What Houseplants Are Best Suited For Bathrooms and Why

* Image sources: All images used in this post are from the author

Once you start keeping houseplants, more and more plants will follow and you soon don’t know anymore where to put them. That’s when you extend your plant family from the living room to all other rooms such as the bathroom. But as with all spots, it is good to know what plants are good for bathrooms.

Houseplants suitable for bathrooms thrive in humid and warm environments and tolerate varying light conditions as well as fluctuations in temperature. It is generally mainly tropical houseplants that do well in bathrooms.

Bathrooms can be a little tricky for some houseplants, especially given the low-light conditions or even no windows. Read on to find out how to keep houseplants in a bathroom and for some plant recommendations for your bathroom.

Bathrooms: The Tropical Paradise At Home

Primary bathrooms are like a humid microclimate within your home as it is where you shower, bathe, and use warm water the most regularly. This makes the bathroom a warm and humid environment similar to the natural habitat that tropical rainforests provide.

Also, bathrooms are usually kept a little warmer in winter than other rooms because it is just nice to shower and get dressed in a warm space on cold winter mornings. Bathroom doors tend to stay shut most of the time which helps keep the extra warmth and humidity confined to that space.

Such a warm and humid environment is great for tropical houseplants that love humidity. Other more arid houseplants such as cacti or most succulents might not appreciate an overly humid space. Generally, it is always good to check the natural habitat of a plant to know where to put it at home.

Rule of Thumb: When choosing spots at home for houseplants, always consider the plant’s natural habitat and choose conditions imitating it best.

To find out what plant types exactly you have and what their needs are, plant care apps do a great job and keep the info saved on your mobile. Some apps even have light meters integrated that tell you the exact light conditions in a certain spot. Check out my post about the 7 best free plant care apps to find an app that suits you.

As in any room at home, plants just add this extra freshness and lushness to a space. Having plants in your bathroom makes the place feel more alive and much less sterile. There are some difficulties though with plants and the bathroom that you should keep in mind:

  • Humidity levels: Regularly used bathrooms are not the best place for arid plants such as cacti or succulents.
  • Temperature fluctuation: Showering or taking a bath temporarily elevates the temperature of a room quite a bit and even more does opening the window after to let fresh air in. Plants that suffer under sudden temperature changes and too much air flow (such as Ficus benjaminus) should not be kept in a bathroom.
  • Light conditions: Some bathrooms have no windows at all or if they do, often the natural light is blocked partly by shades or frosted glass for privacy. If your bathroom has low-light conditions, consider this when choosing a plant.
  • Mist and drizzle: Depending on where you put the plant in the bathroom, its leaves might get the occasional mist or drizzle on them. Make sure not to choose a plant with a powder protection layer on its leaves (such as many succulents) or a plant with furry leaves (such as the African violet).

The most difficult issue with a bathroom is if it doesn’t have a window at all. No natural light makes it very difficult to keep a plant healthy. I will get to solutions to that problem later on in this post. Let’s first have a look at some plant types that will love your bathroom with windows!

Extra tip: Do not put your plant anywhere you are constantly brushing past it. Most plants are irritated by frequent touch. Wonder why? Learn more about when and when not to touch plants through this link!

Plants That Do Well in Bathrooms: 6 Plant Types

There are some plant families that specifically do well in humid environments as well as in low-light conditions. Most of them are tropical or subtropical plants as they naturally grow beneath the shady canopy of taller trees in humid environments.

A lot of the plants suitable for bathrooms (except for ferns) also require almost no maintenance. They will be happy to just thrive where they are.

Tip: Do you want to know more about low-maintenance houseplants? Check out my post on suitable beginner houseplants right here!

Philodendron hederaceum (Sweetheart Plant)

Any type of philodendron will do well in your bathroom because they just love humidity. Personally, I like the looks of the Philodendron hederaceum with its heart-shaped dark green leaves. It looks great in a hanging basket or placed on a ledge.

Philodendrons can even be placed in the shower as they love mist and droplets on their leaves. Just make sure there is no water from the shower flowing directly into the pot. It will keep the soil too soggy and shampoos and soap are not meant for your plant either.

Pilea peperomioides (Chinese Money Plant)

The Chinese Money Plant has become an incredibly popular houseplant in recent years, you might already have it in your home. If so, just move it to your bathroom! This Pilea loves humidity and warm temperatures while at the same time requiring almost no attention. It is a happy plant that thrives anywhere.

In addition to being a real eyecatcher, this plant is also known to filter toxins out of the air and to bring good luck. If you want to know more about where this plant comes from and what superpowers it has, feel free to check out my plant sheet on the Pilea peperomioides!

Tradescantia pallida (Purple Spiderwort)

There are several common spiderwort houseplants, one of them is the Tradescantia pallida or Purple Spiderwort. It looks very calming with its slightly furry leaves in different shades of violet. It looks amazing on a shelf or ledge, hanging down.

Tradescantias generally like humidity but they can also do well without it. Hence, you can put your spiderwort in other rooms of your home, too. Spiderwort Plants do not require much maintenance but adequate watering is recommended. Otherwise, they tend to attract pests such as mealy bugs or thrips.

Tip: Want to know more about how to water your plants the right way? Read all about the right watering techniques for your houseplants in my post linked here!

As for the Tradescantia pallida, it is important that it doesn’t get too many sprinkles on its leaves as they are covered by a thin layer of hairs that could be damaged by too much direct water. Do not place it next to the sink or in the shower.

Other common Tradescantia houseplants are Tradescantia zebrina (Wandering Jew Plant), or the Tradescantia Spathacea, also called Boat Lily or Cradle Lily.

Orchidaceae (All Orchids)

Another suitable plant type for bathrooms is orchids. The most typical types of orchids in our homes are Moth Orchids (Phalaenopsis) but most other orchids will work as well.

In their natural tropical habitats, orchids grow as epiphytes on trees. With their roots, they are able to absorb humidity and therefore love warm and humid air.

With their calm looks and beautiful long-lasting flowers, they give your bathroom a certain Zen vibe and stillness.

Ferns (such as Blue Star Fern)

Ferns are another plant family that generally works well for bathrooms. Ferns, such as the common Boston Fern, love humid environments and prefer indirect light or partial shade. This makes them the perfect plants for bathrooms.

Another great-looking fern for your houseplant collection is the Golden Polypody, also called Blue Star Fern (Phlebodium aureum) which you can see in the images below. It prefers high humidity levels and half-shade and its blueish leaves look stunning.

The only thing to keep in mind about ferns is that compared to other plants, they react quite sensitively to changes in their environments. If placed in an adequate spot, they might not need much attention but finding the right spot can be difficult. They are not necessarily easy beginner houseplants.

Epipremnum aureum (Golden Pothos)

Pothos plants come from a naturally humid tropical environment as well and any type of Pothos will do well in your bathroom. One very common Pothos type is the Golden Pothos, also called Devil’s Ivy. It is very easy to care for and does really well in shady spots, too.

Hence, if your bathroom does not provide much light, then this might be the plant for you.

Read more about the Pothos plant and its requirements in my plant sheet covering all major care tips about the Golden Pothos.

Can You Have a Plant In a Room With No Natural Light?

One of the essentials for plant life is light. In nature, plants grow where the natural light conditions suit them best. At home, either we provide them with such natural light conditions or we mimic natural light with artificial lighting.

Even though natural light from the sun is what plants have evolved with, nowadays you can buy many grow lights or even regular bulbs that will provide enough of the right light for your houseplants.

What is the “right light” for plants? Light comes in different wavelengths and not all wavelengths have the same benefits for plants’ photosynthesis which is the process they mainly need the light for. Learn more about what kind of light plants need and how to provide them with it in my post linked here!

What to Do If Your Bathroom Has No Windows?

If your bathroom has no windows at all, this means that the only light a plant can get in that room is whatever artificial lighting there is. In bathrooms, there is usually a fluorescent tube installed above the mirror. Apart from that, you might not have any other light source there.

Fluorescent tubes can provide a light spectrum that is adequate for your plants. Still, the plant would need to be pretty close to the tube to get enough light. Another thing you also have to consider is that the light is only on when you are using the bathroom. Such an on-and-off rhythm causes stress for the plant as it constantly needs to activate and deactivate its photosynthetic activity.

I think the best option for a healthy plant to live in a windowless bathroom, in the long run, is to install an extra grow light with a timer. If there is enough space and an extra plug left in your bathroom, you can buy a specific grow light bulb for your plant and install it with a timer. The timer makes sure the light is on for enough hours a day and then gives the plant some rest during the night.

Tip: Grow lights don’t even have to be that expensive or take up much space at all. There are even cost-effective LED bulbs that you can buy for plants. I’ve written a whole post on what types of LED lights work for plants explaining this issue more thoroughly. Check it out!

Of course, installing a grow light in your bathroom is somewhat of an extra effort you might not want to take. In that case, I recommend not placing any plants in a windowless bathroom. They might survive with the energies they have stored for a couple of months but eventually, any plant will die with no light.

Other options to bring some green vibes into your bathroom are decorative elements such as plant pictures or using other natural elements such as decorative rocks, stones, or shells. There are also very realistic plastic plants available nowadays, though this is a matter of taste and for myself, I prefer not to have any dust-catching plastic plants in my bathroom.

More About Plant Care

How to Grow Houseplants in Water?

Many houseplants, specifically tropical ones, can be grown in soil or in water. For growing plants in just water, there are some essential tips to keep in mind for their regular care. If grown in water, you should definitely have a good fertilizing routine.

Find out what else you should consider for growing plants in just water in my post linked here, including 7 plant types that grow well in water.

What Counts as Direct or Indirect Light?

It is not always easy to interpret the tiny plant labels that come along with a newly bought plant. What does half shade actually mean and how many hours of light per day is that?

I’ve summed up all you need to know about direct and indirect light in my post and also included helpful tips on how to figure out the light conditions in your home.

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