What's the trick to finding the best plants to put in your bathroom? Picking humidity-loving plants that thrive in the light that your bathroom has available. (Is yours bright and sunny? Small and low-light?) You'll need to choose carefully, but don't worry, there are a number of options. Here are a few bathroom plant ideas for sun and for shade.
1. Shade-Loving Begonias
Begonia is hailed as the queen of the shade garden. The rich 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 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 of the begonias and require more humidity and moisture than other varieties.
2. Orchids for Sun or Shade
Orchids decorate a space like no other plant. Each individual flower is a thing of beauty, with an exquisite form, stunning color and, sometimes, a fragrance to die for. Many orchids come from a tropical realm where the air is warm and the humidity is high. While you are unlikely to match the air of the tropics, placing orchids in the bathroom is almost always a great call.
Orchids are all over the map in terms of light preferences. For bright, sunny bathrooms, 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. Good low-light choices: moth orchids (Phalaenopsis spp.) or lady's-slipper orchids (Paphiopedilums).
3. Fiddle-Leaf Fig Trees in Bright Bathrooms
Fiddle-leaf fig trees (Ficus lyrata) are lush leafy plants with leaves the size and shape of a fiddle. These are big plants that require a protected, bright-light area and love humidity. They also like moist soil.
All those factors make these cool plants ideal for a bright bathroom. These plants are ornamental, and how! Tall, columnar, and sculptural, their waxy dark-green foliage contrasts beautifully against light bathroom walls. Place in a spot where it gets bright consistent indirect light.
4. Ferns for Medium-Light Bathrooms
Ferns are good, easy-care choices for medium-light bathrooms. Low-maintenance, ferns add texture and "pow" to a room. They prefer an average daytime temperature of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, but like a 10-degree drop at night, entirely consistent with most bathrooms.
Native to the tropics, ferns love the humidity in bathrooms. Which ferns to consider? Asparagus fern (Asparagus aethiopicus) is airy, with its lacy fronds. Or try the Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis'), with its arching sword fronds and tolerant ways.
5. Chinese Evergreen, a Low-Light Choice
The Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema spp.) adapts well to life in a low-light bathroom. Native to Asia, these are popular indoor plants thanks to their glossy-green foliage and adaptability. They will thrive even if you forget to water them, making them ideal beginner plants.
Chinese evergreen add a tropical touch to your bathroom with their large leaves (many etched in silver) and mounded, rounded growth habit. They will love the bathroom's humidity and only need an hour or two of low lighting a day.
6. Spider Plants Grow Anywhere
Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) will feel at home in any room, any corner, any light exposure. These are the plants with green or striped ribbonlike leaves that produce young plants on the tips of drooping stems. The baby "spiderettes" will grow roots and you can clip them off and plant them as stand-alones.
Spider plants may be the most tolerant plants on earth, growing in bright light or low-light, and thriving in a pot or a hanging basket. They do appreciate humidity and are sure to thrive in the warmth and humidity of a bathroom.
- BHG: 11 Plants That Will Grow Better in Your Bathroom
- Wide Open Eats: The 10 Lush Bathroom Plants to Keep Your Space Bright and Cheery
- HGTV: Fiddle Leaf Fig
- SF Gate: Indoor Potted Plants that Like Humidity
- Tree Hugger: 8 'Shower Plants' that Want to Live in your Bathroom
- American Orchid Society: Paphiopedilum
- Today's Homeowner: How to Grow Different Varieties of Begonias
- Native Foods Nursery: Fiddlehead Fern
- UVM: Growing Ferns Successfully Indoors
- NUC Greenery: Fiddle Leaf Fig Care
From Alaska to California, from France's Basque Country to Mexico's Pacific Coast, Teo Spengler has dug the soil, planted seeds and helped trees, flowers and veggies thrive. A professional writer and consummate gardener, Spengler has written about home and garden for Gardening Know How, San Francisco Chronicle, Gardening Guide and Go Banking Rates. She earned a BA from U.C. Santa Cruz, a law degree from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall, and an MA and MFA from San Francisco State. She currently divides her life between San Francisco and southwestern France.