Hello fellow plant lovers!
I’m Allie, and I’ll be learning and sharing about a variety of plant care topics over the next few months on the Urban Jungle Journal. A little about me: I’ve claimed Des Moines as home for over a decade. I love houseplants, dogs, books, dessert, coffee, and tea. I’m a relatively new plant mom; I started my collection a little over a year ago.
By some stroke of a miracle, the curly spider plant that stole my heart on my first visit to Art Terrarium (and jumpstarted my plant obsession) still grows and thrives on my desk today. I even successfully propagated two baby spider plants from it recently. Sadly, I can’t claim the same for my first succulent from the shop. Or my two parlor palms. Or the cute little fern I picked up a few months ago that’s definitely going to be the latest casualty.
Like many plant owners, I struggle with getting the right balance of light for my plants. No matter where I put them, I seem to give them too much light or too little. I’m really just lucky that spider plants are hard to kill, I think. Lately, I’ve been dying to spruce up my bathrooms with live plants, but my track record worries me (as it clearly should).
Can plants thrive in a bathroom?
Andrea has assured me that bathrooms can be a wonderful spot for houseplants, since they’re often the most humid room in the house. Many of the most common houseplants are native to warm, tropical areas, so they love the humidity that a bathroom can provide. But you do still have to be careful about light.
My husband likes to joke that I live in darkness, since I require blackout curtains in our bedroom (and because I’m not really a person before 8 a.m. or until I’ve had caffeine). I’ve always wondered if there are any darkness-loving plants that might thrive in my preferred environment. The verdict: yes and no.
Plants for bathrooms with no windows?
There are plants that can thrive with low light conditions. But you won’t find a plant that lives in full darkness. All plants need some light to survive; it’s their food and how they perform photosynthesis, so with absolutely no light, they’ll die. Sadly, that means plants won’t thrive in a windowless bathroom on their own.
If you want to take advantage of the humidity of a bathroom that doesn’t have natural light, you’ll have to place your plants in an area with the right amount light during the day, then move them into your bathroom and enjoy them in the evening/ the next morning before you move it again. Note that some plants don’t enjoy being moved around a lot, so you’ll want to pick a hardy plant if you’re set on a bathroom plant but don’t have windows in your bathroom.
Plants for bathrooms with lots of light?
If you have a bathroom with windows and lots of natural light, I’m jealous of you, because a variety of plants will work in this environment. If you’re stumped on what to pick, Andrea recommends bromeliads, air plants, ivy, or staghorn ferns. With any bathroom plant, keep in mind that since there will likely be a lot of humidity in the room, you probably won’t need to water your plants as much as you would otherwise. Take care to make sure you aren’t over watering these plants.
Plants for bathrooms with medium/ dim light
Medium/ dim light can be the right balance for a variety of plants. Ferns are one of the best bathroom plants if you have a good amount of filtered light in your bathroom. Many people (including me) find it hard to keep ferns alive indoors, since they need so much water and humidity. Your bathroom is one of the best spots to keep a fern for this reason, presuming you still give it some light.
Other plants that do well in medium/ dimly lit bathrooms are philodendrons and Chinese evergreens. And my favorite spider plants thrive here too, which doesn’t surprise me given I’ve even managed to keep a few of these alive. I experimented with one of my baby spider plants and started moving it into my bathroom at night the last few weeks, and I’m pleased to report it’s still happy.
If you’re ready to forge into the semi-darkness with a bathroom plant, I wish you luck (and I encourage you to maybe set yourself up for success with a spider plant. Or dream big and go for a fern. Just remember to actually move your new plant into a room that has light if your bathrooms are windowless like mine. This is only partially a future note-to-self).