Whether you’re the proud owner of a plush bathroom or an apartment dweller who makes do with a tiny, utilitarian enclosure, adding a touch of green with bathroom plants will bring fresh appeal to this important space in your home. It’s simple enough to do and is light on the pocket. Bathroom plants, or all indoor plants for that matter, also enhance your well-being by absorbing pollutants from the air and reducing stress.
Top 5 Bathroom Plants You Should Have
There’s a huge variety of species you can pick from, but here’s a list to start with, of plants that do especially well in bathrooms. These are tropical species and, hence, live happily in the typically warm, humid environment of a bathroom. Take care not to overwater, though!
How To Select Your Bathroom Plants
Before selecting your plants, study the environment in your bathroom in terms of light, temperature, humidity, and available space. Is your bathroom sunny or windowless? Is it extremely humid? Pick plants that will thrive under specific conditions.
Generally speaking, tropical plants with their need for low light, high humidity, and minimal care are ideal choices for bathroom plants. Space is another consideration – for a small bathroom, you’d pick potted plants that can sit on a windowsill or shelf. Alternatively, you can hang pots from the ceiling. If your bathroom has adequate floor space, tall plants add elegance and drama.
1. Spider Plant
The spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is a great choice if you’re a newbie at indoor gardening or don’t have much time to spare on plant care. It thrives in relatively cool temperatures. Moderate watering, well-drained soil, and indirect light are all that the Spider needs (a little neglect may even help it thrive!). Its growth is prolific – in no time at all, the “mother” plant will produce baby spideys that you can use to multiply your spider plant family.
Author Greg Horn, in his book Living Green: A Practical Guide For Simple Sustainability, writes that spider plants eliminate carbon monoxide.1
2. Peace Lilies
The peace lily (Spathiphyllum) has shiny, dark green leaves and waxy, white “blooms” – they aren’t really blooms but hooded leaf bracts that grow over the tiny flowers. True to its name, this tropical plant exudes serenity. It’s popular as a house or office plant thanks to its ability to filter indoor pollutants like benzene.2 They make sense in the bathroom too.
Moderate or low light is sufficient for peace lilies; bear in mind though that more light will result in the plant having a larger number of white “flowers.” Overwatering can kill it. Water them moderately, about once a week, checking first to see that the top soil is dry. If the broad leaves get dusty, wipe them down or give your peace lily a quick shower. To ensure high humidity, give them a daily misting or place them near the bath area when you take a warm shower.
3. Aloe Vera
The ancient Egyptians called aloe vera “the plant of immortality” and that’s no surprise, given what we know about its miraculous healing and nourishing properties.3 Aloe vera can also clean up formaldehyde from the air in your home.4
As a bathroom plant, aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis miller) needs minimal care. Place it near a window that provides indirect light, water it sparingly, and watch your aloe thrive. It’s also good to have in your bathroom if you happen to run out of moisturizer or need to soothe an insect bite!
4. Boston Ferns
These bright-green ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata) require cool temperatures, high humidity, and moderate, indirect light to thrive in a bathroom. Their bushy exuberance makes them a good choice if bathroom space is not a constraint. Boston ferns tend to suffer if the air turns dry. So, if your bathroom isn’t humid enough, mist the ferns with water intermittently.
The ferns are typically potted in baskets of peat moss. Give the basket a monthly soak and drain out thoroughly afterward so the ferns stay happy and hydrated.
For an exotic spa ambiance in your bathroom, you can’t beat an orchid (Orchidaceae). Bright but indirect sunlight and high levels of humidity mimic the orchid’s natural habitat. With their relatively small size and lack of foliage, orchids are a good fit for small bathrooms, adding a lovely splash of color.
3 Reasons To Have Plants In Your Bathroom
1. To Reduce Indoor Air Pollution
Back in the 80s, a NASA-supported study found that during photosynthesis, house plants absorbed many of the volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) emitted by modern building materials, varied manufactured products, and furnishing and reduced indoor air pollution.5
A study from two South Korean universities also discovered that the greater the number of plants, the lesser the concentration of VOCs.6
Since then, studies around the world have concluded that chemicals released from dozens of household products like detergents, cooking fuels, and even stuff like grocery bags and paper products are effectively absorbed by common indoor plants.
2. To Reduce Stress And Promote Calmness
Caring for a plant, in the bathroom or elsewhere, could also make you a happier, contented person! In 2015, Japanese and Korean scientists published a study concluding that interacting with house plants, as opposed to say, working on a computer, helps promote feelings of calmness and comfort.7
Another study from the University of Twente in the Netherlands concluded that hospital patients who had plants in their room had reduced stress levels as compared to other patients who had a picture of a cityscape on their wall.8
What better reason to gaze upon your collection of fresh green ferns or peace lilies while you soak in a tub!
3. To Brighten Up Your Bathroom
The largest, most lavishly designed of bathrooms must of necessity have hard, cold surfaces. At the other end of the spectrum are tiny, cramped bathrooms, often windowless and boring. Bringing nature into this space can transform it magically, adding warmth, cheer, and aesthetic appeal. Whether you keep a tall green plant or hang orchids from the ceiling or the window, plants can transform your bathroom. As per Feng shui, green plants in the bathroom also counteract its negative energy.9
|↑1, ↑2, ↑4||Horn, Greg. Living Green: A Practical Guide to Simple Sustainability. Freedom Press (2006).|
|↑3||Aloe Vera. NIH.|
|↑5||Interior Landscape Plants For Indoor Air Pollution Abatement. NASA.|
|↑6||Song, Jeong-Eun, Yong-Shik Kim, and Jang-Yeul Sohn. “The impact of plants on the reduction of volatile organic compounds in a small space.” Journal of physiological anthropology 26, no. 6 (2007): 599-603.|
|↑7||Lee, Min-sun, Juyoung Lee, Bum-Jin Park, and Yoshifumi Miyazaki. “Interaction with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress by suppressing autonomic nervous system activity in young adults: a randomized crossover study.” Journal of physiological anthropology 34, no. 1 (2015): 1.|
|↑8||Dijkstra, K., M. E. Pieterse, and A. Pruyn. “Stress-reducing effects of indoor plants in the built healthcare environment: The mediating role of perceived attractiveness.” Preventive medicine 47, no. 3 (2008): 279-283.|
|↑9||Kennedy, Grandmaster David Daniel. Feng Shui for Dummies. John Wiley & Sons, 2010.|