What plants work well in the bathroom?

PUBLISHED: 10:54 30 August 2018 | UPDATED: 12:11 30 August 2018

Plants can turn your bathroom from a clinical bathing space into a living, breathing environment of relaxation.

Plants can turn your bathroom from a clinical bathing space into a living, breathing environment of relaxation.

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Houseplants are enjoying a bit of a boom, and rightly so. Not only do they look great, they’re also good for your health and wellbeing, so what better place to keep them than in the bathroom?

You’re surrounded by lush green ferns and spiky bromeliads, the air is warm and moist and filled with the fragrance of gardenia, while the steady sound of flowing water completes the experience.

Are you in a tropical rainforest? No, you’re in your bathroom!

A few well-chosen plants can transform your clinical, clean bathroom into a space that lives and breathes.

The benefits of bringing plants into your bathroom are manifold, according to experts Anna-Marie Clarke, Planteria team leader at Highway Garden & Leisure, and Sue Huckle, who runs Posh Plants, a nursery, plant hire and garden design company.

“Plants make a more relaxing place to unwind,” says Anna-Marie. “Not many homes use plants in the bathroom, so it tends to add interest and a feeling of luxury; the softness of the plants helps to balance the visual hardness of bathroom surfaces.”

And Sue agrees: “Bathrooms, by their very nature, often include hard materials such as tiles and porcelain. Plants can introduce a softness and contrast in texture and colour. Without plants a bathroom can feel cold and sterile – add some greenery and it will instantly feel lush, verdant and warmer.”

It’s not simply a case of picking your favourite plant, however. Choosing plants that will work in a bathroom environment is crucial, as Sue explains: “Often the smallest room in the house, bathrooms are spacially overlooked by architects. If bathrooms were designed as spacious rooms, they would then deserve larger windows; and more light would mean a wider range of plants could be grown.

“But, it’s a fact that bathrooms tend to struggle for natural light, so plant choice is important.”

Anna-Marie adds that products such as talcum powder and aerosols can also have a detrimental effect on plants, so need to be taken into consideration.

Making the most of the small space is key, so you’ll need to think creatively about where you can incorporate plants. Wall mounted pot holders, hanging baskets and macramé style holders suspended from the ceiling or trailing from a shelf can also help to save space.

“If the bathroom is large enough, a good size specimen plant or a group of plants in matching containers can be quite stunning,” suggests Anna-Marie.

“Plants placed by a mirror can also give the impression of depth to a room and make it appear bigger than it is.”

Shelves are great for storage and displaying plants. Sue says: “There are so many gorgeous pots available now, so think also about positioning some shelves to hold a collection of small plants in lovely pots. “Hanging plants can create a luxurious tropical feel, but make sure the plant pots are not too big and that the hook is screwed into a wooden joist and not just into plasterboard.”

Plants need on-going care in order to thrive, as Anna-Marie explains: “As with plants for any room, regular feeding and inspection for pests or disease will be necessary. And if you’re worried about water stains, they can be prevented using pot holders or drip trays in colours to match the décor.”


Anna-Marie and Sue suggest their top bathroom plant picks:



Ferns would be my first choice. Boston fern, maiden hair, asparagus, staghorn, and other bird nest varieties need good light and humidity, with temperatures between 55 and 75 farenheit.

Tropical flowers such as gardenia can add a wonderful perfume but will not be able to tolerate large fluctuation in temperatures.

Bromeliads can add drama to any room with their striking colours and distinctive shape. Bright, indirect light and high humidity is a must for this range of plants to do well.

Specimen plants such as dracaena make fantastic air purifiers and are very easy to keep.



Spider plants are an ideal plant for the bathroom; they love warmth and humidity and will trail well if positioned on a windowsill. Keep it watered and pot it up after a few months and it will reward you with gorgeous stripey leaves.

The sansevieria, or Mother in Law’s tongue will love a bathroom as it can tolerate low light levels and is a great air purifier, known for filtering out toxins such as formaldehyde, which are sometimes found in bathroom products. As sansevierias have a slim, upright habit, they are less likely to take up room. They can grow quite tall so are ideal as a floor-standing plant, perhaps planted in an attractive ceramic pot to match the decor.

Orchids are very easy to keep and like the warm and humid atmosphere of a bathroom. Just water once a week and they will flower for ages.


For more inspiration, check out the digital edition of Beautiful Homes & Gardens.

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