You often don’t see a lot of plants in bathrooms, mostly because the environment there is a bit of a wildcard. Bathrooms have fluctuating temperatures, constant humidity, and lots (or a little) of sunlight depending on what direction windows face and how many there are. You need hearty plant babies to survive those kinds of variable conditions, but lucky for us, there are plenty to choose from that fit the bill. We tapped Erin Marino, director of brand marketing at The Sill, and Joyce Mast, “Plant Mom” from Bloomscape, for their recommendations on what thrives in the bathroom.
The 10 Best Plants for Your Bathroom
As a general rule, Marino suggests targeting plants that can thrive in a warm, humid environment that a bathroom provides. How do you know what plants prefer those conditions? As a general rule, “Think of the plant’s native environment: Pick plants that call tropical places home,” Marino says. With that in mind, these picks made our best bathroom plants list.
Add a touch of nature to your bathroom with the help of bird’s nest fern. These leafy plants like moderate, indirect light, so make sure you don’t put it directly on your window sill. According to Marino, it’s arguably one of the easiest ferns to keep alive indoors. “Native to areas of Southeast Asia and Polynesia, the bird’s nest fern loves the extra moisture a bathroom can provide,” she says. “Its large wavy leaves can create instant jungle vibes in any space.”
Since pothos like moderate to low, indirect light, it’s the perfect plant to put on a bathroom shelf or counter. “Although pothos doesn’t necessarily need the extra humidity, it’s a great pick for a bathroom because it’s tolerant of lower light levels and irregular watering,” Marino says. And it’s a tough plant—pothos are so easy to care for, they’re black thumb proof. “Also it’s a super quick grower that loves to hang and trail—it’s perfect for hanging off your shower curtain rod,” Marino adds.
3. Tillandsia / Air Plant
Air plants are great for the bathroom because they can soak up the humidity right from your showers and baths. Plus, they give you more room for creativity when it comes to display, since they don’t need planters or potting mix. “Instead of using roots to absorb water and nutrients, air plants absorb both from the air,” Marino says. “They will tolerate a wide range of conditions but are happiest in a spot with bright, indirect light and high humidity. If you have a bathroom with a big sunny window, then these fellas are for you.”
Since we’re talking about bathroom plants, your plant might as well have some beauty benefits attached to what you choose, no? That’s where aloe vera comes in. “The gooey insides of the Aloe plant’s leaves can be used to help soothe skin, heal minor burns, reduce itch, and more. “Simply slice off a mature leaf at the base of the plant, squeeze out the interior ‘gel’, and apply directly to your skin,” Marino says. These plants like bright, direct light. For best growing results, be sure to place yours in a spot that’s not too far away from a window.
Like the bird’s nest, the staghorn fern loves the extra humidity a bathroom offers, so it won’t be mad at you for taking a longer shower. But it also needs bright to moderate, indirect light to thrive. “We can envision it potted on your bathroom’s windowsill or even mounted on a piece of wood and hung on the bathroom wall,” says Marino. “In their native environment, staghorn ferns are epiphytes, which means they live on trees instead of in the soil (like air plants).” This is why the wood mounting idea works, and it’s a great alternative if you’re short on space and can’t fit any potted plants in your bathroom.
6. Calathea “Freddie”
The majority of calathea flourish in humid environments, so it’s a great plant to spruce up your bathroom. And since it enjoys moderate, indirect light, you don’t have to worry about how small your bathroom window is or whether it’s placed too far away from it. “The calathea ‘Freddie’ is one of our favorites because it’s more tolerant of low light than other varieties,” Marino says.
The Chinese Evergreen is a great plant for the bathroom because it is so hearty. It even thrives when you forget to water it, so it’s a great choice if you travel a lot or can be a little forgetful. It’s also very adaptive; it prefers low or indirect light but also grows well in bright spots. It loves humidity but doesn’t like quick temperature changes. Keep your windows closed on chillier days to avoid strong drafts that might disrupt its growth.
Gardenias are tropical, so they’re at home in humid bathroom air. They thrive with bright, indirect light, so think morning sun and afternoon shade. “Gardenias are a beautiful plant that needs a little bit more sun to thrive and flower,” says Mast. “If you have a window in your bathroom that gets at least four hours of sun, for example, south or west-facing, this would be a perfect spot to add a gardenia.”
The snake plant is nearly impossible to kill, making it a great, non-finicky option for the bathroom. It grows faster in bright light, but it can tolerate less light as well. Its origins are in West Africa, so it can handle desert-like conditions, too. “Snake plants need very little water and thrive on neglect, so they are a perfect addition for someone who is new to plants or needs a plant that doesn’t mind being forgotten from time to time,” Mast says.
Spider plants are another no-fuss option. They can tolerate low light or bright light, but make sure they’re not in full sun, or they will scorch. They like a little humidity, so your baths and showers are a plus for them. You can cut and propagate spiderettes from a parent plant, so you get a lot of bang for your buck with this species.
A word to the wise: If your bathroom doesn’t have windows, a live plant probably isn’t the best idea. “Light is food for plants, and they need it to survive,” says Marino. “A plant might tolerant no natural light for an extended period of time but not for the long run.” She recommends opting for preserved or faux plants instead.
If you have a plant in mind for your bathroom that’s not on this list, keep this checklist from The Sill in mind when decorating with your plants:
Now go and get your grow on in the bathroom!