Once you know which houseplants are best for the bathroom, you can turn this functional space into a tropical oasis. Beautiful green foliage makes the perfect addition to any room but there's nothing like a leafy bathroom to make this space seem fresh and bright, and thanks to their steamy conditions they also make the perfect spot for humidity-loving plants.
Just like us, plants can be picky with their preferences. Some love dry and warm conditions while others thrive in low light in a more moist environment. This is why it's important to carefully consider what sort of greenery would work best in your bathroom before you begin decorating with plants.
Since the bathroom is usually the most steamy spot in our homes, it's best to look for plants that prefer humidity. Here, we ask the experts for their top picks for plants that will do well in a bathroom setting.
Lilith is an expert at following news and trends across the world of interior design. She regularly shares simple solutions to help brighten our homes and a personal favorite is houseplants. With a father who's a gardener and a mother who's a florist, she also knows a thing or two about their benefits. For this piece she spoke with three plant experts to find out which houseplants work best in the bathroom.
What are the best plants for bathrooms?
'You’ll also need to consider other conditions, such as the frequent changes in temperature,' says Jo Lambell, founder of Beards & Daisies. 'You could opt for a tropical plant such as a fern as these plants love humidity so will thrive from the steam in your bathroom. Alternatively, you could go for a plant that is un-phased by the differing levels in temperature and is virtually unkillable, such as a Snake Plant.'
Whether you're a green-thumbed veteran or looking for the best houseplants for beginners, these experts share their favorite plants that are best suited for the bathroom for you to introduce in your own home.
1. Peace Lily
A classic houseplant favorite that will happily inhabit your bathroom is the Peace Lily. This pretty plant with its stylish dark leaves produces elegant white bracts that point to the sky, making it a beautiful addition to any space.
It's also one of the best houseplants that clean the air. 'Not just a pretty face, it’s very easy to care for and makes a fantastic air purifier, removing toxins such as formaldehyde, ammonia and carbon monoxide,' says Jo of Beards & Daisies (opens in new tab). 'According to the Chinese art of Feng Shui, it can also cleanse the energy of a room.'
Originating from the rainforests of South America, the Peace Lily loves damp soil and benefits from the occasional spray with a spritzer. Fortunately, the mist of a bathroom will mirror these conditions, meaning you won't need to spritz it as often as you would elsewhere in the home. It won't tolerate cold temperatures however, so it's best to keep it away from a window in the winter.
2. Boston Fern
Another air purifying Feng Shui plant that will flourish in your bathroom is the Boston Fern. This fronded friend has bushy, feather like leaves that fill an empty looking corner beautifully and lend themselves well to a hanger.
According to Richard Cheshire, plant doctor at Patch Plants (opens in new tab), they're also big fans of humidity. 'The Boston Fern thrives anywhere wet, hot and not too bright,' he says. 'Put her in the bathroom and watch her bask in the steam. She's a bright green with wide fronds that will contribute bold color to your bathroom.'
If your bathroom or shower room is particularly shady, this houseplant will also tolerate lower light conditions and brighten any dim and damp corners. 'Coming from a rainforest habitat, these plants like indirect light and humid conditions,' Jo explains. 'Therefore, homing the Boston Fern in the bathroom is a great way for them to get the frequent moisture they crave.' She's quick to note that this fern can be a little temperamental at times, so make sure you tend to its needs regularly.
3. Snake Plant
If you prefer a plant that's a little more forgiving, why not add a Snake Plant to your bathroom? When it comes to caring for a Snake Plant these spikey looking beauties love to be neglected and they're virtually indestructible, making them perfect for new plant parents.
The stiff pointed leaves, often variegated in color, have been a popular sight among are homes for decades. 'It’s easy to see why the Snake Plant is one of our best-sellers,' says Jo. 'Not only do its long leaves make for a real striking silhouette, but it really is made of tough stuff making it one of the easiest plants to care for.'
Interestingly, the Snake Plant - also referred to as Mother-in-Law's tongue - originates from the desert, so it doesn't like to be over-watered. With that in mind, you might be wondering why it makes a good addition to a moist bathroom, but its air purifying capabilities and hardiness make it perfect for such a humid spot. 'Low light, infrequent watering and influxes of temperature are no match for the Snake Plant,' Jo adds.
4. Kentia Palm
This next humidity-loving houseplant is a firm favorite of many an interior designer. The Kentia Palm is a slow-grower with tall fanned leaves that make for an elegant potted plant for the the floor.
'It's luscious tall stems and long, glossy, green leaves fan out to make quite the impression,' explains Viki O'Hagan from The Stem (opens in new tab). 'The Kentia Palm is one of the most versatile plants around and can cope in shady and humid conditions. Usually it likes being misted regularly so showers and baths nearby are great at keeping the foliage fresh and airy.'
Another excellent air pollutant, the Kentia Palm is also great for a bathroom or shower room where we regularly spray deodorant and other aerosols. 'The range of sizes available, from 13 to 60 inches in height, means you’ll also find one suitable to fit any bathroom size,' Viki says. If those benefits alone weren't enough, it's also one of the best pet-friendly houseplants too.
5. Golden Pothos
If you're looking for a trailing plant that suits a bathroom environment, the Golden Pathos is a safe bet. This leafy classic - also called Devil's Ivy - naturalized in temperate tropical and subtropical regions which makes it perfect for a steamy bathroom environment.
These long stemmed plants will look best in a hanger or placed on a high shelf. As Viki notes: 'The golden pothos loves to hang, climb or trail and its trailing vines make it one of the most popular houseplants thanks to their easy care requirements and ability to transform rooms into a lush tropical paradise.'
A Golden Pothos plant thrives in warm, humid conditions so they're well suited to a bathroom. It does best in indirect light so it will be perfectly happy away from a windowsill, but it will still thrive if it's exposed to light since this plant is particularly hardy.
6. String of Nickels
Another popular trailing plant is the String of Nickels, and it will thrive just as well in your bathroom too. Native to tropical regions of India, Asia, and Australia, it comes as no surprise that it likes warm, humid conditions that are often replicated in a bathroom.
'The Sting of Nickels loves moist air, soaking up moisture from the atmosphere,' says Richards. 'What's more, he doesn't need much light.' When it comes to how often you should water this houseplant, it will probably only need a drink every week or fortnight thanks to its natural ability to soak up water from the air
'Hang him from a shelf or even the shower and he'll be more than happy dangling handsomely down, adding layers to your room,' Richard advises.
What plants don't suit a bathroom?
Houseplants that originate from arid environments, such as cacti and succulents, are probably not the best choice for a bathroom. Instead, look for plants that are native to the tropic and found in rainforests, such as ferns and palms. You should also pay attention to the lighting in your bathroom. Varieties that need lots of light might not be the best choice, unless you have a light, bright bathroom. If it's a dim spot with lots of shady corners, you'll want to incorporate the best plants for low light, instead.
Lilith Hudson is the Junior Writer on Livingetc, and an expert at decoding trends and reporting on them as they happen. Writing news articles for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration that you need in your home. She discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. Lilith now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London (a degree where she could combine both) and has previously worked at the Saturday Times Magazine, ES Magazine, DJ Mag and The Simple Things Magazine.
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