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Best bathroom plants 2021: Create an oasis at home from just £10

Flora Baker
4 Mar 2021
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Turn your bathroom into a steamy sanctuary with our pick of the best bathroom plants

When it comes to house plants, the bathroom is an oft-overlooked space. But there are plenty of plants that adore steam and humidity, and can cope with the lower light levels of many bathrooms. The best bathroom plants improve air quality, make you feel calmer, and bring nature into a space that can often be bare, white and a little clinical.

So which plants should you choose? If you have plenty of surfaces you can go to town with small succulents and tall stems, while high shelves and cabinet tops are great for vine-like plants to trail down from. But it’s also worth getting to grips with your bathroom’s specific conditions: you need to make sure the humidity and the amount of natural light available matches your plant choices so that you don’t end up with frazzled fronds and drooping leaves.

To get your botanical bathroom started, we’ve collected the best bathroom plants that are low maintenance, make an impact, work in small spaces and can cope with minimal sunlight.

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Best bathroom plants: At a glance

  • Best plant for high humidity: Boston fern | Buy now
  • Best hanging plant: Variegated spider plant | Buy now
  • Best low maintenance plant: Snake plant | Buy now
  • Best flowering plant: Peace lily | Buy now
  • Best trailing plant: Pothos | Buy now
  • Best low light plant: ZZ plant | Buy now
  • Best plant for minimal surface space: Aloe vera | Buy now

How to choose the best bathroom plants for you

Where should I place my plants?

Some plants will increase in size rather quickly, while others are more compact and slow-growing. Have a look at the surfaces available to you – windowsills, shelves, the tops of cabinets, the edge of the bath and beside the sink – then choose your plants accordingly.

Trailing plants like Devil’s Ivy are a good choice to flow down from shelves and cabinets. Aloe vera and snake plants grow upwards rather than outwards, which makes them perfect for bathrooms with minimal surface space. If you can hang some planters from the ceiling then a spider plant’s fronds look fantastic at eye level too. A word to the wise: even though it’s tempting, avoid thinking of the toilet cistern as a potential plant shelf.

How much natural light does my bathroom get?

Unless you’re blessed with a skylight, it’s likely your bathroom doesn’t get a ton of natural light. Many UK bathrooms have tiny windows or frosted glass panes, which means opting for low-light plants. Take note of what direction your bathroom window faces, too; south and west-facing windows get the brightest and most direct light, while windows facing north and east receive indirect, softer light.

No plant can live without light, so if your bathroom gets no natural light at all you might be better off with an artificial plant. Alternatively, you can set up a grow light to keep your plant babies happy, and can always move them to a sunnier room occasionally. Plants like holidays, too!

Is my bathroom humid?

When you take a shower the bathroom fills with steam – but if it doesn’t hang around, then placing humid-loving plants in your bathroom is a recipe for disaster (we’ve had to say goodbye to ferns that crisp up and turn brown due to lack of moist air). The best bathroom plants are the ones that can handle a regular shift in temperature. If your house is draughty or cold, aim for hardier plants like peace lilies and snake plants, and avoid ferns that really do need high humidity to stay happy.

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The best bathroom plants to buy

1. Crocus Boston Fern: Best plant for high humidity

Price: £15 | Buy now from Crocus

Boston ferns have been a popular household plant since the Victorian era, and they’re particularly well suited to bathrooms. Ferns adore humidity so won’t mind being splashed with bathwater, and the leafy fronds provide a lovely textural contrast to the clean lines of bathroom decor.

It can be a little tricky to get a fern’s environment perfect, but once they’re happy you’ll be rewarded with lovely explosions of vibrant green leaves that grow quickly. The priority with fern care is keeping the soil damp, but they’ll send out a warning sign with yellowing leaves to indicate when they’re not getting enough moisture. To really keep your ferns satisfied, give them a light misting with a spray bottle once a week, particularly in warmer weather.

Crocus has a number of different ferns available including the crinkle-edged Bird’s Nest fern and the delicate asparagus fern, but we’ve found that the Boston variety (also known as nephrolepis exaltata) is typically the easiest fern to care for.

Key features – Height: 25cm approx; Water: keep soil moist but not wet; Light: bright and indirect; Pet friendly: yes

Buy now from Crocus


2. RHS Variegated Spider Plant: Best hanging plant

Price: £10 | Buy now from RHS

Don’t let the name put you off! Spider plants are a wonderful feature for a bathroom, adding lots of atmosphere thanks to their tiny “babies” – offshoots that dangle down from the main plant when it’s getting enough sunlight. The spider-like babies make these plants look great in a hanging planter, but because they like to dry out a little it’s best to hang them from the ceiling, and not directly beneath a showerhead.

These slim-leaved green and white beauties were hugely popular in the Victorian era, and have been in and out of fashion ever since. Why? Because they’re happy in a range of temperatures, don’t need much water or light, and are non-toxic to pets. RHS Plants has a few different chlorophytum varieties on offer: the ‘Ocean’ has stout, chunky leaves, and the ‘Lemon’, perhaps confusingly, has leaves of pure green.

Key features – Height: 20cm approx; Water: allow surface of soil to dry out before watering; Light: bright and indirect; Pet friendly: yes

Buy now from RHS


3. Bloombox snake plant Laurentii: Best low maintenance plant

Price: £22 | Buy now from Bloombox

If you’re lamenting your lack of green thumb, the snake plant is likely to be your new plant best friend. These tough, spiky succulents are famed for their virtual indestructibility – in fact, they actually do best when neglected. Also known as ‘mother-in-law’s tongue’, the desert-dwelling snake plant loves bright sun but is just as happy in near shade; the only downside is that its speed of growth reduces to match the lack of light.

Snake plants are particularly suited to the bathroom because when they absorb CO2 they also take in toxins, which helps to purify the air. You should water them extremely sparingly, as their roots can rot otherwise.

Bloombox has plenty of different snake plants, but our fave is the classic-looking Laurentii which has slightly twisting leaves edged with bright yellow. If you’re on the lookout for a different style of snake plant, other top contenders are the slender-stemmed Mikado and immensely satisfying Cylindrical snake plant.

Key features – Height: 17cm; Water: allow soil to dry out completely before watering; Light: bright and indirect; Pet-friendly: keep away from pets

Buy now from Bloombox


4. RHS Peace Lily: Best flowering plant

Price: £28 | Buy now from RHS

The gorgeous peace lily is a tropical plant that blooms with elegant white flowers throughout the year. If you’re a fan of the dramatic, the peace lily is perhaps the most personality-driven houseplant we’ve come across: a sudden spectacular droop of her dark glossy leaves may make you panic, but it’s simply time for some water – and just an hour later she’ll be right as rain again.

Peace lilies are adaptable plants as they’re happy in anything from light shade to medium indirect light, but they’ll flower more often in brighter light. Be forewarned: peace lilies are toxic, so they’re not a good choice if you have young children or pets.

Key features – Height: 65cm approx; Water: keep soil moist but not wet; Light: medium and indirect; Pet friendly: keep away from pets

Buy now from RHS


5. Bloombox ‘Marble Queen’ Pothos: Best trailing plant

Price: £25 | Buy now from Bloombox

One of our firm favourites is the humble pothos plant, also known as Devil’s Ivy. This marble pothos from Bloombox has beautiful green and yellow variegation on its leaves, which develops more intensely in brighter light. Generally speaking, though, pothos plants prefer to be in low to moderate indirect light, which makes them perfect for shelves, the tops of cupboards, or even hanging from your shower curtain rail. You’ll know when you’ve put a pothos in the right place because the leaves will begin to creep downwards into vines – and as they grow very quickly in the summer months, they’re also a great plant to take cuttings and propagate from.

Key features – Height: 11cm; Water: allow soil to dry out before watering; Light: low to bright and indirect; Pet friendly: keep away from pets

Buy now from Bloombox


6. GardenersDream Zamioculca Zamiifolia ‘ZZ’ plant: Best low light plant

Price: £13 | Buy now from Amazon

Hailing from Zanzibar, the ZZ plant is beautifully bizarre, with dark, glossy, oval leaves and thick stems that shoot straight upwards. It thrives in low indirect light and doesn’t mind being missed off the watering schedule occasionally, making it a great choice for forgetful folk.

Because ZZ plants are pretty sturdy, it’s worth the ‘what kind of packaging?’ gamble to buy them on Amazon. Many GardenersDream reviewers mentioned that their ZZ plants arrived safely, packed in both plastic and cardboard, although some seemed to be rootbound on arrival – so be prepared with some potting soil and a new pot to transfer it into.

Key features – Height: 40cm approx; Water: allow soil to dry out completely before watering; Light: low and indirect; Pet friendly: keep away from pets

7. YouGarden Aloe Vera plant: Best plant for minimal surface space

Price: £15 | Buy now from YouGarden

The famous aloe vera is a great addition to a clumsy plant lover’s bathroom, thanks to its powerful healing properties. This little succulent has thorny branches filled with gel that, when applied topically, helps to soothe sunburn, cuts and scrapes, insect bites and even as a moisture replenisher when used in DIY face masks. You can easily harvest the gel yourself by shearing off a branch and slicing lengthwise.

When not being used as a heal-all plant, aloe vera is an easy succulent to care for. It only needs watering occasionally, prefers warm temperatures and loves bright, indirect light, so make sure it’s near a window. Aloe also tends to grow really slowly so you don’t have to worry about your bathroom counter being overtaken.

Key features – Height: 50cm; Water: allow soil to dry out before watering; Light: bright & indirect; Pet friendly: keep away from pets

Buy now from YouGarden

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