A plant display in the bathroom is much more likely to be seen in a magazine than in the home, but with a little thought plants can always be used here to add a touch of interest or even luxury.
It is strange that so few bathrooms contain house plants. A warm bathroom with a large frosted-glass window is perhaps the best room in the house for the beautiful varieties which have come to us from humid habitats. In addition few other locations in the house need the softness and greenness of plants to reduce the hardness of their surfaces.
The problem bathroom is the small one – unheated in winter and with a tiny window of frosted glass. The answer is to choose a tough, glossy-leaved foliage variety such as Philodendron scandens (often called ‘the bathroom plant’ in the U.S.), Cissus antarctica or Scindapsus aureus. There is no floor space available, so put the pot on the windowsill or in a wall-mounted pot holder. A hanging basket over the bath is sometimes recommended, as the basket is provided with a ready-made if oversized drip-tray below.
In a larger bathroom with a decent-sized window you have a much greater choice of plants and display types. A specimen plant such as a Palm, Boston Fern or Weeping Fig can transform the appearance of the bathroom. Alternatively you can create a plant window or little indoor garden filled with Asparagus, Ivies, Heptapleurum, Syngonium, Fern etc. Bath surrounds are usually too narrow to support plant pots – this precarious placing is best avoided, especially if there are children around.
The large, well-lit bathroom really comes into its own when it is centrally heated. It then becomes the best room in the house for the cultivation of colorful exotics – Anthurium, Calathea, Caladium, Maranta, Cymbidium and so on. Bromeliads will flourish here and so will all moisture-loving plants. You might be tempted to create a tropical jungle, but do make sure that such a scheme meets with the approval of the rest of the family.
Bathroom plant care
Misting should not be necessary if the room is in regular use but the leaves will need sponging at fairly frequent intervals – talcum powder and hair lacquer aerosols are pore-blocking agents. Choose pot holders with care – wicker-work is ideal for a Victorian bathroom but for ultra-modern settings a metal or plastic one may be better.