Adding a bit of nature’s flora is a simple and inexpensive way to brighten any space. In fact, most houseplants act as nature’s air purifiers, making them a visually appealing upgrade that can help keep your home clean and healthy, especially in a bathroom.
Normally, washrooms have fluctuating temperatures, high levels of humidity and varying amounts of sunlight, which make them an ideal home for many houseplants. However, while those conditions could be a tropical paradise for some greenery, other varieties might barely survive a five-minute shower without wilting — so choosing the right plant to suit the environment is crucial.
Whether you are working with a bright and sunny space or one that has minimal light, here are several houseplants that can thrive in the bathroom.
If Your Washroom is Bright
Want to give your lavatory the ambiance of a luxury spa? Try the orchid. Not only will these beautiful flowers look elegant on a vanity or window ledge, but they also thrive in warm and humid conditions.
Orchids are low maintenance and keep their gorgeous petals for months on end. They are grown in bark instead of soil and prefer the material to be damp (not wet) — perfect for frequent, steamy showers. Some easy-to-care-for varieties of orchids include Dendrobium, Phalaenopsis, and Paphiopedilums, all of which tend to do well in indirect light.
2. Heartleaf Philodendrons
With small, shiny, heart-shaped leaves, this vining plant is low-maintenance because it shows you exactly what it needs. If its leaves turn brown, give it more water. On the other hand, if the shrub turns yellow, go easy on the watering can.
Heartleaf philodendrons prefer moderate light but are able to tolerate low light as well. They are a great option for beginners and a good choice for any bathroom since they grow bigger in higher humidity. However, this leafy green is toxic to animals, so this may not be the best plant if you have pets.
These unique, colorful plants are related to pineapples and do best in medium to bright indirect light. Bromeliads produce long-lasting blooms and don’t need frequent watering. However, when you do water it, be sure to aim the water down the “tank” — the central part of the leaves, which serves as a reservoir.
Many species of this houseplant are epiphytic organisms, meaning they draw moisture from the air rather than the soil. For this reason, it’s a good idea to run the bathroom exhaust fan a few hours each day to provide adequate air circulation.
If Your Bathroom Gets Minimal Light
Some powder rooms only get a few hours of light through small or frosted windows. If this sounds like your space, consider a low-light plant that won’t be bothered by the lack of sunshine.
1. Snake Plants
Also known as “mother-in-law’s tongue,” hardy snake plants are beloved by beginners and plant pros alike thanks to their stunning appearance and simple care requirements. They can survive on low light, minimal water and in any humidity level.
As an added bonus, these plants help filter indoor air pollution that can be caused by household cleaning products, making them a great choice for the bathroom.
2. Peace Lilies
With its green, glossy leaves and beautiful white flowers, the peace lily makes an attractive, elegant addition to any washroom. It thrives in low-light conditions and has a reputation for purifying the air. The natural humidity of your bathroom will help keep the plant moist, so you shouldn’t need to water it too often.
3. Zanzibar Gems
Characterized by waxy, emerald green leaves, the Zanzibar gem — also known as the ZZ plant — tolerates low-light environments and needs little water. This verdant variety is also called the eternity plant for its ability to withstand long periods of drought or neglect. The ZZ plant will typically do fine in a bathroom without a window since it can survive in fluorescent lighting.
Introducing greenery in the bathroom provides a welcome burst of nature in a space that can sometimes feel sterile and devoid of color. Try displaying these humidity-loving plants on mounted shelves, windowsills or in hanging pots — especially if you have limited counter space. To learn more about the various plant species that can thrive in a bathroom environment, see the accompanying infographic.
Graphic created by Modern Bathroom, an online bathroom store.