The other day, as I soaked in the tub, I wondered what would be the best bathroom plants for my space? I love a little greenery when I’m trying to relax in the bathtub, but could I actually keep a plant green in my high-moisture bathroom? I spoke to horticulturalists and plant lovers at nurseries around the country.
The best bathroom plants depend on the natural light in your bathroom. Pothos Ivy and Philodendron can thrive without sunlight. Ferns can do well in low light bathrooms. Palms will flourish in moderate, indirect sun, while spider plants grow best in bathrooms with direct sun.
In this guide, you’ll hear from some of the most knowledgable plant enthusiasts from nursery and garden centers around the country. Each nominated one bathroom plant and told me why it makes the top of their list, so without further delay, here are their fascinating bathroom plant ideas:
|None||Pothos Ivy||Trailing Plant|
|None||Philodendron||Lime Green Color on Edges of Leaves|
|Low Light||Calathea||Comes in a variety of sizes - 6-38 inches|
|Low Light||Button Fern||Good for Frosted Window|
|Low Light||Maidenhair Fern||Like humidity|
|Low Light||Sansevieria||Varieties include Mother-in-Law's Tongue, Snake, Bird's Nest|
|Low Light||Moth Orchid||Flowers bloom year-round|
|Low Light||Chinese Evergreen||Slow-growing|
|Low Light||ZZ Plant||Waxy cuticle that makes it shiny and never dusty|
|Low Light||Dumb Cane||Floor plant|
|Indirect, Moderate Light||Parlor Palm||Potted plant that needs fertilizing March-Sept|
|Indirect, Moderate Light||Cast Iron Plant||Dark green foliate|
|indirect, Moderate Light||Blue Baby Tears||Looks great in hanging basket|
|Indirect, Moderate Light||Peace Lily||White pod flowers|
|Indirect, Moderate Light||Vanda Orchid||Purple or pink hanging orchid|
|Indirect, Moderate Light||Staghorn Fern||Hardiest fern|
|Bright Light||Lipstick Plant||Red flowers that look like lipstick|
|Bright Light||Spider Plant||Variegated green and white hanging plant|
|Bright Light||Air Plant||Won't grow in soil.|
|Bright Light||Golden Goddess||Bamboo variety that grows in pot|
|Bright Light||Monstera||Big fat leaves with split edges|
|Bright Light||Orchid Cactus||Giant red flowers|
|Bright Light||Christmas Cactus||Does well in bright indirect light|
Bathroom Plants That Don’t Need Any Natural Light
In one of my bathrooms, there are no windows at all. I was wondering if there are any miracle plants that can survive in there. As it turns out, yes, there are!
1. Pothos Ivy (Epipremnum aureum)
Taylor, Associate at Shoal Creek Nursery in Austin, TX
Pothos Ivy is a great choice for a low-light bathroom. This plant can even grow if there’s no window and just an overhead light. In this case, you have to leave the light on several nights a week so they can photosynthesize to feed themselves.
This is a trailing plant. You can put it in a hanging planter or up on a high shelf. You can do clippings, too. Pathos Ivy is fine with humidity. On average, you water these once a week, but when you’ve got it in the bathroom, you can even go a little bit longer.”
Kylie, Assistant Supervisor, Town & Country Gardens, Idaho Falls, ID
A Philodendron doesn’t need a ton of water, and it won’t need a lot of sunlight. I know, because I have one in my bathroom and I don’t have any windows in there. After eight months, it’s still doing great. Mine doesn’t have any signs of damage. My watering on it is minimal.
The Heartleaf Philodendron has heart-shaped leaves with a yellow stripe in the middle. The most common one is a Heartleaf Philodendron, but any of them will do well in the bathroom. They come in variegated forms, which means that there’s a lime green color on the outskirts of the leaves.
Good Bathroom Plants for Low Natural Light
Maybe you have one of those frosted bathroom windows. Or maybe you just get an hour or two of indirect sun in the bathroom. Well, here are the nominees for best low light houseplants that will thrive in the bathroom…
Peter, General Manager at Pomarius Nursery, Portland, OR
Calathea is a large family of plants. There’s the Pinstripe, Rattlesnake, Musica and other varieties. They are low ground cover with lots of contrast in the leaf. They come with stripes or a bit of purple. They can take low light and are tolerant of a bit of drying out. They can be as small as 6-8 inches or as big as 24-38 inches.
Calathea live in the ground in subtropical to tropical places where you see a lot of tropical foliage. They’re usually under a jungle canopy so they can do well in a variety of lower to medium light. And they love to be damp and humid.
4. & 5. Button Fern (Pellaea rotundifolia) and Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum)
Paula, Associate at Bates Nursery & Garden Center, Nashville, TN
Ferns will do great in the bathroom and get moisture from the steam of the bath. Either the Button Fern or the Maidenhair Fern can’t have direct light but they have to have something. It could even be a frosted window that gives indirect light.
They’re cute. Definitely not succulents, because they like drier conditions. That’s not their natural habitat. It’s got to like humidity.
Most of the ferns come in smaller containers. If you’ve got a big bathroom with good light, you can put most houseplants in there.
Robb Enloe, Horticulturalist at the Information Desk, The Natural Gardener, Austin, TX
If you’re relaxing in the bathtub and you’re breathing deeply, you want the best air.
The genus San Sevieria is very flexible for the modern bathtubber.
San Sevieria includes Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, Snake, Bird’s Nest and many more. These are great because they provide oxygen. NASA and corporate space programs were going to use these in the Space Station. They will do great in low light, and you don’t have to spend a lot of time taking care of them.
7. Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis)
Susan, Buyer for Color, Mid City Nursery, American Canyon, CA
Phaleonopsis is a good repeat bloomer and it comes in many different colors. It’s a common orchid that blooms regularly, as opposed to once a year like more exotic kinds. You should get a spike with multiple flowers that should last several weeks. You give it orchid fertilizer and plant it in orchid bark. It’s not high maintenance but requires consistency. All it needs is to be drenched once a week. It will absorb moisture from the air from aerial roots. A water-soluble, orchid fertilizer would be ideal.
8. Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
Douglas, Assistant Store Manager, Country Fair Garden Center, Denver, CO
The Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) can do fine in a lower light environment. Plus it’s easy to take care of—you only need to water once a week. It grows slowly and comes in all kinds of colors and shapes: silver and green with a round-leaf shape, silver and green with a long-leaf shape, and there are some that are pinkish, whitish, yellow.
This doesn’t have to be a big plant. You can get one that’s only 4 inches. And it’s on the slower-growing side, so a Chinese Evergreen won’t outgrow its space quickly.
9. The ZZ Plant (Zamioculus zamiifolia)
Sarah, Sales Associate, The Garden Barn, Bozeman, MT
My top recommendation is the ZZ Plant. This plant has a waxy cuticle that makes it super shiny, and they never get dusty. They have really attractive foliage. And they have a tubular, bulbous root structure that holds onto a lot of water and nutrients. They can go for a long time without water, so I recommend watering them once a month.
The ZZ Plant is a great choice for people who kill houseplants.
They can really be okay with low, low light — even no natural light. They won’t thrive without any natural light–they won’t grow actively–but they will survive. And they’ll do great in high humidity bathrooms.
10. Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia)
Erik, Shade House Manager & Sales Manager, Flamingo Road Nursery, Davie, FL
If there’s a space in your bathroom for a floor plant, Dumb Cane will work well. It’s very simple to take care of. It’s a very leafy plant that comes in a multitude of colors. Some have leaves that are mostly white, and some have striped leaves.
The Dumb Cane plant gets about 2 feet tall, and watering them every 7-10 days is perfect. Plus they don’t need much natural light.
Bathroom Plant Ideas for Indirect, Moderate Light
Moderate light plants like indirect light. You can test this by checking the shadow cast by any object in your bathroom window. If the edges of the shadow are diffuse, then you’ve got indirect light. On the other hand, if the shadow’s edges are crisp, the light is direct. Here are bathroom plants that will do well in diffused, moderate light.
11. Parlor Palm (Chamaedora elegans)
Jenn, Nursery Manager, Bedford Fields Home & Garden Center, Bedford, NH
The Parlor Palm is a low to moderate-light palm that can also do well in bright light. You’ll want to fertilize it March-September, because it’s in a pot and that’s the only way it gets nutrients. The Parlor Palm needs to be in potting soil with the drainage hole in the pot.
You water when the top couple inches is dry. The humidity from the shower or bathtub will keep spider mites away from the plant. But if it’s in a half bath without a shower, I’d recommend misting it every few days. We have it in different sizes from a two-inch mini all the up to a 10-gallon pot.
12. Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)
Callie, Indoor Living Lead, Swanson’s Nursery, Seattle, WA
The Cast Iron Plant does well in low to medium light. I don’t think the humidity would hurt it. These plants can get a few feet tall and potentially a few feet wide, but they’re slow-growing. You water them thoroughly and let them dry out. They’re pretty cool looking, upright plants with dark green foliage.
13. Blue Baby Tears (Pilea Glauca)
Betsy, Horticulturalist, Pemberton’s Greenhouses, Lexington, KY
Blue Baby Tears is a tropical house plant. It vines down and looks great in a hanging basket. It takes medium to bright indirect sunlight. The Blue Baby Tears plant is easy to care for. You just water it when the top ¼ inch of soil is dry.
When I first got mine three years ago, it was a just little baby hanging on by a thread—a delicate thing. Ever since I moved it from the living room to the bathroom, and now it’s so much happier. It loves the humidity, and it’s grown a lot. I love it, because it’s sentimental: I know I brought it back to life.
14. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
Nancy, Horticulturalist, Ward’s Nursery & Garden Center, Great Barrington, MA
The Peace Lily likes good morning sun. An east window is best. It likes to be kept moist and grows white pod flowers. The flowers last for months then take a little break and shoot up some more. It’s a pretty plant that’s delicate. If it does dry out it’s forgiving—you can water it and it will come back. The Peace Lily has big strappy leaves and the flowers are taller than the leaves. It’s a pretty plant all around.
15. Vanda Orchid
Paul, Assistant Manager, Weaver Gardens, Larchmont, NY
The Vanda Orchid would work in the bathroom. The roots grow down and the plant grows up. It’s not a potted plant as much as it’s a hanging orchid. Usually they come in shades of purple and pink. They like the humidity and will need some sun, but not necessarily direct sun.
16. Staghorn Fern
Sarah, Sales Associate, The Garden Barn, Bozeman, MT
The Staghorn Fern is a little hardier than other ferns. These ferns have broad dark green leaves that taper at the end, and if you have a healthy one, it gives the appearance of a deer’s horns.
It comes planted, not in potting mix, but mounted on a board. The roots are covered in a spongy moss that holds a lot of water. This plant would be ideal in a bathroom setting, because the moss can absorb the humidity. You want to make sure that the moss or soil does stay moist.
I recommend watering them once a week. But that depends if the bathroom has a skylight. If so, the plant will be doing more photosynthesis and using more water.
Best Bathroom Plants for Brightly Lit Spaces
If you have a brightly lit bathroom, try not to brag. You are in rare company—and quite lucky! Also note, that some plants that like bright light like bright diffused light. And others prefer bright direct light. Read on below to see what’s best for your beautiful bathroom.
17. Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus)
Jill, Water Tech & Houseplant Guru, Galles Greenhouse, Casper, WY
The Lipstick Plant does really well in average to high humidity. It almost looks like a succulent itself. It has red flowers that look like lipstick. There is one that has a black flower, too.
This plant has vines that hang down one-and-a-half to two feet. Some of them come with curly leaves. These do well with medium to bright diffused light. Any kind of morning light up until noon is great. Allow it to dry slightly between watering. With them being in the bathroom, be careful not to overwater.
18. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Kate, Customer Service Rep, Walter Andersen Nursery, Poway, CA
If there’s bright light and lots of humidity, a spider plant will do well. It’s variegated green and white and usually comes in a hanging basket. The stems will produce pups, which are little baby plants that grow off the mother plant. You can reroot the baby plants in some soil and they’d grow into a bigger plant.
Spider plants have long curly leaves and look like little bungee jumpers. They like bright light and should do well in a bathroom. You can leave them in the hanging basket and water them twice a week.
Give them an all-purpose fertilizer every 1-2 months. They’re pretty easy. If they get really long, I usually trim them.
19. Air Plants (Tillslandia)
Michelle, Annual Greenhouse Manager, Greenhaven Gardens & Nursery, New Haven, VT
Air plants like high humidity and will do well in a bright bathroom. They prefer a bright spot but the filtered light in most bathrooms is fine. Air plants don’t need soil. They naturally grow in rainforests and have a symbiotic relationship with other plants. They get all their nutrients and moisture from the humidity. In fact, if you plant these in soil, you’ll kill them. Most people will fix them to dried driftwood or hang them with wire.
20. Golden Goddess (Bambusa Multiplex)
David, Owner, Brightside Bamboo Nursery, Chapel Hill, NC
Most bamboo isn’t good indoors, but there are some species that do well.
Bamboo has such a unique look to it and a magical connection with people because it’s an ancient plant.
One of the best is called Golden Goddess. It has a nice vase shape and it can stay in an indoor pot for years. It needs a lot of light but it doesn’t need to be direct light. Typically it needs to be watered 2-3 times a week.
Wendy, Buyer, Hanna’s Garden Shop, Birmingham, AL
There’s a houseplant craze on Instagram right now and that’s why Monstera is popular. It’s been around forever but suddenly everybody’s got to have one.
Monstera has real big fat leaves and as the leaves age, the leaf edges start to split. It’s a cool looking plant. They can get big so need some space. This plant likes indirect light and is super easy to care for.
22 & 23. Orchid Cactus & Christmas Cactus
Bob, President, Agua Fria Nursery, Santa Fe, NM
Most tropical plants that will grow anywhere else in your house will be happier in the bathroom because the humidity is higher.
In most cases, I wouldn’t bother with cactus. Why? Because you’re naked and you don’t want to bump into them! That said, an Orchid Cactus or a Christmas Cactus would be very happy in the bathroom.
These are not desert plants. They get their moisture from the humidity and the rain. They live in trees. They want bright indirect light, but they don’t need direct light.
To the Experts Who Weighed in on the Best Bathroom Plants…
The Bathtubber would like to extend big thank you to all the plant lovers from across the U.S. who shared their expertise. Please know that thanks to your generosity, bathtubbers around the world now know how to make a splash in their bathrooms!