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Bathroom ideal place for many plants

By JESSICA DAMIANO, Associated Press
Published: December 30, 2023, 5:29am
3 Photos
A pothos houseplant sits on a shower shelf in Patchogue, N.Y.
A pothos houseplant sits on a shower shelf in Patchogue, N.Y. (Stephanie Anderson) Photo Gallery

The term bathroom décor often conjures thoughts of decorative shelving, a framed print or perhaps a colorful shower curtain. But what about houseplants?

Most houseplants are tender tropical plants that thrive best in the warm, humid conditions of their native climate, often a rainforest or jungle. So, a bathroom, especially one with a window that also hosts a daily shower (or several), can be an ideal spot to grow them.

Recent trends are going a step further, adding plants not only to the bathroom but inside the shower, either on the floor, hanging from the ceiling, placed on the ledge of the tub or on a shelf above it.

If you go this route, take care to keep them out of the path of the water stream. Tropical plants like humidity but not soggy soil. In fact, they’ll likely need less water than their out-of-shower counterparts.

What to choose

Plants best suited for jungle showers include prayer plant (Calathea), moth orchid (Phalaenopsis), golden pothos/devil’s ivy (Pothos), flamingo flower (Anthurium), Chinese money plant (Pilea), heart-leaf philodendron (Philodendron), spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum), peacock/prayer plant (Calathea), Peperomia spp., bird’s nest fern (Asplenium nidus) and lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana).

Although eucalyptus plants aren’t ideal for growing in a shower (they don’t like moist soil), you can benefit from their aromatherapy and decongestant properties by gathering a bundle of fresh-cut stems, running them over with a rolling pin to release their oils, and tying them into a bouquet. Hang the bundle from the shower head for several weeks of scented steam showers. Replace it when the fragrance fades, or the bouquet looks wilted or begins to mold.

Outside the shower, place aloe vera, Chinese money plant, most Dracaena species, ficus spp. and wandering dude (Tradescantia zebrina) to the side of a bright window. Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata), flamingo flower and Monstera spp. require direct light, so should sit right in front of one.

No sun?

A lack of natural sunlight needn’t stop you. Plants that grow in the shade of large trees in the wild and other low-light plants are well-suited for darker bath or powder rooms. Consider Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema), English ivy (Hedera helix), snake plant (Dracaena trifasciata), philodendron, lucky bamboo, ferns, ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia), peace lily (Spathiphyllum) or the amenable spider plant.

It’s best to avoid placing cacti and succulents, fruiting plants and any that are native to deserts or have low water needs in a humid environment.

In general, seek out tropical plants with sunlight requirements that match your bathroom’s conditions.

Adding even one plant to your bath or powder room will warm up what is often a cold, tiled space and provide the spa-like vibe you deserve.

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