I figured, I couldn't go wrong with a fern, as they love warm, moist conditions. But at the time, I wanted to use what I had - rather than go out and buy something new!
Enter my "baby panda" bamboo. I had successfully grown this in a pot, in both full sun and indirect light, on my outside verandah. My mother loved it - anyone who saw it, loved it! So I divided it up and gave one to my mother, to enjoy. I had two smaller plants from that same division.
Given it lived in a range of light conditions on my verandah, I thought it was flexible enough for my bathroom. But within a month, my bamboo turned into this...
All the leaves dropped off! I've had this happen to a larger bamboo, when I transplanted it from the garden, and into a pot. In the first year, it dropped all the leaves that were conditioned to direct sunlight. It eventually grew new leaves, better suited to the conditions under the verandah.
So I knew I hadn't actually killed my bamboo, it just didn't like the new, lower light levels. The leaves that grew to live on the verandah, weren't suitable here. So outside my bamboo went, for rejuvenation.
So then I was forced to consider buying a fern, from a reputable nursery. This was a maidenhair fern, which my mother would keep in a pot, indoors, so knew it should fair better than the bamboo did.
However, the Adiantum spp, from which maidenhair ferns originate, have over 200 varieties. And, each one is grown, in slightly different conditions, depending on the nursery.
When I looked at the above fern, it had harder leaves than the soft ones my mother would grow inside. Something told me, perhaps this wasn't the right fern, but I purchased it anyway. It turned out, even though it was grown under shade-cloth in the nursery, it still wouldn't thrive in the light levels I had in the bathroom. I took it back outside, before it defoliated, to the extent of the bamboo.
So my lovely little shelf, was abandoned for many weeks. I didn't make it a high priority to find a better specimen, as I had too many important tasks on my list. But on a trip to Bunnings Hardware, looking to replace spent shovels, I found a fern, which I knew would fair better.
For starters, it was kept under a roof eave - a dark little corner, with no indirect light from shade cloth. The size of the specimen told me, it had been grown in similar conditions to my bathroom. Which is why it had those big, soft leaves I was use to seeing on maidenhair ferns.
Best choice so far
It's a Lady Moxam variety, which is a hybrid of the maidenhair fern. So a new cultivar. It has survived the longest of the other two in the bathroom, and is even putting on new growth.
My only concern will be winter. It likes temps no less than 12 degree Celsius (53F) and the heater only runs in the bathroom, when someone is showering. So we will see how it fairs through the cool of winter and heat of summer.
I suspect I'm going to have a range of plants which visit my bathroom shelf. I may be able to get my baby bamboo, back in, if I acclimatise it's leaves to lower light levels - as it's more cold tolerant.
So just like I move my pot plants around the outside verandah, at different times of the season, I will have to do the same with my indoors plants. As well as having a place outside for them to go, when its not the right time of year in the house for them. Is it worth it? Well, for a plant-nut like me, it is.
Do you have tricks of the trade, to do with keeping indoors plants, happy? A favourite plant for the indoors, perhaps?