What's the trick to finding the best plants to put in your bathroom? Picking humidity-loving plants that thrive in the light levels that your bathroom offers. You'll have little luck keeping foliage happy in a windowless bathroom. But with some light — either direct or indirect sunlight — the options are quite extensive.
For bright bathrooms with lots of natural light, graceful orchids or trendy ficus are top options. If yours is a bathroom with medium light, think frothy ferns — large or small — or air-purifying peace lilies. Even low-light bathrooms have great options with shade-loving indoor plants like begonias, Chinese evergreen, or watermelon peperomia.
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In addition to floor and windowsill plants, hanging plants can really make a statement. Newbies will love low-maintenance options like spider plants that grow baby "spideys" on long, drooping stems, or pothos, with their graceful cascade of heart-shaped leaves. Those with more experience could even install a tropical plant like the spectacular Nepenthe pitcher plant.
Whichever houseplants you select are sure to give your bathroom a spa-like vibe. And, as long as they thrive in a humid environment, they will appreciate the new location.
12 Best Bathroom Plants
Begonia is hailed as the queen of the shade garden. Its richly colored leaves and bright blooms feature prominently in the shady corners of many a backyard across the temperate states. Begonias also love warmth, humidity, and moist soils, which make them a natural fit for less-than-sunny bathrooms.
Not every begonia takes to a pot, but Rex begonias (Begonia rex) do well in containers indoors. Rex are considered the showiest begonias and require more humidity than other varieties.
Orchids decorate a space like no other plant. Each individual flower is a thing of beauty, with exquisite form, stunning color, and sometimes even a heady fragrance. Many orchids come from tropical regions with warm air and high humidity. They grow in bark, not soil, and prefer damp conditions. While you are unlikely to match the conditions of the tropics, placing orchids in the bathroom is almost always a great call.
Despite their prima-donna reputations, not all are difficult to care for. Easier-care orchids — like moth orchids (Phalaenopsis spp.) — are truly low-maintenance plants, thriving on benign neglect. They are our top choice for low-light bathrooms. For bright, sunny spaces, pick something from the Vanda genus, beloved for their fragrant, vivid flowers. If the light is indirect, consider slipper orchids (Phragmipedium spp.) or an orchid from the genus Dendrobium.
Our pick: The Sill Petite White Orchid, $78
3. Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees
Fiddle leaf fig trees (Ficus lyrata) are lush, leafy plants with large leaves the size and shape of a fiddle. These are impressively big plants that need bright sunlight and plenty of humidity. They also like moist soil.
All these factors make this trendy plant ideal for a bright bathroom. Fiddle leaf figs are show-stoppers, between their beautiful shape and the way their waxy, dark green foliage contrasts against light bathroom walls. Place yours in a spot where it won't impede bathroom traffic.
Our pick: Ardent Gardener Fiddle Leaf Fig, $89.95
Ferns are good easy-care choices, offering plenty of greenery for medium-light bathrooms. Low-maintenance plants, ferns add texture and a bright pop of color to a room. They prefer an average daytime temperature of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and a 10-degree drop at night, entirely consistent with most bathrooms.
Native to tropical rainforests, ferns love humid conditions. Which ferns to consider? Try the Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis'), with its arching sword fronds and tolerant ways. Even better, consider the asparagus fern (Asparagus aethiopicus or densiflorus) with its lacy fronds that provide a dramatic contrast to the hard, shiny tiles that line a typical bathroom. This very attractive houseplant does just fine in low-light conditions. It can grow up to 24 inches tall in well-draining soil but prefers to stay in the same pot for a couple of years at a time.
Our pick: The Odd Frond Asparagus Fern, $19.95
5. Chinese Evergreens
Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema spp.) add a tropical touch to your bathroom with their large, glossy leaves (many of them etched with silver). These large-leaved houseplants can grow to 48 inches tall but often stay half that size and tend to develop a cute, rounded shape. They have all the qualities you'd want in a best friend — forgiving, flexible, and adaptable.
Native to Asia, these are among the best choices for a bathroom because they thrive on an hour or two of indirect light. They are among the most resilient houseplants and ideal for beginners since they shrug off neglect. Chinese evergreen adore humidity but tolerate dry air and prefer low-light conditions. Look for the 'Silver Queen' cultivar for silver and pink variegation.
Our pick: Amaryllis Bulb Shop Chinese Evergreen, $36.97
6. Spider Plants
Even those who hate spiders in the shower will enjoy having spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) in the bathroom. Their foliage is long and grasslike, growing in rosettes of thin, arching leaves that are ideal for hanging baskets. Many varieties are solid green but others have white stripes down the center of each leaf. Most delightfully, mature plants produce miniature spideys on the ends of long stalks. The babies develop roots as they hang there, and once they do, you can clip them off and plant them.
Spider plants may be the most tolerant plants on earth, growing in bright, medium, or low indirect light, and cascading beautifully out of a pot or a hanging basket. They are also among the top air-cleaning plants and will survive for weeks without water if necessary. They appreciate misting and are sure to thrive in the warmth and humidity of a bathroom.
Our pick: The Green Escape Curly Spider Starter Plant, $14
7. Peace Lily
With their classic elegance and easy charm, peace lilies (Spathiphyllum spp.) are an unbeatable choice of houseplant. Their forest green leaves are large and graceful, and their pure white flowers — actually a type of modified leaf called a spathe — rise like little flags above the foliage on long stalks.
Peace lilies require no babying and help you by removing toxins from the air. They are great options for the bathroom, since they like humidity and consistently moist soil. They also do very well in limited light, but if your bathroom gets some sun, you're more likely to see flowers.
Our pick: West Elm Live Spath Plant, $59
8. Cast Iron Plant
Is your bathroom bathed in shade instead of sunlight? If so, the cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior) is perfect for you. These houseplants have upright, lance-shaped leaves that reach 20 inches tall. Depending on the variety, they may have bright green or variegated foliage.
Just like cast iron, this leafy plant is tough and sturdy. It's not just low-maintenance but virtually indestructible, tolerating any amount of shade, from filtered to deep. They thrive in regular bathrooms because they do well in warmth and humidity. But they are also great for occasionally used guest bathrooms that get chilly, since they can survive temperatures as low as 23 degrees Fahrenheit.
Our pick: American Plants Cast-Iron Plant, $46
9. Nepenthes Tropical Pitcher Plant
Ready for something a little unusual? Say hello to the tropical pitcher plant (Nepenthes spp.). Not only are they adorable, with their hanging, reddish pitchers, but they're also carnivorous vines that get their meals by luring insects into their fluid-filled pitchers. The fluid is responsible for both attracting insects and digesting them. Once insects are trapped, it's impossible for them to make a fast exit, since the internal walls are slippery and covered in stiff, downward-pointing hairs.
Since tropical pitcher plants prefer moist soil and humid air, they'll be happy hanging from your bathroom ceiling. But note: These are not the easiest plants to grow, so they are best for experienced green thumbs.
Our pick: Tillandsia Source Hanging Starter Pitcher Plant, $24.95
10. Watermelon Peperomia
Have a small bathroom? Look no further than the watermelon peperomia (Peperomia argyreia). Here's a little plant that makes a big statement on a bathroom vanity or shelf. It's cute as a button with shimmery, rounded leaves, striped like watermelons.
Despite its darling looks, peperomia is a tough cookie and incredibly easy to care for. Native to South America, it's a rainforest dweller in the wild but adapts exceptionally well to indoor growing. It does best with good indirect light, humidity, and regular watering.
11. Golden Pothos
Golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum) is a lush and lovely option suitable for anyone, from newbies to those with real houseplant chops. They may not be unkillable, but we've yet to see one dead. That makes them ideal for a bathroom.
The pothos is a cascading vine, and its large, heart-shaped leaves are a bright shade of green, often with yellow or pale green striations. One plant could take over your bathroom, since they can grow to 30 feet long indoors. However, it's easy-sneezy to pinch off the vines to keep them shorter. Flexible and resilient, pothos are happy in full sun, content in partial shade, and satisfied in low light. They'll even thrive under fluorescent lighting. They can go for weeks without water and don't pine for fertilizer either. Pothos is a truly great starter houseplant.
Our pick: Bloomscape Golden Pothos, $35
12. Snake Plant
Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) is also known as mother-in-law's-tongue, and that's a pretty good way to describe its looks. It's an upright succulent with tall, flat stalks — usually six or more — that are pointed at the tips. Given enough time, the stalks can grow to 36 inches or longer. The snake plant is among the most forgiving houseplants you will ever find, accepting any lighting situation from full sun to shade. Even in deep shade, the snake plant persists, its growth rate slowing but its spirit unchecked.
This is definitely a set-and-forget houseplant. Little maintenance, no fertilizer or pruning. It can do perfectly well without weekly water but will also be fine in a humid bathroom.
Our pick: Bloomscape 3-foot Snake Plant, $149