The right house plant can transform your bathroom into a lush oasis of calm. However bathrooms are not known for being very plant-friendly. All too often bathrooms have tiny, frosted windows which let in minimal light, and the high levels of moisture can be enough to rot more sensitive houseplants.
Fortunately, however, there are still a surprising number of house plants that won’t just survive – but will actually thrive – in such conditions. Here are some of the best…
Much renowned for it’s sap, which offers moisturising and anti-bacterial properties, this succulent performs well in the bathroom.
Try to give it the sunniest spot you can, and take care to position it on a shelf or windowsill where you won’t accidentally brush against its spiny leaves.
Aloe Vera is also known for having air-purifying capabilities, which can be an added benefit in muggy bathroom conditions.
The begonia is a much-loved plant, known for it’s attractive waxy leaves and brightly-coloured flowers.
Of course, these leaves didn’t evolve to please the eyes of humans; they’re actually an adaption to living on the forest floor, where experiments have shown that this particular design helps them to utilise as much of the available sunlight as possible. This forest-dwelling heritage makes them an ideal candidate for bathrooms offering very little light.
Surely one of the most elegant bathroom plants of all, the Boston Fern loves a moist, humid environment. In nature, they are often found in shady woodland, living alongside mosses near rivers and streams, where the humid conditions offer the perfect growing conditions.
Possibly one of the best-known plants for bathrooms is the regal Dracaena, which offers rosettes of lush foliage atop woody stems.
These plants like a bright growing area, but without direct sunlight. This makes them ideal for bathrooms as the bright tiling and small windows can make for the ideal conditions.
The higher the humidity, the better they will grow. When grown outside the bathroom many people place these plants into trays filled with pebbles, then add water.
This water evaporates, raising the humidity, while the pebbles stop the Dracaena roots from getting damaged. In a bathroom environment, of course, the atmosphere is naturally humid, which makes for ideal growing conditions.
One of the toughest houseplants of all, ivy will grow well even in the dimmest corner.
With their gentle, trailing stems, this is an ideal plant to pop on the corner of a bath, or even hang from the ceiling, where the luxurious leaves can gently work their way around your other bathroom decor.
This giant from the tropical rainforests can, with optimum conditions, reach the size of a large tree. With their glossy green leaves, each with slits or holes missing from them, it is little surprise that this plant is also known as the “Swiss Cheese Plant”.
A warm and humid environment is perfect for this plant, while it has evolved to deal with the dim sunlight of a rainforest floor.
Unlike many of the other bathroom plants discussed so far, the peace lily is notable not only for it’s beautiful foliage, but also for the perfect white flowers which are produced regularly.
They are much-loved plants due to their hardy and almost indestructible nature; perfect for the less green-fingered among us!
Note that the plant is mildly toxic, so take care if you have free-roaming cats or dogs in your home, to make sure they can’t nibble on its leaves.
Philodendron is less of a “showy” houseplant than many of those discussed here. Indeed, many would argue that it’s relatively small waxy leaves are quite understated in appearance. However, don’t let this put you off, as such a gentle plant can really add style and class to your bathroom.
Well-known for their air-purifying abilities, there are quite a few different varieties available from garden centres, from upright-growing specimens to those which naturally clamber and climb. They will deal with almost any intensity of light, and can safely be popped out into the garden during warmer weather to let them soak up some rays.
Superficially quite similar to philodendron, pothos tends to have more variegated leaves than its cousin. Pothos leaves are typically heart-shaped, and are borne on long, rambling stems.
Note that unlike some other species, pothos requires slightly more light, without which it may start to drop its leaves. They can also be a little fussy with their moisture requirements, so only water them when the compost is drying out nicely.
Spider plants are one of the best-known houseplants of all, and will regularly produce new baby plants on runners when conditions are ideal.
This means that one single baby plant can rapidly turn into a forest (if you do desire!).
Spider plants are hardy individuals, capable of dealing with almost anything you throw at them.
The one issue that some growers have experienced are that the leaves can die back at the tips, turning brown and unsightly. The good news is that this is normally due to an environment that is too dry, making them an ideal addition to the humid environment of your bathroom.
Also known as “Mother-in-Laws Tongue” this is one of the most sculptural houseplants listed here, and is well-known for it’s ability to filter and clean the air in your home. The long leaves grow right from the base of the plant, typically possessing a yellow border around the green centre.
Hailing from the tropics of West Africa, this species is one of the forgiving of all houseplants, with no special requirements regarding humidity. They like a little more sunlight than many other houseplants, so try popping them nearer to a window than you might with ivies or ferns.
Images c/o Dendroica cerulea, Lauren Gutierrez, Scot Nelson, Serres Fortier & Kai Yan, Joseph Wong.