Apparently, we’re not the only house plant-obsessed generation in history as Decorating With Plants author, Baylor Chapman details below. We’re ready to give those Victorians a run for their money with Chapman’s advice below… 

Known as pteridomania or fern fever, fern collecting became a craze during the Victorian era, when collectors began growing hundreds of these humidity-loving specimens in their greenhouses or conservatories. You can imagine your bathroom as a mini greenhouse of sorts, with plenty of hot water creating the humid atmosphere ferns need.

Here are a few favorites that work well as houseplants, especially in the bathroom…


The Best Ferns For The Bathroom

Maidenhair Fern | Often thought of as tricky to grow because of its love for humidity and moisture, the maidenhair fern (Adiantum raddianum) is the perfect match for a steamy shower room. Place it in an area of moderate to bright light and ensure that the soil remains moist. Try to keep it away from vents or dry air sources and avoid repotting. If you’re not one to create steamy conditions while showering, try to construct a more humid environment (more tips in my book Decorating With Plants).

Lemon Button Fern | This compact cultivar (Nephrolepis cordifolia ‘Duffii’) offers up sprightly thin fronds of delicate light green leaves. Small in size (reaching about 1 foot), it is one of the easiest ferns to grow. Simply keep it in a bright yet indirectly lit spot — the sill of a frosted bathroom window is ideal.

best plants for bathrooms

Curly Bird’s Nest Fern | Bring a tropical feel to your bathroom with the vivid, upright rosette of the aptly named curly bird’s nest fern (Asplenium nidus). Happiest in a place with moderate to bright light and moderate moisture, it is tolerant of periods of lower light and drier conditions. New foliage spirals out from a furry central crown, thought to resemble a bird’s nest (older fronds gradually turn brown and can be snipped off). Keep its broad leaves shiny by occasionally wiping them with a damp cloth.

East Indian Holly Fern | A favorite of many gardeners due to its striking striped foliage and easy attitude, the East Indian holly fern (Arachniodes simplicior ‘Variegata’) brings its woodland charm indoors, too. It is best suited to moderate to low light and consistently moist soil. Its arching, fan-like fronds can extend up to 2 feet. Try cutting a few and tucking them into floral arrangements to add earthiness and volume.

Excerpted from Decorating with Plants by Baylor Chapman (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2019. Photographs by Aubrie Pick.

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