Three houseplants to ‘avoid’ keeping in bathrooms – ‘kills the plant’

Gardeners' World: How to care for houseplants

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While there are a large number of houseplants that will benefit from being kept in bathrooms, indoor plant experts at BackyardBoss shared that there are three that should be kept away from this room. Sarah Empey at BackyardBoss said: “Houseplants are usually a great addition to a bathroom. They can clean the air, add greenery, and create a relaxing space. However, not all plants love humidity. You might enjoy a long steamy shower, but that doesn’t mean all your plants do! In fact, the humidity in bathrooms can harm some plants.”

Plant expert at Bloom and Wild, Kiera Kay recommended: “When choosing plants for your bathroom, look for the type that like to tolerate shade or low/medium light, higher humidity and warm temperatures. Take care to keep the soil on the slightly drier side to counter the humid environment and avoid over-watering.

“If it’s not native to a tropical region it may not survive well in humid conditions. If you’re thinking about plants for the bathroom – cacti and succulents should be toward the bottom of your list.”

Succulents and cacti 

Succulents and cacti, which belong to the succulent family, are two of the most common houseplants that most households will typically own due to them being low maintenance. However, Sarah urged that “it would be best to avoid placing succulents in a bathroom”.

She explained: “Succulents and cacti love dry environments – it’s where they thrive in the wild. Planting them in a moist, humid bathroom is the exact opposite of their natural habitat. 

“The humidity from steamy showers can damage leaves. Water in the soil will also evaporate more slowly in a damp bathroom. This can make the roots soggy and even kill the plant.”

A few examples of succulents and cacti to avoid in bathrooms include snake plants, jade plants, aloe vera, hens and chicks, bunny ears cacti, and prickly pear cacti. 

Ponytail palm

Just like succulents and cacti, ponytail palms are fans of dry conditions, as they are “desert-loving” plants. They can be found growing out in arid regions like eastern Mexico.

These plants are a beautiful addition to any home. They grow about four feet tall indoors and are such low-maintenance.

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While these houseplants won’t mind if a home gets dry in winter, the expert warned that “they will protest” if they are placed in a humid bathroom. 

She explained: “When ponytail palms get too much water, their roots will rot. If you catch this early enough, stop watering, and relocate the plant, it can sometimes heal itself. However, it’s much better to place the plant in a dry environment in the first place.”

Another reason to skip planting a ponytail palm in your bathroom is the warmth. In winter, these plants need cooler temperatures. 

They prefer areas that are about 10 to 12 degrees. With regular hot showers and baths running, a bathroom can quickly get too wet for this houseplant.

African violets

African violets are small and popular houseplants that need a little extra care to survive but will reward you with vibrant purple, blue, or white flowers.

According to Sarah, the high humidity of a bathroom can rot leaves. Even getting water on the foliage can leave small fungal spots where the leaf has died. 

She advised: “It is best to water these plants from the bottom or with a watering can that has a long spout. This way you can tuck it under the leaves to avoid damage.

“With all the splashing about of a shower or bath, water droplets in the bathroom can easily harm an African violet.”

Its soil also needs time to dry out. One of the most common issues with African violets is their soft stems which are susceptible to overwatering.

Where to place these three houseplants instead

According to the expert, living rooms, bedrooms, and home offices are “excellent” rooms for these three plants. She explained: “These spaces are usually drier, which is what succulents, cacti, ponytail palms, and African violets like best.”

As well as the bathroom, these houseplants should also be kept away from kitchens. Kitchens, like bathrooms, can get hot and humid with everyday cooking.

Succulents and cacti do well on windowsills as they enjoy the sun. Place ponytail palms and African violets away from windows, so they don’t get scorched; These two plants prefer indirect light. 

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