There’s nothing like the vivacious green of real live plants to add a spark of life and freshness to an otherwise lifeless bathroom. There’s just one problem: bathrooms tend to be lifeless for a reason. Chances are good that the only living organism in your bathroom right now is overdue for being bleached off of the shower curtains.
For flora beyond the scope mould or mildew, plenty of sunlight tends to be an essential prerequisite. Unfortunately, bathrooms aren’t the best place for having lots of windows. But did you know it isn’t actually as restricting as you might think? There are still a number of plants that can grow healthily indoors with little in the way of natural light and only occasional maintenance. Best of all, they tremendously improve the appearance of your bathrooms and continuously work to freshen and purify the air.
Besides limited sunlight, some of the challenges bathrooms present to plant life are irregular temperatures and swings in humidity that occur every time you take a shower or hop into a steaming hot bath. This creates an environment that is essentially the complete opposite of a greenhouse – an unstable climate with dim lighting.
How do you add personality to a typically isolated and utilitarian part of the house?
Fortunately, there are actually quite a few plants that can survive and thrive in conditions like these. And they can provide some impressive benefits.
A well-known study was conducted in 1989 by NASA that showed indoor plants can improve air quality not just by replacing carbon dioxide with oxygen, but by actually filtering pollutants out of the air in the process. Amazingly, this even applies to synthetic pollutants like formaldehyde and benzene.
So not only does adding indoor plants help improve the appearance of the room and freshen up the air, it can even help to neutralize airborne pollutants.
The best choices for your bathroom will vary based on the styling of your bathroom, with different plants lending themselves to bigger or smaller spaces accordingly. If you don’t have much space in your bathroom, consider a hanging plant like English Ivy or a small, easily contained succulent like Aloe. If you have more space that you’d like to fill out, consider a larger plant like a Boston Fern or a well-developed Lucky Bamboo.
To determine the best bathroom plant for your situation, let’s take a look at the complete list of bathroom-friendly plants along with a little info on how they can be maintained.
Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) is well-known for being a low maintenance plant which makes it a great choice for bathrooms. It does well with lower sunlight exposure and can get by even on fluorescent light which makes it a great choice for commercial bathrooms. This makes it a common choice for office spaces or anywhere else where natural lighting isn’t optimal.
Water your pothos until the soil is moist and keep an eye on your pot’s drainage holes to make sure the roots don’t expand so much that they become blocked.
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) does well in indirect and relatively low light. It prefers the warm temperatures and humid conditions which your bathroom is likely to have if you use it to shower or bathe. It can also survive in a dryer environment when needed. It’s an exceptionally flexible plant.
You can water your Chinese Evergreen every couple of weeks. Periodically check the soil and water and water only once it has become dry. You can actually end up damaging the plant if you water it too frequently.
Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena braunii) is an impressively durable plant with a beautiful, sophisticated look. It can get by with minimal lighting and actual prefers not to have too much direct sunlight. As far as soil quality goes, Lucky Bamboo is about as easy as it gets – a healthy specimen can actually live without soil! Just place it in a container of pebbles with just an inch of filtered water. You’ll often find them in a transparent container that shows off pretty round pebbles. This creates a beautiful, minimalist look that is appropriate for modern settings.
Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) is a great choice for either hanging or standing in a pot. It gets by with relatively little care.
Your fern is going to want a couple hours a day of indirect sunlight, so take care that you can find a spot in your bathroom that is suitable before picking one up. Ferns also need to be watered consistently and like to be misted.
Ferns need to be watered consistently but may suffer from root rot if you overdo it. To prevent this, keep an eye on the fronds and watch for yellowing or wilting. If these symptoms set in, you are likely watering too much.
English Ivy (Hedera helix) was one of the most effective plants for filtering toxins from the air according to NASA’s study. And with a hearty, leafy disposition, it’s no wonder. English Ivy is especially well-suited for any room where there is potential for water damage as it can combat the presence of mould by filtering spores out of the air.
The plant can be placed standing in a pot or hung from a basket, depending on your bathroom’s styling and your personal preference.
As far as lighting goes, English Ivy needs a little more than the others listed in this article. This means you may need to monitor its growth and move it around as necessary. That said, the plant is far from being high maintenance. Keeping it close to a window that offers indirect light a few hours a day should do the trick. The plant also loves high humidity which makes it perfect for the bathroom that you shower in.
When watering Ivy, check the top inch of the soil for dryness. If the top inch has completely dried, it is time to add some lukewarm water to keep your Ivy from getting too thirsty.
With an appearance suitable to modern, clean environments and a reputation for being hard to kill, Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) is a perfect choice for bathrooms. Snake plant doesn’t mind variations in humidity and can survive on artificial light.
Snake plant is good at storing water which means you can expect to see it still doing well after an extended vacation. Water it only when the soil has become very dry.