Plenty of studies have shown the benefits of having plants around the house, and even having them in the office can make for a calmer working environment. But we never really see plants in the bathroom, which is baffling as the steamy humid conditions can be heaven for some types of plants. They'll help create a more pleasant space, giving your bathroom an instant makeover while also improving air quality (which is something that can be pretty rubbish in the small confines of a bathroom). Plants also help lower stress levels, which makes them perfect for the bathroom as that's a space where you want to let your stress just soak away
Sure, you can't just stick any old plant in the bathroom as that's a quick route to a wilted plant. However, there are plenty of plants that will flourish in the low-light and humid environment that makes up the average bathroom, you just need to do your research before you go out and choose a plant. But that's why you've arrived here!
Before we get to the list below there are a few things you need to remember. Succulents and evergreens should stay away, as the former will quickly rot and the latter develops powdery mildew when exposed to high humidity conditions. If you know that a plant prefers dry conditions, it's a safe bet that it's not suitable for the bathroom.
You also need to take into account that the bathroom can be cold for the majority of the day, and suddenly hot when someone turns on the shower, so plants that can't deal with big temperature fluctuations are off the table too. Finally, remember that bathrooms don't tend to have a low of sunlight, even bathrooms with windows, but fluorescent bulbs can solve that issue.
With that out of the way, let's get to the list of the best bathroom plants!
Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are a common sight in homes as they can easily adapt to different environments and are simple to grow. Spider plants are great at removing carbon monoxide and formaldehyde from the air in a moist environment, improving the air quality in your bathroom. However, do be aware that they prefer cooler temperatures. As your bathroom will likely be cool when you're not using it, it's a good plant for all situations.
They love to grow in tight spaces, so you don't have to use a big pot, making it an ideal plant for a small bathroom. Ensure that the room is well lit and remember to water it a couple of times a week. While you can place it in front of a window if the window doesn't receive much light, don't put it in that location if it receives a lot of direct sunlight as the leaves will scorch.
Overtime the spider plant will sprout small buds in the form of white flowers. These can be removed and re-potted to start a new spider plant.
Covering a wide range of species in various genera, orchids are tropical plants that flourish in humid environments, which makes them a great plant for a bathroom that doesn't get too cold. While some orchids are planted in soil, others are epihytes (air plants) that absorb their moisture from the air instead of the soil.
The great thing about orchids is that they're pretty small, so gathering together multiple orchids can create an eye-catching look in your bathroom. The amount of light that each plant needs really depends on the species, as some love bright light while others prefer moderate light. As such, the best location is the bathroom windowsill in indirect sunlight.
While you may be more used to seeing aloe vera in things like hand cream thanks to the soothing properties of its juice, they're a great plant to stick in the bathroom too. These tropical perennial plants are quick to grow and are capable of nicely flourishing through ups and downs in temperature. Moreover, as it's a succulent it doesn't require much care from you.
The only downside is that aloe vera requires a lot of bright indirect lighting to remain at its best, so sticking it near to the bathroom window is a must. It's a stunning plant when it's at its full potential.
The great thing about bamboo (Bambusoidea) is that it can flourish in a range of light levels and doesn't even require soil to grow. All you need is sandy potting, which can be mixed with pebbles for a fab look, although it can also grow in most potting soil mixes. Because you'll be growing bamboo in a container, it won't be able to quickly spread as it does in nature, but a clumping form of bamboo is probably best as it's easier to control and won't require repotting as often as other varieties. But do be aware that it will still need repotting every year or so.
One of my favourite plants due to how beautiful it looks, the lush peace lily (Spathiphyllum) genus actually contains about 40 species. Their stunning leaves do a great job of filtering the air, while the humidity of bathroom air and regular watering makes for an excellent cocktail that will ensure the peace lily blooms to its full potential. While they cope well when light is limited, a peace lily that isn't flowering will need a little more light, but ensure this is filtered light and not direct sunlight.
Also known as 'mother-in-law's tongue', the snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) is the prime choice if you want a plant that you don't have to remember to take care of often. They can be neglected for weeks at a time, yet their long leaves still remain bright and fresh. While they prefer to be in bright light, they can also handle low light pretty well so you don't have to worry too much if your bathroom doesn't receive a massive amount of light (and who's does?).
Aside from looking great and being easy to care for, snake plants also help keep the air of your bathroom free from toxins, such as those found in common bathroom cleaning products. Sometimes the leaves can droop as they get longer, so holding them together with twine is the best way to keep them growing upright.
Normally found in a hanging basket, the asparagus fern (Asparagus aethiopicus) features a feathery appearance that can give the impression that it's soft to the touch. However, do be aware that they have thorny spurs, so it's probably not the best plant if you have small children in your home. For everyone else, these plants look gorgeous once it's grown to a generous length, and it can go as long as two years before you need to repot it.
While the plant requires regular watering, it also normally requires misting when grown indoors. However, as you'll be placing it in the bathroom you may not need to do this thanks to the humid environment, but be sure to keep an eye on it just in case.
The cast iron plant, or the Aspidistra elatior to give it its proper name, is popular houseplant thanks to being hardy. Moreover, it can survive in some pretty extreme conditions, outliving those who had long since given up. Its healthy green leaves are extremely easy to grow indoors, growing well in low light and not requiring an awful lot of regular watering. Ensure you let the soil completely dry out between watering's for it to be its best.
Don't expect a cast iron plant to grow fast, but once it's fully grown it can stick around for years.
The sword fern (Nephrolepis exaltata), also known as the Boston Fern, is right at home in a humid environment as it's native to tropical environments around the world. These beautiful ferns are easy to keep lush in a bathroom environment. They only require a low natural light level, and the humidity caused by a hot shower is the good stuff to this plant. You don't need to spend much time maintaining them, and they'll happily sit in a corner looking fantastic.
Now you know the best bathroom plants, go forth and turn your bathroom into a green haven!
Want some more tips on how to create a greener bathroom? Read our tips on reducing plastic waste in the bathroom.