Workshop on Foliage Plants and their care

Workshop on Foliage Plants and their care

Keeping foliage plants doesn’t have to be scary or high-maintenance. In fact, many young professionals turn to plants to provide a pleasant distraction away from screens and noise. Caring for foliage can be fun and relaxing, especially for people with anxiety or high stress. But did you know foliage plants are not only great home decor but also provide quality fresh air and a host of health benefits too!

If you are interested in adding foliage plants to your home or garden, watch our workshop based on “Foliage Plants And Their Care.” with our speaker Suchismita Sanyal, a literature student from Assam who fell in love with plants in the Year 2018! You can easily find her on her Instagram page plants_are_the_new_diamonds through and also her YouTube Channel


About Suchi and her wonderful mother:

“Welcome all of you to this Saturday’s workshop on “Foliage Plants and their Care”. So, today, we have Suchi from Assam, a student who is gardening with her mother. This is the first time that we have a gardener’s mother along with us today! Welcome, Aunty to our workshop and thank you, Suchi, for being in the workshop as well. So, can you tell us something about you and your journey with gardening?”, asked Ishika. “Hello everyone and hello Ishika.  Firstly, I didn’t know much about gardening but I have seen my mother do gardening right from my childhood. I was all alone when I went to pursue my higher studies. My mother had given me the task of trimming a money plant. So, when the plant started growing steadily, it gave me a feeling of reward. It inspired me a lot. I started to gain interest. This small start has developed into an entire garden now!”, Said Suchi.

“So, how many plants do you have on your terrace?”, asked Ishika. “More than 250 plants”, replied Suchi. My mother handles and cares for all the flowering plants and I take care of all the foliages.

“We would like to hear from Aunty as well. What is your inspiration and how did you develop an interest in gardening?” asked Ishika. “Hello, everyone. Right from my children, I had a lot of interest in gardening. I used to do kitchen gardening at the time. Due to a lack of proper resources, I couldn’t do proper gardening, so I used to get some succulents from my neighbors. Once I got a black rose sapling from Shillong. But, I didn’t have much knowledge about the saplings. So, the sapling did not sustain. But, I started learning about plants and gardens as I grew up. Even after my marriage, I continued gardening. I care for them as my children and they are the first thing that I see in the morning. I make my manure at home using peelings of banana, tea leaves, and onion peelings. 

“So, Aunty, when you grew a Black rose, it was for sure a very new thing for you! Today, people have a lot of knowledge due to internet availability. So, how did you manage at that time?” asked Ishika, “When I bought a black rose in my house, I didn’t have any idea about growing a black rose. But, the first few days, the sapling bloomed 10-20 beautiful black roses. But, it didn’t last for a long time. It feels bad when the saplings wilt off. So, I used to tell Suchi to water all the saplings.

“My mother used to do gardening even if she had other chores like cleaning and cooking. But, still, my mother used to care for the saplings.”, said Suchi

“ I used to use the flowers from my saplings for offerings. I used to grow Brinjal and chili plants in my spare time”, said Suchi’s mother. But, today there are a lot of varieties in plants as well. Even Suchi tells me about innovative and new varieties of plants. 

“Do you prefer the good old days of the present days for gardening?’’, Ishika asked Suchi’s mother. 

“I used to love the past days, but I didn’t have age and knowledge on my side in those days. In the present day, I love doing kitchen gardening, but I am less efficient due to my age. But, my daughter cares more for our plants than me.’, said Suchi’s mother.

“But, still I love indulging in Kitchen gardening. There are vivid varieties available nowadays. The saplings look beautiful and clicking photos with them is a blessing!” 

“When we shifted to a new place, we took a whole truck of saplings with us. So, this is the craze of plants that we possess!”, exclaimed Suchi. 

“Considering plants as our family is a great and a huge thing!”, Said Ishika

“I have learned this from my mother that whenever a plant is dying, be it an expensive plant or an ordinary plant, my mother puts her whole and sole to save that plant, ”, said Suchi.  

“It’s good to see that gardening is being carried on for generations and still being preserved! I would like to suggest children all around the world try gardening because it is stress relieving and it is amazing to have a garden inside our home. We like to go to resorts or have a vacation with our families. But, what if we develop our garden in such a way in which we can have leisure time at tea with our mother!” exclaimed Ishika. 

“It is very important to care for the plants and treat them as our own children. Planting aloe vera or tulsi can be indulged, Said Suchi’s mother. 

“Do you have any message for our viewers ?”, asked Ishika. 

“I suggest everyone should garden various plants. Everyone is under a lot of stress and depression. Watching even a single flower on a plant can relieve all the stress and tension. Take care of the plants, and give water, and manure in the morning. Even I tell my daughter to do this task in these tough pandemic times. Even, global warming is increasing at an alarming level. So, my suggestion is to plant and preserve our environment.”

“It is crucial to plant trees and care for them as they provide us  oxygen”, said Ishika

“Plants cannot provide us with money, but they provide us with components that are priceless!”, exclaimed Suchi’s mother.

“Aunty, can you tell me more about how to make DIY things”, asked Ishika

“We have used an inverted fiber chair to plant a sapling. This has two benefits. One is that the plastic/fiber gets used up and the second is that the flowers bloom with no restrictions.

We have even planted saplings in the empty paint buckets! Seasonal flowers can be planted again in it by adding compost and providing nutrients in the same bucket. If the bucket is broken or cannot be used for our daily routine, then we can plant our saplings in it. We do not believe in fancy or expensive planters. We usually plant chilies, tomatoes, brinjals, and corianders. My mother even loves foliages a lot! Aglaonema is her favorite plant. It is easy to care for and is very colorful.”

“Will the plant sustain if there is rain or unfavorable conditions ?”, asked Ishika

“My suggestion is to use grow lights if there is very less light because the plant won’t grow efficiently in low lighting. It will tolerate the low lighting’ but it is not recommended for plants”, said Suchi.

“So, let’s start with the workshop on Foliage Plants Suchi! And thank you, Aunty, for your time, We would love to have a workshop with you as well. “, said Ishika.

Let’s start the workshop on foliage plants. Let’s start with low-light foliages. We have to take special care about the tolerance of a particular intensity of light on a foliage plant. Most of the plants belong to the rainforest areas. So, we have done precise research about the selectivity of the plants. Whether the succulent belongs to a cold region or a hot region should be taken into consideration. Plants should not be chosen as per trend on Instagram but according to their ability to sustain in the new environment. The plants thrive in medium lighting’, on an east-facing balcony where the plant can get morning sunlight.

Ferns, Table-tops, succulents, foliage plants, and more :

  •  Let us start with one of my favorite foliage plants which is the Sweet-Heart tree (Ficus Triangularis). The leaves are variegated. It can thrive on an east-facing balcony. I won’t suggest it be kept in a living room because the leaves will wilt off if the plant gets low light. It is very affordable and beautiful as well.
  • The next foliage plant is Ficus Starlight. It can tolerate more light and be kept on a west-facing balcony. If there is sunlight only in the morning and the light is very less after morning, then water the plants only when the soil is completely dry. If the water is losing very fast, then water the plant twice or thrice a week. 

The Thumb rule for testing soils is if you put your finger in the soil if the soil sticks to your finger, then it is moist, if it doesn’t stick to your finger, then it is dry.

  • The next foliage plant is Cryptanthus (Earth Star). It is meant for people who usually want colorful plants that are compact and favorable for low-lights. It doesn’t grow too much. Its contrast with ficus is wonderful! It doesn’t require a lot of fertilizer. We generally use organic fertilizer and provide less manure to foliage as compared to flowering plants. It is very affordable as well.

We generally love succulents a lot and they are a lot in the trending category. 

  • In India, summers are generally hotter than in other countries. So, certain succulents won’t be favorable in India. 

So the options for Succulents in the Indian environment are:

Euphorbia plant. It is a great option for foliage plants as it is variegated. It cannot be kept in low light. It can also be kept in adverse environments like the one in Delhi. 

  • The other succulent is the Lifesaver plant (Huernia Zebrina). The flowers are a bit weird but it is favorable for northern India or west-facing balconies. 

Let’s see the plants that are flowering and foliage at the same time.

The most common is the Hibiscus plant. This is Cranberry Hibiscus. The leaves of this plant resemble maple leaves. It is easily available and isn’t expensive. Watering should be done more often in Hibiscus but don’t let the soil be too watery. It will require a lot of fertilizers and alternate-day watering. But, Hibiscus has a drawback too. Hibiscus is prone to frequent mealybug attacks, especially the new leaves of hibiscus. 

Table-top foliage plants:

  • Anthurium (flowering ones) is the best for tabletops. They are low-light tolerant and cheap. These plants love shades.
  • The next plant is the Fishbone cactus. It doesn’t like sunlight and likes watering. A western balcony is preferable for this plant. In a week, just give fertilizer only once. This plant also blooms.
  • Another foliage plant is the winter-flowering plant Kalanchoe. It is a very pretty plant with shades of white, orange, and red. If you like butterflies, then Kalanchoes are the best option because butterflies sit on them and hatch their eggs. Butterflies like to munch on their leaves.
  • Another table-top plant is Asiatic Jasmine summer sunset. During spring and autumn, they have small little blooms and have a very good fragrance.  Another variety of the same plant is the one with white foliage which is best for ground cover. They look best in your garden. 
  • Another Variety is the Dracaena plant. They have good low-light tolerance with white strips on their leaves. Take care of their watering. Another important thing is the soil that we use. 

I use 50% garden soil and the remaining compost for the Peperomia plant. Never use 100% garden soil for plants. Never do it for snake plants as well. Use sand and garden soil together and add compost to it. They can be sustained in sunlight and in a  medium-light also.

  • In succulents, a pencil cactus is another great option! They are succulents, so they need more sunlight and need less water. Keep them away from children or animals because whenever the leaves fall or tear off, there is the secretion of a white milky substance which is dangerous if it enters our bodies. So, generally, never keep them inside the house if you have pets or children.
  • The next one is the foliage plant that everyone wishes for. It is the monstera plant. It loves indirect light. It is favorable for balconies. The prices of Monstera are cheap. 

Water plants are another great option. Don’t start with lotus because lotus is a harsh plant.

  • The  Pistia plant is a great-looking plant. It can be kept in a tub. They are very gorgeous plants and their roots resemble feathers.No soil is required, just immerse them in water and keep them in direct sunlight. It has small yellow flowers and it doesn’t require much care.

Let’s talk about ferns. They are a bit difficult to handle because they need frequent watering, otherwise, the leaves wilt off and become dry. But, they provide lush-green foliage to the gardens.

  • I have an Asparagus fern in my collection. It does not belong to the fern family. But, it is related to the asparagus family. It is fluffy. Do not water them frequently. They are quite cheap and easily available. You can also use vermicompost for the plants. 
  • The next one is the variegated type. It is the Umbrella tree. The leaves are umbrella-shaped. It is a great addition to low-light balconies. Sea-weed fertilizers are another best option for students who stay in hostels and still want to do gardening. It is an organic fertilizer and very easy to use. It is easily available on e-commerce websites.

Some questions and answers On Foliage Plants and Care:

Don’t you get confused regarding the watering of so many plants?”, asked Ishika

 “I have done proper research on each plant and then I have included them in my garden. For foliage plants, we water them alternately and for flowering plants, we water them regularly.”   If it is summer, then water the foliage plants alternately.

Does cleaning the leaves with lemon water cause damage to it?

‘I am not sure about it, but I have read it somewhere ’

That it is not good to use lemon water but I suggest using clean water and wiping off the dirt from the plant.

“Whenever we wipe off the leaf, the shine goes off within seconds. The shine isn’t prolonged. So, what would you suggest for a remedy?

“I think vinegar water works best. There is a problem that if the dust settles on the leaves, then there might be problems for photosynthesis, so take a small amount of vinegar diluted with water and then wipe it off.”

Are philodendrons easy to take care of?

“They are just like money plants. There is one problem with them. They cannot handle any amount of direct sunlight. rather than it, they are pretty easy to be taken care of. ”

How to start planting when we have no idea about it?

“Do proper research and then do gardening because research is the best option for doing gardening.”

“Any foliage plant that you would recommend to start with from a beginner?”

Aglaonemas are the easiest to take care of. They are gorgeous too!. If you don’t want snake plants or zee-zees and want to see something different in your collection, then start with Aglaonemas. Just don’t water these foliage plants frequently and don’t give them a lot of attention because plants don’t like a lot of attention either.”

Could you suggest a remedy for flowering to occur in a marigold plant?

“The favorable temperature for marigolds should be generally low and make sure to provide fertilizers. Do not use chemical fertilizers. Rather, use banana peels or onion peels. Keep the peels for some days in water, then dilute them and use them as a fertilizer”

How to tackle the problem of spider mites?

“Spider-mites like the plants that are generally dry or they thrive in dry conditions. So, ensure that there are no spider mites on the underside of the plant. Use neem-oil solution by diluting it with water. If the infestation of spider mites is high, then use isopropyl alcohol diluted with water. Direct purchasing of alcohol is not necessary. Hand sanitizers can be used. Take a few drops of neem oil, and a few drops of dishwashing water, dilute it with water, and apply it to the affected parts of the plant. Never spray pesticides in the morning. Always spray them after sunset as photosynthesis is not active after sunset. Wash off the plant in the morning for photosynthesis to occur smoothly. ”

How do you take care of the cleanliness of the terrace because there are a lot of pots and plants?” 

“Regular cleaning is done by me as well as my mother. It is hard work, but it keeps plants pest-free too.”

Would you like to give some tips at the end for the conclusive part?

“I would like to say that don’t go after followers, trends, or hashtags on Instagram. Go to a local nursery and get the plants that are most favorable to your place of stay. Do proper research and then purchase the plants. Temperature, humidity, and soil type must be taken into consideration.”

“This is a really good point! Plants are living things and it is always better to start with safe side plants. Evergreen plants are very good for planting”, said Ishika

So, Suchi, thank you for conducting this workshop on foliage plants and their care. The view is quite pretty in your terrace garden. Good luck to you and your mother! We hope that it was a resourceful seminar. Have fun gardening throughout the month.