7 Best Bathroom Plants For the High Humidity Environment
by Max - last update on
If you like to grow tropical houseplants, then the bathroom is often the perfect place to keep them, as it replicates their natural environment of high humidity. Bathrooms have high humidity levels because the frequent use of showers, baths, and faucets increases the moisture content of the air. Keeping your humidity-loving plants in the bathroom will reduce their maintenance, as the consistent humidity levels will mean you no longer have to carry out daily misting of your plants’ foliage. Meeting your plants’ thirst for humidity will also ensure you have lush, healthy growth.
Guest bathrooms or lesser-used bathrooms will not have consistent humidity, so this would be a good place to keep a houseplant that is low-maintenance and has minimal care requirements. When selecting a houseplant for your bathroom, you should consider how frequently used the bathroom is to ensure you select an appropriate plant and also take into consideration whether the lighting requirements of the plant match those within your bathroom. This list comprises some of the best houseplants that thrive in bathrooms.
This plant, also known as the ‘Sword Fern,’ has a reputation for being tricky to care for. It’s not unusual for the foliage of a Boston fern to turn yellow or to start falling from their fronds, and many people will give up on this plant and dismiss it as high maintenance. But the secret to keeping this plant happy is actually very simple; grow it in your bathroom. These plants require low to moderate light, and so work well in a shady corner of the bathroom, or by a small window that doesn’t get too much direct light.
They need consistently moist soil and high humidity. As bathrooms are typically a place of high humidity, Boston ferns absolutely love them. The moisture in the air from frequent showers, baths, and running faucets, keeps the foliage of the fern looking lush and healthy. The number one cause of yellowing foliage amongst these plants is low humidity, and even misting the plant daily is not enough to prevent this. A bathroom position, however, provides adequate humidity, and you’ll never need to mist your fern again. Maintaining moist soil is also key for ensuring this plant thrives, so check on the soil daily and make sure it is never allowed to dry out. Some people soak their Boston ferns on a monthly basis to ensure the soil is completely hydrated, but this isn’t essential so long as you are paying attention to its soil condition and watering it regularly.
If you keep your Boston fern in your main bathroom, you should find it’s actually quite a low-maintenance plant. This fern is also very attractive and makes a nice decorative feature in a bathroom, with its long gently arching fronds and fresh green foliage, it adds a nice tropical touch to the interior. It can reach heights of up to four feet, but this is unusual, and will more likely top out at between two and three feet tall.
This plant, also commonly known as ‘Mother-in-laws Tongue,’ is a great plant for guest bathrooms or lesser-used bathrooms, as it can survive for weeks at a time without any attention at all. It is very drought-tolerant and actually seems to thrive on neglect. However, it is also well suited to more frequently used bathrooms as it does enjoy humidity. It is a plant that will adapt to most types of conditions, so it will perform well in any bathroom type, whether you have low light or bright light. The snake plant does prefer bright, indirect light where possible, but it will also grow well in shady conditions.
This plant has a modern architectural look to it, with upright thick leaves in dark green with yellow edges. It is enormously popular due to its stunning look and easy maintenance care. It should be watered once the top few inches of soil have dried out but can sustain itself for several weeks without any water as the leaves hold water reserves. It can grow up to four feet tall, but its slow growth habit means it will live happily for many years on a windowsill before it needs moving to a bigger space. An added bonus of the snake plant is that it is known for its air-filtering properties; therefore, it can help to cleanse the air in bathrooms and keep them clean and healthy places to be.
3. English Ivy
Scientific Name: Hedera helix
Mature Size: Up to 100 feet long
Light: Partial shade to full shade
Water: Low water needs
Also known as ‘Common Ivy,’ this plant is perfect for bathrooms thanks to its air filtering properties, and its ability to thrive in most conditions. In a report by NASA in 1989 entitled ‘Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement,’ it was found that English Ivy was the best performing plant for filtering benzene from the air, removing almost 90% of the toxic chemical in just 24 hours. A study by the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology also found that English Ivy was able to remove 78% of airborne mold particles in the space of 12 hours, and 94% of airborne feces in the same time frame. This makes the plant ideal for keeping in the bathroom, where airborne mold and feces are typically more common than anywhere else in the home.
English ivy is also an attractive and low-maintenance plant. It has aerial rootlets that enable it to climb in its natural habitat, but in the bathroom, it works well as a trailing plant. Simply set the plant in a pot on a window sill or shelf, and the vines of the plant will trail downwards. This plant will thrive in almost any lighting condition, though it prefers partial to full shade, so position it in a darker corner of your bathroom and allow it to brighten up the space. The high humidity of bathrooms will help keep the foliage a luscious deep green color, but be careful not to overwater the plant as it will not tolerate wet soils. Allow the plant to dry out between waterings (NASA 1989 Study).
4. Nerve Plant
Scientific Name: Fittonia albivenis
Mature Size: Up to 6 inches tall
Light: Indirect light, partial shade
Water: Maintain moist soil
Soil: Well-draining, acidic
These plants are native to Peru and so thrive in warm and humid conditions. As these can be tricky to care for when they are not in a constantly humid environment, nerve plants are commonly grown in terrariums where the humidity is permanently higher. This need for humidity means the plant is also very well suited to bathrooms that are in frequent use. Without consistent humidity, the foliage can wilt or become brown. The plant also needs to have its soil moisture monitored carefully. In soil that is too wet, the leaves will become yellow and droopy, before dying back. In soil that is too dry, the leaves will wilt. If this happens, a generous watering will allow the plant to recover over the course of a few hours, but if this happens too frequently, the plant will become less likely to bounce back in the future.
Nerve plants remain small and so are perfect for smaller bathrooms with minimal space. They typically do not exceed six inches in height and will spread to around double this in width. These plants, if you can keep up with their care requirements, make beautiful houseplants. They have a quirky look, with green leaves that can be veined in pink, white, or silver. They prefer indirect light or partial shade, but will not thrive in full shade or full sun.
Scientific Name: Orchidaceae family
Mature Size: Up to 2 feet tall
Light: Bright, indirect light
Water: Average water needs
Soil: Free draining, rich in bark
Orchids are a popular houseplant that thrives in humid conditions. Orchids are actually epiphytes, which means in their natural habitat grow on other plants, such as tree trunks, and can survive without being planted in soil. As epiphytes, they absorb moisture from the air to sustain their growth, which is why humidity is so important to their survival. If kept outside of a bathroom, most orchids will need to be misted with water two or three times a day to thrive, which is more maintenance than most houseplant owners are willing to sign up for. If you want to grow an orchid with less hassle, simply keep it in a regularly used bathroom where it can benefit from the consistent humidity.
There are many different types of orchids, and some of these enjoy direct light, but most prefer bright indirect light. They typically work well on a bright bathroom window, with soil that is kept moist but not wet. Overwatering is one of the main reasons orchids die, so always make sure the top few inches of soil are dry before you water the plant again. You can do this by dipping your finger into the soil, or alternatively lift the pot up to check how heavy it is. If it feels light, then you can water, but if it is heavy, you should wait a few more days before adding water. Orchids make beautiful additions to bathrooms, bringing a touch of elegance with their sophisticated looking blooms.
6. Asparagus Fern
Scientific Name: Asparagus densiflorus
Mature Size: Up to 2 feet tall
Light: Bright, indirect light to partial shade
Water: Average water needs
This plant is not technically a fern, but much like ferns, it requires plenty of humidity to thrive, and this means it lends itself perfectly to life in a frequently used bathroom. Asparagus ferns have fluffy, fine foliage, which has an airy and delicate appeal. The foliage is a fresh shade of medium green, and though this plant can produce flowers, it is the attractive foliage that it is grown for. The plant enjoys bright indirect light, or partially shaded positions, so it will work well in a bathroom that does not get the sun all day. Even if your bathroom does get a lot of light, you can still keep this plant by situating it away from the window or having blinds or sheer drapes over your window to diffuse the light.
Asparagus fern can be a tricky houseplant to keep happy, because the dry air in homes will quickly dry the foliage out and turn it brown, but this can be avoided when kept in a humid bathroom. It likes its soil to be moist but not wet and can succumb to root rot easily, so be sure not to overwater it. As this plant gets bigger, it can be kept in a hanging planter or draped down over a windowsill or shelf, as its stems arch downwards, and it has a cascading waterfall effect. For best foliage growth, move the plant outside into the garden during summer, but it will happily remain a houseplant all year round. Be careful when handling the plant as it is toxic, and it also has spiked thorns beneath its fluffy foliage.
Scientific Name: Epipremnum aureum
Mature Size: Up to 30 feet long
Light: Bright indirect light to shade
Water: Average water needs
This plant is also known as Devil’s Ivy because it grows relentlessly in almost any conditions, making it ideal for dark bathrooms or lesser-used bathrooms where its watering pattern might be infrequent or sporadic. This is a trailing vine that looks great in a hanging planter or trailing over the edge of a shelf or windowsill.