Houseplants forum: Indoor bamboo? Etc.

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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Oct 15, 2016 7:01 PM CST
I just remodeled my bathroom and would like to add a planter next to the corner tub, there is a 4x4 north facing window to provide light, and an overhead fan over the tub that comes on whenever the light is on (so fairly good air circulation). The window also opens at the top and will likely be open whenever anyone showers. I have room for a 16-18" planter and am hoping to plant an evergreen bamboo or horsetail or even some sort of grass - looking for a strong vertical clump. In general, I do poorly with tropical houseplants, not sure why, likely I just don't get into a regular care routine. I'd like to turn that around.

In this same room, I'd also like some sort of hanging plant above the grassy bamboo plant (same general conditions re light and circulation). Maybe a grape ivy?

Finally, over the toilet on the west wall is a niche for another plant. This would get less light but would still benefit from that large north window.

I welcome any ideas and/or tips to keep indoor plants thriving. I'm hoping that with 3 plants in a room that is used daily, I may be better at keeping things alive.
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Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Oct 16, 2016 12:17 AM CST
It seems to me that Bamboo and grasses demand a lot of light. North window doesn't sound like a lot of light. There are many house plants that do not need a lot of light. There is another thread here on low light plants. Perhaps do some reading there. Gene
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional interior landscaper
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WillC
Oct 16, 2016 9:17 AM CST
Light is the primary consideration in selecting indoor plants and you have not provided quite enough specific information. For example, is the window glass frosted or plain? Is the window all or partially covered during the day? How far from the window do you want to locate the plants and is there anything between that location and the window. All of these factors can make a big difference in how much light is available. As Gene indicated, at best the north window will provide low light.

Humidity and air circulation are not important considerations in plant selection.

A couple of moderately hardy low light plants come to mind for your consideration: ZZ Plant, Snake Plant and Pothos.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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Name: Laurie Basler
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids
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lauriebasler
Oct 16, 2016 9:24 PM CST
Could this be something to try: Umbrella papyrus (Cyperus alternifolius) if you do not find a suitable bamboo. Your remodel sounds amazing, Deb.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
Oct 16, 2016 9:27 PM CST
Snake plant would give you strong vertical.
How about lucky bamboo (Dracaena braunii) for another vertical? Grew well for me in office setting. Gradually gets taller.
The niche by the toilet may be too dark- despite the window.
I envy you window in the bath- always wanted to have plants to benefit from the humidity, but no windows.
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Name: Laurie Basler
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
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lauriebasler
Nov 15, 2016 10:12 PM CST
What plant did you decide on for your new bath, @Bonehead? I bought two new 4 inch grape ivy about 6 weeks ago. They are out growing every plant I own. I will pot them together this spring, for a nice big trailing basket. Did you find a bamboo? Pics would be fun when you have time.

Laurie B
[Last edited by lauriebasler - Nov 16, 2016 10:37 PM (+)]
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Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Nov 16, 2016 9:00 AM CST
Our bathroom window is more like a porthole, it's tiny. Faces north too. I kept Coleus cuttings there one winter, they did OK in bottles of water.
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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Bonehead
Nov 16, 2016 12:25 PM CST
I've been somewhat in denial over the whole bath redo. Really expensive, I didn't want to do it to begin with, and some things went awry. Plants are still on the horizon -- I'm sure when I get to that point I'll perk up. Still thinking bamboo, it's really the look I'm after. I will post pics when/if it is every fully completed.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Laurie Basler
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids
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lauriebasler
Nov 18, 2016 12:56 AM CST
Aww, Deb, sorry. Well when the time comes for grape ivy,, I will share mine. I have a bathroom should have been remodeled years ago. And I agree, the expense is hard to swallow.
Thank you for the update. More money for plants.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Bonehead
Nov 18, 2016 11:53 AM CST
I spoke with a local bamboo nursery, and he suggested splitting out my existing clumping bamboo and experimenting with bringing it inside. I will try to do that while the weather is still mild, put some into a pot and keep it on my enclosed porch over the winter, then bring it inside in the spring. Kind of a step process. He also nicely offered to try to ID my NOID bamboo if I would send him a photo. I'll also post on the ID forum to see if I get any consensus.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Audrey
Central Texas (Zone 8a)
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Esperanza
Nov 18, 2016 8:44 PM CST
Deb, I have a Chamaedorea bamboo palm that I think would work well for the look your going for. It can take low light and a fair amount of neglect and still look great. It is a slow grower at least for me. It is not a bamboo, but looks like it. It would be a better choice for indoor and still have the look of bamboo.

Name: Laurie Basler
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids
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lauriebasler
Nov 19, 2016 12:58 AM CST
That will be interesting. I can't wait to read if it cooperates. I have not grown bamboo, I would if I thought I could get away with it. Oh city life. Are the stalks green or tan. If this successful, everyone you know will be trying to do it. What a great idea. Can't baboo be in pots with no drainage???

Excited for your great idea Deb.
Laurie B
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional interior landscaper
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WillC
Nov 19, 2016 8:02 AM CST
The clumping bamboo that you have outside require lots of direct sunlight and are not likely to do well in your bathroom. They should not be confused with the poorly named "Lucky Bamboo" that are not bamboo at all, but are in the Dracaena family. Lucky Bamboo do not require a lot of light and might do well in your bathroom.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Nov 19, 2016 12:17 PM CST
I find it somewhat difficult to find Lucky Bamboo that has not been tortured into odd shapes (bent, braided, etc.), but did see some plain ones the other day in, of all places, an Office Max store. I also saw a grouping of a narrow row of snake plants in an interior hallway that caught my eye. I've usually seen this in a clump in a round pot, but stretching them out in a trough was a much better look for what I'm after. That would likely be a better choice.

Will, to belatedly answer your questions, the window is about 5' square and sits about 2' up from the floor. The main pane is rain textured with a clear top opener. No covering of any sort on it. The planter would go partially under and to the left of the north facing window. So, yes, definitely low light, but a fair amount of it.

I may try dividing my clumping bamboo and simply siting it on my enclosed back porch - it is unheated, but insulated, with picture windows on 3 sides (east, south, west) set up 3' from the floor. I'm trying to overwinter a eucalyptus in that space this year.

Re the niche behind the toilet, whenever we get around to re-roofing (perhaps this summer) we will install an east-facing window at the back of the niche which will bring in much better light for that area. That particular niche backs on to the steep side of a gambrel roof, so that window will be more of a skylight.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
[Last edited by Bonehead - Nov 19, 2016 3:22 PM (+)]
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Name: Carter Mayer
Houston, TX (Zone 9b)
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Carter
Nov 19, 2016 2:37 PM CST
I occasionally see canes of Lucky Bamboo for sale by the cane (maybe 18"-24" long) at Lowes and Home Depot. They have them just in something like a Florist's bucket and sold per piece, no pot. If you could find something like that, sounds like it would be perfect for you. Also, just adding what others have said about Sanseveria (Snake Plant, Mother-in-Law's Tongue). Can easily take low light, indoor conditions, & tolerate neglect and will give you that vertical look you are looking for.

I agree with those saying you might have problems with "true" bamboo indoors, especially in a low light area. Those that I have read about in the past that will do *okay* indoors only do so if they have high light in front of a sunny window.

In regards to ZZ Plant, they are tough plants and will easily tolerate low light and indoor conditions, but they can get lanky in low light conditions. I believe if kept on the drier side, though, they will grow much more slowly, and therefore could be more easily kept to a shape you are looking for if you were to buy one the size and shape you like. This is neither here nor there, but, interestingly, it is considered as having a compound or pinnate leaf. Each "stem" (actually the petiole) growing from the underground potato-looking rhizome is actually a pinnate leaf and what people generally think are the leaves are actually leaflets. Just something I learned recently.

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