Garden Life

Plants for bathroom
Kiran Narain

Ferns flourish in bathrooms
Ferns flourish in bathrooms

Plants can be used with a theatrical flourish to give a bathroom décor fresh life. Putting a single striking plant in a corner or a carefully composed group on a glass trolley or counter would, of course, depend on the size of the bathroom and individual plants.

The cool and humid atmosphere of a bathroom makes it an excellent place to grow certain moisture-loving plants. However, the amount of natural daylight available may not be sufficient for the plants, which get their source of food and power from the process of photosynthesis. But improvements in artificial lighting equipment and techniques have made it possible for plant lovers to grow foliage plants in places where natural light may not be sufficient.

Ordinary light like fluorescent or incandescent lamps will keep foliage healthy. The best idea would be to combine cool-white fluorescent tubes and ordinary incandescent bulbs in a ratio of two watts of former to one of the latter. Concealed under pelmets, ceiling, plant-holding trolleys or valances, these can provide enough light recommended for indoor plants—though light requirements
will vary from one variety to another.

The health of foliage plants depends not only on the water in their soil but also on the moisture in the air around them—no wonder they look their best during the monsoons. With maximum humidity, bathrooms make an ideal place for moisture-loving aglaonemas, asparagus, chlorophytum, ficus and various varieties of

Aglaonemas are tough plants that grow in dark corners of a room where most others would perish. Also called Chinese Evergreen, the varieties Silver Queen and White Rajah have interesting markings on the leaves.

Asparagus species like a.sprengeris, a.plumosus and densiflorus (foxtail) make excellent and easy to grow houseplants.

Aspidistra or cast-iron plant will tolerate shade. With its handsome arching leaves and hardy habit of withstanding heat, cold, wet soil, drought and dust, it is an easy to grow plant for dim bathrooms.

Chlorophytum, comosum can withstand almost any conditions and with their variegated arching leaves from 11 to 15 inches in length, make handsome plants for the bathroom. They send out wiry stems lined with white flowers and small versions of the plants cascading over, and can be used in hanging baskets to their best advantage.

Various varieties of ficus ranging from f. primula to f.benjamina make good plants for the bathrooms for their capacities to do well in relatively small pots and being happy in pot-bound condition. The humid atmosphere of the bathroom appears to do wonders for them.

Philodendrons that come in a vast variety and provide a great range of the shapes and sizes of leaves do well as houseplants for the bathroom and can be grown as cascading or standard form.

Swedish Ivy or plectanthus with its shiny and cascading form looks well and placed before a mirror will look twice as lavish.

Wandering Jew or tradescantia can grow in plain water or soil and does well in bathrooms.

If the water is heavily chlorinated, let it stand in a bucket overnight before using it on plants. I give my pots a good wash under the shower once in two or three weeks and find it the next best thing to putting them in the rain outside. The pores in the leaves get opened up with the shower as well as the steam created in the bathroom giving them a sheen which one may expect to see only in a rainforest.