17 Best Houseplants for Your Bathroom

By: Victoria Carter

17 Best Houseplants for Your Bathroom

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Shared by Victoria Carter of TwoMoveYou Guaranteed Real Estate Systems, Century 21 in Brighton, Ontario.  Written by Marie Lannotti

 Living plants make bathrooms more pleasant places for users, improving the decor and air quality. And bathrooms can be good environments for plants, too. A bathroom is typically a warm, humid room that provides the perfect environment for plants, and water to irrigate the plants is always close at hand. But you still need to make your choices wisely. The bathroom environment is not perfect all the time, and not all plants are well suited for the conditions found in a bathroom.

  • Even though there is plenty of warm, humid air during shower time, the room can get much colder when left empty for hours, especially at night. These wide temperature fluctuations are not ideal for many plants.
  • Not all plants enjoy high humidity. Succulents prefer drier conditions and will rot if kept constantly moist. And evergreens and several other plants may develop powdery mildew in high humidity.
  • Many bathrooms have low levels of sunlight, if they have windows at all. Do not give up if that is the case with your bathroom. Fluorescent bulbs provide plenty of light in wavelengths that plants can use.

These three factors—low light, high humidity, and temperature swings—need to be considered when choosing plants for a bathroom. Here are suggestions for plants that will do in average bathroom conditions.

Asparagus Fern (Asparagus densiflorus)

Airy, lacy asparagus fern loves the humidity of a bathroom. It does well in either moderate or bright light, so a spot by a window is best. Asparagus ferns may look soft to the touch, but the stems have thorns, so beware. It can grow to 2 feet high, but with branches that can sprawl laterally as much as 6 feet. Asparagus fern can go as long as two years before it requires repotting.

Warning :This plant is highly toxic—keep away from pets and small children.

  • Color Variations: Pale green foliage
  • Light Exposure: Bright artificial light or window sunlight.
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained potting soil

Bamboo (Bambusa SPP.)

Growing bamboo in containers is a good way to control the plants, which can grow invasively when planted in the garden. But even confined in containers, bamboo plants can get large, requiring repotting every year or so. The clumping varieties will need repotting less often than those that run. Feed bamboo with a diluted fertilizer high in nitrogen weekly during the growing season, cutting back to monthly in the winter.

  • Color Variations: Pale to dark green foliage; variegated forms available
  • Light Exposure: Needs 6 hours of sunlight daily
  • Soil Needs: Prefers sandy potting, but tolerates most potting soil mixes

Begonia (Begonia Spp.)

Many types of begonias grow well in containers, and they enjoy the warmth and humidity of a bathroom shelf. In particular, rex begonias (Begonia x rex), with their showy foliage, grow well indoors. Begonias like humid conditions but not water-logged soil, which can cause root rot. Begonias prized for their flowers need a bright spot in the bathroom, with some direct early morning sunlight. Begonias grown for their foliage need a bright location away from direct sunlight.

  • Color Variations: Light-green, dark-green, bronze, or variegated foliage. Some varieties grown for beautiful blooms, while others focus on foliage.
  • Light Exposure: For flowering, some direct sunlight; for foliage, bright filtered light.
  • Soil Needs: General-purpose soilless potting mix

Bromeliads (Various Genera)

Bromeliads are unusual specimens, in that they readily produce long-lasting blooms in locations where most house plants do not blossom at all. Bromeliads flower with yellow, pink, or red blossoms in winter, and the blooms last for several weeks. Bromeliads include several different plant genera and dozens of species, many of which are epiphytic (drawing moisture from the air rather than from soil). These are ideally suited to bask in the humidity of a bathroom, but they also need good air circulation, which can be provided by running the bathroom exhaust fan or setting up a small portable fan to run for a few hours each day. Feed them with an orchid fertilizer. (While they're not orchids, they need the same type of nutrients.)

  • Color Variations: Dark green foliage; pink or red flowers
  • Light Exposure: Bright, indirect light; will tolerate a few hours of direct sunlight each day but don't place them in hot afternoon sun--it can burn the leaves
  • Soil Needs: Depends on genus and species; those requiring soil do well in a succulent potting mix

Cast-Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)

Called the cast-iron plant because it is so hard to kill, Aspidistra elatior makes for an excellent low-maintenance houseplant. A tropical plant growing 2 to 3 feet tall, this is one of the rare house plants that will tolerate near full shade. Variegated varieties need more light than solid green specimens. It also does not require high humidity, making it good for guest bathrooms that aren't used often.

  • Color Variations: Medium-green foliage; rarely flowers when grown as a houseplant.
  • Light Exposure: Low, indirect light; tolerates full shade
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained, peaty potting mix

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema Spp.)

Few plants are as forgiving and adaptable as the Chinese evergreen, comprising about 20 species within the Aglaonema genus. These large-leaved, tropical perennials will thrive even if you forget to water and feed it. While it loves humidity, it will also tolerate dry air, provided you keep it out of cold drafts, which can damage the leaves. It grows from 10 inches to 4 feet tall, depending on the variety; some cultivars (such as 'Silver Queen') have gray-green and even pink variegation.

  • Color Variations: Dark green; some varieties are variegated
  • Light Exposure: Low, indirect light; does not like any direct sun
  • Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained potting mix

Croton (Codiaeum variegatum var.)

You will find croton plants in an assortment of colored foliage. The pictum variety has gaudy, multi-colored leaves. These tropical broadleaf evergreens grow slowly, but they can get 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide, so be sure you have space for one. Croton plants need bright, but indirect light, and lots of humidity and moisture, although they do not like to sit in wet soil. Wait until the top two inches of soil are dry before watering. Reduce watering in late fall and winter.

  • Color Variations: Green, or combinations of yellow, pink, orange, red, bronze, purple, and green
  • Light Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained, humusy potting mix

Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia Spp.)

Dumb cane plants, also well known as by its botanical name dieffenbachia, do best with minimal care. The plants to be watered when the soil feels dry a few inches below the surface. It will need more light during the short days of winter and dappled light in summer. Rotate your dumb cane plant every month, so it grows evenly on all sides. These plants can grow several feet tall.

  • Color Variations: Combinations of green and yellow/white foliage
  • Light Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Needs: Loose, fast-draining potting mix

Fern (Various genera)

Ferns are a unique family of shade-loving plants that reproduce through spores rather than flowers and seeds. Many ferns make great houseplants. Most can handle the temperature fluctuations in a bathroom, and they love the humidity. Some can even be grown right in a shower stall, where they are regularly soaked. Some recommended ferns for the bathroom include Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata), maidenhair fern (Adiantum spp.), bird's nest fern (Asplenium nidus), and button fern (Pellaea rotundifolia).

  • Color Variations: Light to dark green, depending on species
  • Light Exposure: Depends on species
  • Soil Needs: Depends on species; most thrive in moist, well-drained potting mix

Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides)

The gardenias most often grown as indoor plants are G. jasminoides, also known as cape jasmine. These tropical broadleaf evergreens are not particularly easy to grow indoors, since they respond poorly to cold drafts or sudden blasts of heat, but they can work well in the humid conditions of a bathroom, provided they get enough bright light. These can be large plants, growing to 6 feet, but can be kept smaller with frequent pruning. Feed with an acid fertlizer.

  • Color Variations: Dark green leaves; white flowers
  • Light Exposure: Needs 6 to 8 hours of sunlight for flowers
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained potting mix rich with peat moss, prefers acidic soil

Orchids (Orchidaceae Family, Various Genera)

The plants known as orchids comprise hundreds of species in dozens of genera in the Orchidaceae family of plants. Many orchids are ideal for bathrooms that do not get too cold. Some species are planted in soil, while others are epiphytes (air plants) that absorb moisture from the air. Orchids can bloom for weeks, and since they are smallish plants, you can cluster several together for quite a show. Some prefer moderate light; others need bright light.

  • Color Variations: Pink, red, purple, white, depending on variety
  • Light Exposure: Depends on variety but needs light for blooms
  • Soil Needs: Depends on type, but generally a bark mix designed for orchids

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum Spp.)

Peace lilies are elegant plants that require minimal care. They do best with regular watering and appreciate the humidity in the bathroom. Do not allow the soil to remain dry for extended periods of time. Peace lilies do well in limited light; however, if your plant is not flowering, it may need a slightly brighter location. When feeding, use a very diluted fertilizer mix.

  • Color Variations: Glossy green foliage; white flowers
  • Light Exposure: Bright, filtered light
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained potting mix

Philodendron (Philodendron Spp.)

Philodendrons are truly tropical plants that love bathroom conditions. There are varieties that vine or trail with stems as much as 20 feet long, and others that grow upright several feet. Both types are relatively easy to grow. If you water this plant too much or too little, the plant will let you know by dropping its leaves. It prefers consistently moist soil. Philodendrons need bright, indirect light; too much shade makes stems spindly.

  • Color Variations: Dark-green foliage; some cultivars have variegated leaves
  • Light Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Needs: Soil-based potting mix

Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Closely resembling the heart-leaved variety of Philodendron (P. hederaceum), pothos are almost indestructible plants. They grow as long vines and can start to get lanky as they get longer. Plants with stems 6 to 10 feet long are common. If you trim them back to just above a leaf, they will bush out in no time. Water whenever the soil feels dry. Pothos will thrive in low light or bright, indirect light. Note: All parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested.

  • Color Variations: Green to marbled yellow foliage
  • Light Exposure: Bright light to near-full shade
  • Soil Needs: Peaty potting mix

Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

Snake plant is also known as mother-in-law's tongue. These are easy growing plants that make a nice alternative to hanging plants. Depending on variety, mature plants can range from 8 inches to 4 feet in height. If the leaves start to flop open, hold them together with twine to keep them growing upright. Snake plants prefer bright light but can handle less than ideal conditions. Variegated varieties need more light, or they may revert to all green. Potted plants are often moved to shady outdoor locations in the summer. Water when top 2 inches of soil is dry.

  • Color Variations: Deep green leaves with gray-green stripes
  • Light Exposure: Bright, warm light; avoid direct sunlight
  • Soil Needs: Soil-based potting mix

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

Spider plants like growing in tight quarters, so do not use a container much larger than the root ball. They form little plantlets along their perimeter that can be cut off and grown on their own once roots are formed. These undemanding plants can handle bright light, but the leaves will scorch in full sun. They prefer relatively cool (but not cold) temperatures. Spider plant typically grows 2 feet wide and 2 to 3 feet long in containers.

  • Color Variations: Green foliage, sometimes striped with white
  • Light Exposure: Bright, indirect sunlight
  • Soil Needs: Loose, fast-draining potting mix

Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)

If you have the space for a small tree, this is a nice plant to dress up your bathroom. However, it does not like sudden temperature changes. Cold drafts can cause it to drop its leaves, but it should recover. Although it likes humidity, a weeping fig does not like being overwatered and sitting in wet soil. Wait to water until the top inch or two of soil feels dry. Weeping figs prefer bright, indirect light and need more light indoors than when grown outside.

  • Color Variations: Glossy green leaves; some varieties are variegated
  • Sun/Light Exposure: Bright light; likes some sunlight when grown indoors
  • Soil Needs: Rich, fast-draining potting mix


Kirk Rickman and Victoria Carter
TwoMoveYou Guaranteed Real Estate Systems
Century 21 Percy Fulton Ltd., Brokerage. 647-697-7413