Houseplants for the Bathroom and Kitchen

Houseplants for the Bathroom and Kitchen

Growing houseplants for the bathroom and kitchen is a question of finding species that either tolerate or thrive in the specific conditions your house presents.  Besides being an ideal home for new plants of a delicate nature, and a convalescent home for flagging plants, the bathroom with its warm and moist conditions is far and away the best permanent home for many of the more temperamental plants. In this respect almost all the plants in the vast aroid family would be suitable and some of the exotic ferns from tropical forests, although care would have to be exercised when selecting plants to ensure that aroids with potential growth suited to the size of the bathroom are chosen.

The king of philodendrons, P. eichleri, produces its large leaves from a stout central stem and develops into a plant some 3 m (10 ft) in height, with a spread of leaves taking in an area of similar diameter. With such a plant most bathrooms would be filled to capacity, and this is not quite what you are looking for when considering the possibility of using plants to enhance the beauty of the homestead! Fortunately houseplants in bathroom the foregoing plant is one of the exceptions.

There are a great many others of more modest dimension that are among the finest of indoor plants. And what better choice could there be than the Sweetheart Plant, Philodendron scandens, with its glossy green leaves. This plant, like the scindapsus and other aroids with smaller leaves, can be adapted either to climb or trail, depending on what is required.

With aroids you need not be restricted to purely foliage plants as the anthuriums with their long-lasting spathe flowers, mostly in shades of red, will give a fine display and need only a warm, moist and shaded situation to succeed. Where space is limited the best choice will be A. scherzericmum (Flaming Sword). Also with spathe flowers there is Spathiphyllum wallisii (Sail Plant), the white sail-like spathes of which are produced almost throughout the year, and will surely be more numerous if the plants are grown in the steamy warmth of the bathroom.

If you are fortunate enough to have a say in the design of your house, persuade the architect to allow for recessed shelfing in the bathroom. This is an excellent solution to finding shelf space for plants.

The only limiting factor concerning which plants can and cannot be used is the size of the bathroom, as almost all the foliage plants needing warm conditions will be suitable. However, there is one very important precaution that you should take, and that is to ensure that all plants are kept well out of harm’s way when aerosol sprays are being used, unless these are specifically intended for treating plants.

Also, with the clouds of talcum powder that are usually prevalent in the bathroom it is necessary to clean the foliage of bathroom plants more frequently than those in other rooms. In most instances this can be done by placing the plant in the bathtub and spraying it over. The extra moisture will usually be to the benefit of the plant.

houseplants in kitchen The kitchen windowsill is also an ideal spot for many plants, particularly spring-flowering subjects, which seem to favour this location. The often problematical saintpaulias and pelargoniums also tend to do well. The fact that the kitchen has few, if any, heavy curtaining around its windows plays an important part in getting the best out of your plants. And, provided water is kept off leaves and flowers, the majority of our indoor plants will tolerate much more direct sunlight than one might expect. However, it may be better to remove plants that are likely to be harmed from the windowsill during the hottest part of the day.

To make the movement of plants a less tedious business it will help if they are all grown in a container of some kind so that the complete collection of plants may be transferred at one go. Windowsill troughs are neat, and plants almost invariably do better when they are grouped together than when they are dotted about a room.

Troughs for plants can be utilized in several different ways, and there is no reason why they should not simply be put to use as pot holders with a selection of plants placed in them. An improvement on this is to place a 5 cm (2 in) layer of gravel in the bottom of the container before setting in the plant pots. Thereafter the gravel should be kept moist, but the plant pots must at no time be allowed actually to stand in water. An alternative to gravel would be to fill the trough with moist peat, packing it up to the rims of the pots in which the plants are growing.

Both methods will help to maintain a reasonable level of humidity around the plants, which is one of the most important requirements of all plants that are growing in a relatively dry atmosphere. Leaves should be sponged frequently to remove any grease.

By leaving plants in their individual pots they may all be attended to as individuals when it comes to watering and feeding. However, if plants that are reasonably compatible in their watering and feeding needs are grouped together there is no reason why they should not be removed from their pots and planted individually in the trough. When planting in this way a soil containing a reasonably high proportion of peat should be used. Following planting, water must be given sparingly until plants are obviously established in the new medium, and at no time should water be given excessively as few of the troughs will have holes from which excess moisture may easily and quickly drain.

The average-size kitchen is seldom suited to the growing of larger plants, yet there is often the need for using plants to divide the working part of the kitchen from the small dining recess that is part of the kitchen area. Although there may be little chance of using large plants there is ample scope for using smaller plants placed on tiered shelving. In this respect, smaller plants in decorative pots placed among other small ornaments can be most effective, and the entire scene will be enhanced if some of the plants trail over the edges of the shelves.

Most of the plant pot holders offered for sale are more costly than the plants that are placed in them, but there are also the more reasonable plastic items. Some are attractive while others are not so appealing to the eye. For narrow kitchen shelves, however, there are some excellent plastic plant trays that are shallow enough not to be obtrusive.

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