Plants create relaxing bathroom retreat
by Ellen Goff
Plant picks for the bathroom
What are my favorite plants for the bath? I'm especially fond of growing ferns. The tile and stone surroundings keep temperatures cooler, and I don't forget to water them as I tend to do when they're anywhere else in the house.
Other favorites include:
Peace Lily Spathiphyllum wallisii
Spider Plant Chlorophytum comosum
Cardboard palm Zamia furfuracea
Rabbit's Foot Fern Davallia fejeensis
Grape Ivy Cissus rhombifolia
In new and recently remodeled homes, the bathroom has moved past its original functionality, taking on a sensuous, new age identity.
In particular, the master bath has become a haven for homeowners — their private, spa-inspired retreat. And no spa is complete without a few well-appointed plants to animate the décor.
"I'm a great believer in using plants," says Gayl Scruton, owner of highly rated Gayl S. Scruton Interiors in Dunedin, Fla. "They're good feng shui, and very good for health and the environment inside. It's a win-win."
Scruton recommends looking for plants that have interesting form and flowing leaves, such as a peace lily or bamboo. "Orchids are wonderful, and what interior style can't use one?" she says.
Styling aside, the bathroom is one room that you spend time in every day. Why not make it a tranquil haven?
Being surrounded by plants is a proven stress reliever, and because they'll be in close proximity to a bathroom faucet, you shouldn't forget to water them!
Scruton says her clients crave these calming interiors.
"Life is difficult right now," she says. "People need their homes to flow, as a source of serenity. A zen-like spa is the bathroom they want."
Even if you don't have a green thumb, there are advantages to growing plants in the bathroom. Popular houseplants have their origins in the tropics, and this is the one room in our homes with a similar, dimly lit, humid environment. The challenge is selecting a plant with a pleasing look that will thrive in your specific conditions.
Light or dark?
Low light: 10 feet or more away from a window that has no direct light, or faces north;
Medium light: 4 to 10 feet away from an east, south or west window, or placed directly in front of a north window;
Bright light: 4 feet or less from an east, south or west window, with some sunlight.
Hot or cold?
Ideal temperatures range from the low 70s during the day to the low 60s at night. Most plants can tolerate cooler conditions rather than warmer ones. Plants that are too warm can appear stunted or produce spindly growth, dry out too quickly, or die.
Wet or dry?
The No. 1 killer of houseplants is overwatering. Wait until the top inch of soil is dry before watering deeply and thoroughly, until water runs out the bottom of the pot. Once a month, shower your houseplants in the bathtub with tepid water to remove dust.
Ellen Goff is a freelance horticulture writer and photographer. She's passionate about plants, water quality and protecting the environment. Aside from working with words and pictures, she stays busy with her home landscape and its inhabitants along the shores of Lake Wylie, S.C.