Plants for the Bathroom
For some people, plants and bathrooms are an obvious combination, although some may think that their room doesn’t have the necessary attributes for plants to thrive. The first things to consider are the attributes of the room in terms of these five crucial elements:
- Light—plants should be chosen for the amount of light they will receive
- Space—plants need to be placed where they won’t interfere with the use of the room
- Humidity—plants known to cope well with bathroom moisture are the best bet
- Temperature—plants that can deal with the fluctuating temperature do best
- Ease—grouping plants that need similar maintenance makes plant care easier
Let’s look at how each of these considerations shapes the choices for bathroom plants.
Light is one of a plant’s basic requirements, but not all bathrooms have a window. Sometimes, leaving the bathroom door open most of the time (if you’re comfortable doing that) can bring in light from another room or the hallway.
Another alternative is to install a plant grow light. Created to mimic the daylight spectrum, these lights can substitute for natural light. They are available as single spot lights, or in systems with trays to hold the plants. If there is only one source of light—be it window or bulb—rotate bathroom plants on a regular basis.
Whichever choice you make, there are plants that work in a variety of light situations:
- Well-lit bathrooms
- Medium light bathrooms
- Chinese evergreen
- Low-light bathrooms
There are a variety of ways to display bathroom plants.
- Floor space—if your bathroom is large enough to allow it, consider a pot placed on the floor. This arrangement allows you to use very tall plants, like bamboo, which can create interest and drama.
- Windowsills—a traditional place to display plants, a wide sill provides good
balance and access to light.
- Cabinet toppers—if you have a cabinet or other flat-topped furniture in your bathroom, this is another surface that a plant can rest on while staying out from underfoot.
- Plant stands—another solution for bathrooms with extra floor space, a plant stand can make it possible to display multiple plants.
- Hanging baskets—whether hung from the ceiling, wall, or the shower rod (except when the shower is in use), hanging baskets allow plants that droop and flow to be displayed in the bathroom setting.
One type of plant that will make good use of the humidity in your bathroom is the epiphyte, commonly called air plants. These plants, which do not require soil to grow, are often found growing upon rocks, branches, or other plants. The family includes orchids and bromeliads. Also consider tropical houseplants like ficus, Chinese evergreen, and bamboo as potential bathroom plants that will enjoy the moisture.
The bathroom will inevitably get warm, and how much it cools when not in use will depend on a variety of factors. In any case, it is best to avoid plants—like camellias, for example—that really do best in a steady cooler temperature.
If you’re looking for low-maintenance bathroom plants, the following will serve you well:
- Spider plants
To find exactly the plant for your particular combination of factors, you may wish to consult a specialist at a local greenhouse. For those who feel that their bathroom just doesn’t have the qualities necessary to sustain plants at their best, or who (perhaps because of regular absence) can’t give plants daily care, silk plants or silk flowers may prove an attractive and viable alternative.
Written by Mary Elizabeth
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