden. These modest plants provide an attractive backdrop for their flashier garden companions. There are a number of foliage plants for the garden that can be just as valuable as flowers.
Boasting broad, tropical leaves with a Swiss cheese-like appearance, windowleaf (Monstera deliciosa) is a common foliage plant frequently cultivated as a houseplant. Native to the tropical jungles of Southern Mexico and Central America, windowleaf is a distinctly tropical-looking plant that is lush and green when properly taken care of. Windowleaf can be grown indoors, or outdoors in USDA zones 10 to 11. The plant requires partial shade and well-drained soil that is kept consistently moist during the growing season. If grown indoors, wipe the dust from the leaves to keep the plant looking healthy. For best results, water windowleaf with rainwater or demineralized water.
Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema nitidum 'Silver King') is a foliage plant that boasts striking leaves in a silvery-green shade. The perennial plant is most commonly grown as a houseplant, though it can be grown outdoors in USDA zones 10A to 11A. Chinese evergreen grows best in neutral, well-drained soils in partial sunlight. The plant should be watered frequently so that the soil is kept consistently moist. Care should be used around this plant with pets and children, as the attractive foliage is poisonous.
Native to China, Korea and Japan, hosta plants (Hosta spp.) are broad-leaved plants that boast overlapping foliage in a myriad of green and creamy-yellow shades. The plant is especially valued for its tolerance of shade: hostas can be grown in complete shade, with lovely results. The plant is hardy and easy to maintain if grown in fertile, well-drained soil. Hostas grow best in USDA zones 3 to 9, in partial or full shade. The plant should be watered on a regular basis during the growing season.