Best bathroom plants – 10 that thrive in humid environments
The best bathroom plants love humidity and will help to bring this often overlooked room to life, creating a lush and relaxing oasis
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The best bathroom plants will instantly give your bathroom a lift, the added greenery creating a spa-like experience and a calming, zen feel.
There is a place in every room for an indoor plant, and the bathroom is no exception. In fact, a well-lit bathroom provides a unique opportunity for houseplants as it is generally the most humid room in the home.
With careful selection of the best bathroom plants, you can take advantage of these unique conditions to give this room a truly tropical and contemporary feel as part of your bathroom ideas. For a real jungle ambience, there are even plants you can hang in the shower.
Added to which, some of the choices are among the best feng shui plants, so can add to the positive energy in your home.
Best bathroom plants – what to consider
The quintessential horticultural mantra of ‘right plant, right place’ is just as relevant in the house as it is in the garden. Many of the best plants for the bathroom are those that thrive in warm, humid environments, for example those native to rainforest habitats. For this reason, just as there are best bathroom plants, there are plants you should never keep in your bathroom.
‘Plants that love humidity are great for bathrooms and will thrive because the bathroom replicates their natural tropical climate. They’re often hot, humid and bright, which are three things moisture-loving plants need to be happy and healthy,’ says Morag Hill, Co-Founder of The Little Botanical (opens in new tab).
‘Having plants in your bathroom can help create an instant spa-like vibe too, when you’re getting ready in the morning or winding down in the evening.’ Plus, as some are among the best air cleaning indoor plants, they can help to keep your room fresh.
Of course, conditions in bathrooms can differ significantly in terms of temperature, humidity and the amount of direct sunlight received, so not all of these plants for the bathroom may be suitable for your own space – assess your room's conditions.
It’s also worth remembering that primary bathrooms that are used regularly will be much more humid than, for example, guest bathrooms. For primary bathrooms these are the best bathroom plants – for rarely-used bathrooms that aren’t especially humid, consider one of the best low-maintenance houseplants.
1. Boston Fern – Nephrolepis exaltata
Native to the rainforests of tropical America, the Boston fern is the quintessential best bathroom plant. While some ferns have a reputation for being fussy, this is the easiest to look after of them all. The Boston fern’s lush fronds are sure to transform any bathroom, whether nestled at the side of the sink or bath or displayed in a lovely hanging pot.
‘The Boston Fern is used to high humidity as its natural environment is a damp forest floor, so it’s happiest in the bathroom absorbing the humidity in the air after a steamy shower or a bath,’ says Morag.
This easy fern has the added benefit of purifying the air and removing toxins such as formaldehyde, xylene and toluene from the air. It’s even a pet friendly houseplant.
Enjoying a bright position out of direct sunlight, Boston fern is easy to please. ‘Just don’t forget to give him a weekly drink directly into the soil, as Boston Fern won’t thank you if their soil is left to dry out too much,’ Morag recommends. Also make sure you know how to care for house plants in winter so you water them at the correct time.
2. Heartleaf Philodendron – Philodendron hederaceum
Heartleaf Philodendron are another easy, low-maintenance choice as plants for the bathroom, which are great for beginners.
‘The Philodendron Heartleaf is one of the most forgiving plants as it can tolerate neglect of all sorts, including low light and inconsistent watering,’ says Lindsay Pangborn, Bloomscape’s (opens in new tab) gardening expert. They are good low light plants for bathrooms that get less sunlight.
Another great air-cleanser, this gorgeously glossy rainforest plant is perfect for cascading from a bathroom shelf out of direct sunlight. ‘It’s also a great hanging plant if you’re looking to add some visual height, due to its trailing heart-shaped leaves,’ says Lindsay. ‘Its graceful trailing nature creates a serene environment that’s perfect for a space meant for self-care.’ So if you're looking for spa bathroom ideas, adding some of these plants would be a good tip.
As well as being a great bathroom plant, with their these pretty heart shaped leaves, these are great as bedroom plants or to decorate shelves as kitchen plants.
3. Calathea ‘Freddie’ – Prayer Plant
The bold zebra stripes of this stunning Brazilian native make an eye-catching addition to any bathroom. ‘Thriving in bright light and high humidity, the Calathea ‘Freddie’ is a great option as a plant for the bathroom if you’re looking to add another plant with unique decorative foliage,’ says Lindsay. Choosing houseplants with varied foliage is among the many ways of decorating with plants.
Position these best bathroom plants in a bright spot out of direct sunlight and water when the top third of the soil has dried out to ensure the root ball remains moist.
The leaves of this striking prayer plant close up at night before opening up to greet you again in the morning.
Find out how to care for a peacock plant, as they are also known, to keep them happy and healthy.
4. Trailing jade plant – Peperomia rotundifolia
The trailing jade plant is a fantastic choice if your bathroom has no window. ‘This plant copes well under artificial or fluorescent light, making it perfect for low-light bathrooms,’ Morag of The Little Botanical explains. For this reason it is also among the best winter house plants and is also another pet friendly option.
Peperomia rotundifolia is native to the rainforests of Central and tropical South America, where it grows on trees as an epiphyte. To mimic its natural habitat, try hanging this cascading best bathroom plant in the shower for a truly spa-like experience.
‘As a tropical plant, it also needs plenty of moisture, so it’ll benefit from the steam of a warm bath or shower,’ says Morag. Other than ensuring it receives plenty of water, trailing jade plant is low-maintenance and easy to look after, rarely needing re-potting.
5. Chinese money plant – Pilea peperomioides
Pilea peperomioides is the perfect addition as a bathroom shelf idea or for adding to a bathboard, says Morag. ‘The Chinese Money Plant loves a humid environment. The key to keeping the leaves of this plant dark green is all to do with how much moisture is in the air. As long as it gets enough moisture, the leaves will remain their dark green color.’
Boasting quirky round leaves rather like lily pads, as well as being one of the best bathroom plants, the Chinese money plant is also one of the most popular houseplants. It has an easy-going and forgiving nature, tolerating a certain amount of neglect when it comes to watering. However, grow your Pilea in a bright spot without too much scorching sunlight, and water whenever the top of the compost has dried out, and it will thank you by producing scores of glossy leaves and even some baby plants around the base.
6. Asparagus fern – Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri'
Thriving in high humidity, the asparagus fern is another great plant for the bathroom, says Emily Lawlor, owner of Happy Houseplants (opens in new tab). ‘Beautiful cascading stems make the asparagus fern ideal for a hanging basket,’ she explains.
Actually in the lily family, this southern African fern lookalike boasts gently arching feathery ‘fronds’ that are perfect for softening bathroom wall tiles. ‘It is a perfect plant to use in clusters; its foliage mixes beautifully with other houseplants,’ says Emily.
Asparagus fern thrives in a bright spot out of direct sunlight, with regular watering to ensure the compost remains moist but not soggy.
7. Flamingo flower – Anthurium andraeanum
If you want to create a statement in your bathroom with the best bathroom plants, look no further than the unique and striking shiny red flower bracts (spathes) of the flamingo flower.
‘Anthurium andraeanum makes a great houseplant, with elongated leaves and long-lasting, highly ornamental flowers that are popular with florists the world over,’ says Emily, and are a lovely colourful, decorative accessory if you're looking for ways to organise a bathroom countertop.
Hailing from Colombia and Ecuador, flamingo flower is perfect for channelling that sought-after tropical jungle vibe. ‘They thrive in a bright room with plenty of humidity; steamy bathrooms are perfect!’
8. Tradescantia fluminensis ‘Nanouk’ – inch plant, spiderwort, wandering dude
Tradescantia fluminensis ‘Nanouk’ is a compact variety of this popular and fast-growing houseplant, and also one of the most eye-catching. With a shimmering sheen, each leaf is a work of art: the green upper surfaces painted with pale pink stripes, and the undersides a bright violet. Young leaves also appear purple at first, before turning green. No wonder this wandering dude has become an Instagram sensation.
Spiderwort looks beautiful in a hanging basket or container, where it will hang over the sides. It also loves humidity, so is ideal for bright bathrooms,’ says Emily from Happy Houseplants. ‘It’s a classic 70s houseplant making a huge comeback, and for good reason – its easy-care nature makes it hard not to love,’ she adds.
To keep these plants for the bathroom happy, simply place in bright, indirect light, and water whenever the top layer of compost has dried out.
9. Moth orchid – Phalaenopsis
Phalaenopsis orchids are epiphytes, meaning that in their natural habitat – the rainforests of South and Southeast Asia and Northeast Australia – they grow on trees, where they take in moisture from the air using their thick aerial roots. This makes them ideal for growing in humid bathrooms, where they will happily absorb moisture from the air.
Phalaenopsis – or moth orchids – are some of the easiest orchids to grow, making them very popular as houseplants and gifts and it is easy to get to grips with orchid care. They also produce extremely long-lasting flowers that will add a stately and luxurious feel to any bathroom.
The waxy blooms, which come in a huge array of colors and patterns, can last for up to six months. Choose a white Phalaenopsis for pure elegance, or bold pink blooms for a pop of color. Despite their exotic beauty, Phalaenopsis are unfussy and withstand a certain amount of neglect. All they need to thrive is high humidity, a bright spot out of direct sunlight, and for water to be run over the whole plant every week or so. Make sure you also know when to repot orchids to keep them blooming.
10. Air plant – Tillandsia
For something a little different and a little quirky in your bathroom, try a tillandsia. These fun, spiky plants are a unique and mess-free option, requiring no soil, and instead absorbing all the moisture they need from the air.
Sometimes air plants come mounted on a piece of driftwood or inside a sea urchin to give the appearance of a jellyfish – perfect for a beach bathroom feel – or you can place your tillandsia inside a glass bowl for a minimalist look.
Air plants are straightforward to look after – all they require is a humid environment and bright, indirect light. Also, make sure you know how to water an air plant to keep it happy and healthy – if you find your air plant turning brown then check if you are watering it too little or too often, and its position.
They are perfect for hanging in the shower, or elsewhere in the bathroom, in which case they will enjoy being dunked in water for 2-3 hours each fortnight. Give these cute and quirky plants a go.
Is it ok to put a plant in the bathroom?
It is ok to put a plant in the bathroom, but it is a matter of right plant, right place. Certain plants will thrive better in the warm, humid conditions of a bathroom than in any other room of the house – just make sure you consider the natural habitat of a plant when you’re choosing one for your bathroom.
Thriving bathroom plants will create a calming and luxurious feel, absorb excess moisture and clean the air, as well as making a wonderful decorative feature.
Are succulents good for bathrooms?
Succulents will generally not thrive in the high humidity of a regularly used bathroom. This is because they are adapted to dry, low-humidity habitats and are prone to rotting in damp conditions
They are very popular and make fantastic low-maintenance houseplants if you know how to care for succulents, and most will thrive in a sunny spot in a little-used or guest bathroom.
However, there is one very versatile and easy-to-please succulent that can handle the higher humidity of a regularly used bathroom quite well, which is the coppertone sedum, Sedum adolphi.
After studying Plant Sciences at Oxford University, Olivia trained as a professional horticulturist. She has been lucky enough to work in public and botanic gardens all around the UK. Her work has even taken her across Europe, from helping to curate a botanic garden in the Swiss Alps, to studying the native flora of Tenerife. Now a full-time writer, she enjoys nothing more than sharing her love of plants and gardens with others.
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