In your eagerness to add warmth to your interiors during the stay-at-home gardening boom, don’t forget about one humidity-filled haven: the bathroom.
“Bathrooms are a fun category,” said Annette Gutierrez of the Los Angeles plant store Potted. “I’ve got a whole hoya thing happening in mine. I love how they hang. Hanging plants are great in the bathroom where counter space is at a premium, and since most houseplants are tropicals, they love the humidity.”
Filled with moisture, bathrooms are an ideal environment for humidity-loving houseplants. But don’t substitute humidity for watering. “You still have to water your plants,” Gutierrez added.
Bloomscape plant expert Joyce Mast also finds the bathroom a fun place to experiment. You can place plants on a shelf, mount them on tile with adhesive-backed hooks or hang them from a tension rod. “Don’t be afraid to place plants in the shower,” Mast said. “They will love the steam and moisture boost, and the gentle rain will clean their leaves of dust and debris.”
Plants may do well in humidity, but remember they also need light. Several months ago, I received an asparagus fern terrarium as a gift. But after two months in my bathroom, the fern turned yellow due to insufficient light.
Here are 10 houseplants that should do well in the bathroom.
Many ferns, such as Kimberly queen fern, bird’s nest fern and blue star fern, thrive in extra moisture and will grow beautifully in a bathroom habitat, according to Mast. Although many ferns grow at the base of trees in their natural habitat, it’s a good idea to give them medium light or bright filtered light indoors to encourage growth.
Gardenias are beautiful plants that do best in bright light and love the high humidity environment of a bathroom. “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,” Mast said.
3. Snake plant
Sansevieria is a plant that tolerates low light conditions and would be perfect to add to a bathroom that receives only minimal natural light. “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 said.
4. Spider plant
Chlorophytum comosum, or spider plants, are fun, easy houseplants that make good additions to a bathroom as they are tolerant of low light and love extra humidity. “Spider plants would be great as a hanging plant above a bathtub for a dramatic effect,” Mast said. “Or take advantage of overlooked surfaces like behind the toilet or over a vanity if you’re low on shelf space.”
Spider plants are easy to propagate because they produce plantlets at the ends of their stalks. Simply cut one of the plantlets and place it in water. When roots are about an inch long, transfer the plant to potting soil.
5. Parlor palm
Like most tropical plants, Chamaedorea elegans thrives in warm, humid rooms, so it helps to mist them or place them on a tray filled with moist pebbles. The miniature palm is a slow grower that can reach about 3 feet high, so you don’t have to worry about it overtaking the small space of a bathroom.
6. Prayer plant
Calathea, often called prayer plant because of the way its leaves open during the day and close at night, will thrive in medium to low light and the added humidity that a bathroom would provide. Although beautiful, with dramatic foliage, Calathea can be a diva and needs consistent watering, pruning and feeding.
7. Nerve plant
Fittonia plants can be finicky, but do well if they have warmth, humidity and good lighting. Just don’t place them in direct sunlight or their delicate leaves will become brown and brittle. Keep the soil barely moist at all times and give the plant a regular misting or place it on a tray of wet pebbles. If you want a fuller look, pinch the stems for denser growth.
Monstera deliciosa, also called swiss cheese plant, is trendy, and for good reason: It’s a dramatic, low-maintenance houseplant that is easy for beginners. Monstera does best in bright filtered light and on pebble trays. A small plant is a good choice for the bathroom as monstera is a fast grower. If it grows too fast, train it with a moss-covered pole.
Phalaenopsis from Trader Joe’s will do well if the bathroom has a window, said Brandon Tam, orchid specialist at The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens. “The higher humidity is a definite plus but not mandatory,” he said. “I recommend having a few orchids in the bathroom if you have space. People will have higher success with the more observations that they make. The bathroom is one of the more visited rooms. That’s why I tell people to put them where they will be able to check on them throughout the day.”
10. Lipstick plant
The long-stemmed Aeschynanthus radicans is an excellent hanging plant for the bathroom as it prefers high humidity. Give it bright light, moderate water and misting and it will produce bright-red, 2-inch-long flowers that peek out of 1-inch calyxes that resemble tiny tubes of lipstick.