There is one area in the house where the “do not disturb” sign is mandatory (unless you live with kids!). It’s the place where your privacy is respected if you shout “just a minute!” in response to a knock. The location where you may unwind, regenerate, and rest. In the shower, you can practice speeches or sing. You start and conclude your day here. Why not add some spa-worthy plants to make it even more inviting?
Decorating a bathroom with plants adds warmth to this otherwise cold environment. They contribute to the desired spa-like atmosphere. They also serve practical use by absorbing excess moisture and cleaning the air.
However, many bathrooms are small, particularly in apartments and older homes. There might not even be enough area for your toothbrush on the counter. They can be dark, with no or extremely small windows. Temperatures and humidity levels vary. There may be bursts of warmth and dampness, followed by a period of dryness and coolness.
These are not ideal conditions for all houseplants. However, with the appropriate choices and a few innovative ideas, it is possible to incorporate flora into a bathroom.
Let’s look at some frequent bathroom circumstances and the plants that might work well in them. Indoor plants require light, water, and temperature control to grow, although many are flexible.
Water and Fertilizer
Because they grow slowly and do not dry out rapidly, many plants may require less water or fertilizer when cultivated in a bathroom. Keep an eye on your plants until you figure out how frequently you should water and fertilize them. Every space and plant could be unique.
Light is required for all plants to grow. None of them can develop in complete darkness.
If you want to keep your plants alive in a windowless bathroom, you’ll need to add grow lights. However, simply changing the light bulbs to full-spectrum LEDs can provide enough light. Just remember to leave the light on for the majority of the day.
In recent years, grow lights have become increasingly imaginative and creative. You can get grow lights that are built into a shelf or even the pot itself. Slim wands and light strips that can fit into the smallest of areas are available. Many come with built-in timers.
There’s no shame in employing faux greenery or preserved plants like mosses, strawflowers, and eucalyptus if you can’t or don’t want to add supplementary lighting. Put a few huge monstera leaves in a vase of water, or place a bunch of cut flowers on the back of the toilet tank.
You can also rotate a few low-light species into and out of the bathroom once a week. Allow them to recover in stronger light before returning them to the dark.
Best Plants for Low-Light Bathrooms
1. Aspidistra elatior
Aspidistra elatior is commonly called cast iron plant or bar room plant, and it lives up to these names. This one is tough to kill and tolerates low light, neglect, inconsistent watering, and even abuse.
Sansevieria is adaptable to low light conditions. Snake plants have sword-like leaves that grow straight up, making these a good choice for narrow spaces.
Spathiphyllums, peace lilies, really like moist, humid conditions and will wilt dramatically if they don’t have enough water, so this is a good choice for a bathroom. Their exotic flowers are an added bonus. They can tolerate very low light.
Ivies, Hedera species, are trailing vines that don’t require a lot of light and can take a bit of humidity. However, if kept overly wet, they can develop edema – a corky growth on stems.
5. ZZ plants
ZZ – Zamioculcas zamiifolia – has oval leaves up and down its arching stems. Don’t let its unusual look fool you. It’s a slow grower that needs very little attention.
Humidity and Temperature
Popular wisdom says that bathrooms are warm, humid spaces, but that’s not necessarily so. This space will get warm and humid when you take a shower or bath, but it usually doesn’t stay that way long. If many family members take long, steamy baths or showers daily, then yes, your bathroom may be humid.
Guest bathrooms, powder rooms, and bathrooms where the showers are quick and used by only one or two people are only humid for a short amount of time. A humidity meter will help you determine if the room is humid enough for plants that require a very moist environment, like bamboo and orchids.
Plants that appreciate a daily misting will grow well in a bathroom with fluctuating humidity.
Best Plants for Rooms with Fluctuating Humidity
6. Spider Plants
Spider plants, Chlorophytum comosum, are very popular and easy to grow. The strappy, arching leaves make these excellent candidates for hanging baskets, especially when they develop little plantlets. They are also very good at cleaning the air.
Pothos are a very popular choice for any room in the house, and with good reason. These trailers are highly adaptable and forgiving. If a pothos begins to outgrow its space, it can easily be trimmed. Alternatively, let its stems travel freely for a tropical vibe.
Many varieties of Aglaonema, Chinese evergreens, have beautiful leaf patterns in colors of dark and light greens, pinks, and reds. Slow growing and easy to care for with a rounded growth habit make these a good choice for small spaces.
Tradescantia goes by the common name inch plant. It is a trailing plant with variegated leaves in shades of purple and green. Low humidity can cause its leaf tips to turn brown, so the bathroom is the perfect spot for it.
Crotons, Codiaeum variegatum, with their vividly colored leaves, will pop in an all-white room, but they can certainly be used no matter what color your walls and tile. They are prone to spider mites in dry environments, so they’ll be happy with the extra humidity.
Space in the smallest room can be at a premium. Even if there’s barely room for a soap dispenser and a towel bar, there are ways to include greenery.
You can hang pots from the ceiling. You can even hang pots in the shower if the ceiling is high enough and there’s a window nearby. Wall planters and vases, stands, and shelves can be installed to give you a spot for vining and trailing species.
Small plants and ones with a narrow growth habit are good choices here. A small bathroom can be a good place to start cuttings and get new small plants off to a good start. After all, you’ll see them every day and can monitor their needs.
Buy the smallest size you can find. Even a 2 or 3-inch pot can make an impact. When they get too big, they can be moved into other areas of your home.
Plants for a Tiny Loo
Consider small ferns: Boston, bird’s nest, asparagus, and western sword ferns will all work well in a small space. And they’ll like the daily blast of humidity, too.
12. Air plants
Air plants, Tillandsia species, fit in the palm of your hand. They can be mounted on pieces of wood, in a seashell, or set in a glass jar or antique egg cup. Water them by soaking them in the sink for 15 minutes weekly, then allow them to dry before returning them to their places.
Anthurium, also known as tailflower or flamingo lily, produces red, pink, or white spathes around its flower spikes depending on the variety. They don’t grow fast and don’t mind being a little pot-bound, so they’ll grow happily in a small space for quite some time.
Bromeliads, Neoregelia species, have strappy leaves that get very colorful around the central flower. There are many, many varieties in many different colors. Once a bromeliad flowers, it sends up “pups,” which can be removed and repotted. The mother plant will not flower again.
Many orchids come in a miniature form, in lots of different colors, and they are very easy to find. Buy them when the flowers are in bud. The flowers can last six weeks, and they will rebloom in about a year with proper care.
Plants for a Bigger “Smallest Room”
Ficus trees, both F. benjamina and F. lyrata will be happy in a warm and humid bathroom with bright light and room to accommodate their large size.
17. Rubber trees
Rubber trees are also in the ficus family – Ficus elastica. These have large, smooth, dark green leaves, sometimes with a hint of red. They can grow tall and straight and narrow or pruned to have a more branching habit.
Monstera, the “swiss cheese” plant, has large leaves that naturally develop splits and holes. Sometimes these are grown on a bark pole.
The variety of palms you can grow in a bathroom can be overwhelming. The parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans), also known as a neanthe bella, and the areca palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens) are good ones to start with. They will give you that vacation look instantly. Because palms are prone to spider mites when the air is too dry, they appreciate the extra humidity.
20. Birds of Paradise
Strelitzia (bird of paradise) grows in a flat plane, so it can be put against a wall. Its large leaves soak up humidity. It gives a really tropical feeling to the room, especially when you can get it to bloom!
Try Something Different!
When you decorate with plants, it’s fun to add something unexpected. Try one of these unusual plants – especially in the guest bathroom or powder room.
Stromanthe ‘Triostar’ sometimes goes by the shortened name Trio. In shades of green, cream, pinks, and reds, its large colorful leaves make it a real stand-out.
22. Hoya carnosa
Hoya carnosa – wax plant or porcelain flower- is a trailing vine that has thick fleshy leaves and develops clusters of colorful flowers. It does like bright indirect light, so use this plant near a window.
23. Calathea lancifolia’ Rattlesnake’
Calathea lancifolia‘ Rattlesnake’, rattlesnake prayer plant, is grown for its unusually patterned foliage. All calatheas will do well in a bathroom, but the rattlesnake is particularly beautiful.
Alocasia is commonly known as Elephant Ears. It is smaller and better suited to being grown indoors than their cousins Colocasia. Many cultivars exist in different leaf colors and patterns. You can go small or large depending on the size of your room.
25. Staghorn fern
Staghorn fern (Platycerium superbum) is often grown on a piece of wood and can be hung on the wall like a picture. These plants need little care – just take it down and soak it for about an hour once a week or two.
And, if you need something to help keep the air fresh, try eucalyptus, mint, jasmine, or gardenia. These fragrant plants will all do well in a bathroom.
With all these choices and ideas, there’s no reason you can’t add lush greenery to the bathroom. But stay away from cacti and succulents – they will not do well in this environment.