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The plants that will thrive (not die) in your bathroom


It’s official: Greenery is a trend that’s here to stay. So what better way to freshen up your bathroom than with an indoor plant?

The easiest way to do this is with indoor plants. Not only do plants look good – they make you feel good, too. Plants help to boost the oxygen level in your indoor space and clean the air. They also help to soften the look of a room, making it feel homely and totally livable.

bathroom with indoor plants
Indoor conditions vary room to room, and the bathroom tends to be the most humid and light-filled space. Picture: Erinna Giblin

First off, you need to choose the right plants to suit your space. Conditions inside will vary from room to room – and even from house to house – so it’s important to work out what plants will thrive at your place.

When choosing plants for indoor spaces, it’s helpful to remember there’s no such thing as an ‘indoor plant’ – just a range of plants that will tolerate (and even thrive) inside. As indoor gardeners, we want to be as welcoming as we can, and place plants thoughtfully so they’re comfortable being in the great indoors.

Bathrooms are great for many types of plants. Of all the rooms in our homes, they tend to be the most humid and are often filled with light.

English ivy
“Even if your bathroom has low light, there are plants that will respond well,” says Fabian. Picture: Erinna Giblin

Humidity and light are two of the most important considerations for plants. Lots of indoor plants come from tropical places where it’s humid and sunny, although the light might be indirect or filtered by a tree canopy.

Bathrooms typically hit the mark, being naturally humid, relatively warm from all those hot showers and bright with big windows or skylights. Plants feel right at home in these spaces.

Even if your bathroom has low light, there are plants that will respond well.

See how this executive creative director incorporated plants in his contemporary rustic home design

Boston ferns love humidity and grow well in baskets. Picture: Erinna Giblin

Another thing to think about is the size of your bathroom. If it’s a tight squeeze, rather than opting for large plants that take up floor space, you can decorate with plants in hanging baskets. Ferns love humidity and grow well in baskets, so why not try some Boston ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata) or macho ferns (Nephrolepis biserrata)?

Ceiling hooks, window frames and shower railings all make good hanging points. If you’re renting, picture rails come in handy.

Make the most of high shelves too, which are perfect for displaying plants with long, trailing foliage. Give some devil’s ivy (Epipremnum aureum) and chain of hearts (Ceropegia woodii) a go.

Read more: 6 cheap and fail-proof balcony plants you can grow

Bathroom windowsills are another excellent spot for plants. A mix of potted calatheas, fittonias and peperomias will provide attractive foliage; just be mindful to keep these plants away from harsh, direct afternoon sunlight.

While we’re at it, here are five other plants to experiment with in your bathroom for that beautiful splash of green.

1. Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

© 123rf

Spider plants are easy to propagate from cuttings and look fantastic hanging in the bathroom with their characteristic striped foliage. These plants thrive in bright, indirect light but are extremely easy-going and can get by with medium light, too.

2. Swedish ivy (Plectranthus australis)

Swedish ivy Marginatus
© Iva Villi | 123rf

Swedish ivy is a classic houseplant and performs exceptionally well in bright, warm bathrooms. With gentle green scalloped leaves, it’s a particularly pretty addition to any home. Pop one on a shelf or in a hanging basket and watch it grow.

Read more: 5 indoor plants that will brighten up your home

3. Phalaenopsis orchids

Flowering orchids add colour and beauty to bathrooms. Picture: Getty

Flowering plants like Phalaenopsis orchids add colour and beauty to the indoors – and more often than not will outlive a bunch of flowers. Tropical orchids like these love warm, humid conditions, so if your bathroom has a heated floor and plenty of indirect light it could be the perfect plant in your space.

4. Mistletoe cactus (Rhipsalis species)

mistletoe cactus
© Pongsak Neerachapothisatha | 123rf

Mistletoe cactus come in an incredible number of shapes and sizes. As well as having immediate visual appeal, they prefer shaded conditions and don’t need much watering, making them a great, no-fuss option for the bathroom.

5. Carnivorous plants

© 123rf

If you have kids, they’ll thank you for putting a carnivorous plant or two in the bathroom. Plants like the Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) are native to subtropical wetlands, which is a good way to describe many a bathroom! Pitcher plants (Sarracenia or Nepenthes species) with their tubular ‘pitchers’, designed to trap insects, also work well in bright, humid conditions.

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