Indoor plants hot for a steamy bathroom

PlanterGarden horticulturalist Gary McGregor has featured in an article about bathroom plants in Melboune's Herald Sun (Saturday, January 28, 2017).

“Many of these plants originate from the understorey of tropical rainforests, so a typical bathroom with low to medium light and some humidity from your bath or shower is just about ideal,"  he told the newspaper.

“The exceptions are bathrooms that let in lots of direct sunlight or get really cold in winter,” he says.

As well as being a beautiful addition to any bathroom, plants improve air quality, while some actually remove toxins from the air.

Bathroom plants can range from a small fern on the countertop next to your basin to a complete green wall, if you’re feeling adventurous.

Plant placement is usually determined by how much light there is and what you have room for. It’s important to put plants where they look good but won’t get in the way and end up being knocked over.

Shelving or an attractive plant stand are a good way of grouping some of your favourite plants together.

If you have some room for floor-standing plants then kentia palms, fiddle leaf figs, Swiss cheese plant (monstera) and rubber plants are options, while peace lilies, moth orchids, lucky bamboo and Boston fern may be suitable smaller plants.

Spider/ribbon plant works well as long as it can get reasonable light and isn’t over-watered.

If you can’t keep a maidenhair fern looking lush, a humid, low-medium light bathroom may do the trick, he said.

Plants such as devil’s ivy (pothos), heart-leaf philodendron and syngonium white butterfly all look fantastic with their attractive foliage hanging down from a basket, but take care if you have kids or pets who may be attracted to them because the foliage is moderately toxic if eaten. The same applies to peace lilies.

Windowsills are an option for light-loving plants, but rooms with windows facing north and west sometimes get too hot in summer and plants may need to be moved to a cooler spot for a while.

Drought-tolerant plants including succulents don’t like steamy conditions, but a bathroom with good ventilation and reasonable light should be OK as long as they aren’t over-watered.

Plants such as orchids can use the moisture in the air after you have a bath or shower, but your bathroom plants still need regular watering. Self-watering pots may help with thirsty plants like peace lilies and ferns.

“Extra humidity is good for many tropical plants, but basic care requirements don’t change massively because a plant is in a bathroom,” he says.

“The best advice I can give it to read the plant label, consider how much light your plant needs and keep an eye on how it’s responding to the conditions.”