There’s no better place to embrace the healing powers of biophilic design than in the bathroom with bathroom plant ideas. This hot home decor trend channels the positive influence of nature into our homes, helping to still the mind and promote wellbeing – all good attributes to aim for if you’d love a bathroom that supports self-care and relaxation.
The best way to get onboard is by seeking out house plant ideas that thrive in humid conditions. There are a few firm favourites – such as ferns, orchids, calathea and peace lily – that are especially suited to bathrooms and amongst the best indoor plants to buy online.
‘Humidity-loving houseplants can absorb vapour through their leaves, which in turn helps to regulate humidity levels and reduce excess moisture in the air,’ adds Dani Turner, from online florist Bunches. So it's worth checking out the best plants for reducing condensation when you're selecting what greenery to add.
Let’s not forget houseplants’ ability to purify and clean the air; snake plants, jade plants and weeping figs are all top choices. Do make sure you gen up on how to clean plant leaves though – dust-coated foliage will seriously impact the biophilic benefits of your bathroom jungle. ‘Be especially mindful to avoid overwatering as this can lead to significant issues like root rot,’ warns Monique Kemperman of The Joy of Plants.
Bathroom plant ideas
‘If you've ever wanted to experience a spa-like feeling in your bathroom, you can easily achieve this by creating a plant oasis,’ says Nicolene Mausenbaum of Dezyna Interiors. Keep reading for expert advice on which plants work best where and discover some creative ways to make the most of the plant life in your bathroom.
1. Paint the walls dark
Bring out the zingy freshness of green foliage by painting walls in dramatically dark shades for your bathroom colour scheme. ‘Consider more nuanced blacks, such as the charcoal-toned Off Black shown here, or the perennially popular Railings, with its subtle blue note, for a slightly softer look for your bathroom,’ suggests Patrick O’Donnell, Colour Consultant and Brand ambassador for Farrow & Ball.
‘For a fully immersive colour experience, paint your woodwork in the same colour, especially if the room has quite low ceilings as this will help accentuate the height of the room, and choose a more empathetic white for your ceiling. The dark tones will complement any greenery and foliage within the space,’ adds Patrick.
2. Arrange in clusters
Grouping plants together is a great way to create definition, shape and interest in a modern bathroom. ‘Use plant stands and stools in different heights and shapes to add variety and movement to your gathering,’ recommends interior designer, Louise Robinson.
‘Plant stands with tall legs are also a helpful way to bring plants into the bathroom if you want them off the floor but don’t have space to spare for plant pots on shelves or countertops.’
3. Hang from the ceiling
Hanging planters are a brilliant way to bring plant life into your bathroom without cluttering up the surfaces. They can be tucked into the corner, perhaps in a group of two or three at different heights or suspended from rails or ladders for extra design points. As you’ll see the pot from underneath, it pays to seek out interesting designs in unusual materials. Think rattan to add texture, or brass for a little luxe sparkle.
It can be hard to see how much water you’re putting into hanging planters. To avoid plants becoming waterlogged, especially when it comes to your best succulents, choose a lined planter and put your plant in a slightly smaller plastic pot with holes in the bottom. Next add a small layer of stones so there’s draining space between the two. When shopping for trailing plants, go for low maintenance varieties.
‘One plant that can help liven up ceiling planters is the spider plant. Wild and frizzy, this plant emulates the appearance of a long-legged spider. It is easy to grow and maintain, which makes it perfect for those without a lot of free time or botanical training,’ says Georgina O'Grady, MD, Evergreen Direct.
4. Reflect greenery inside
Fitting mirrors behind your plant display is an easy way to boost the greenery levels in your bathroom, and bring the outdoors in. Here, a mirror-backed storage niche above the bath reflects the trees outside and the indoor plants, too.
‘Strategically placing mirrors can make a space feel brighter and larger as they reflect both natural and artificial light, creating the illusion of more depth of space,’ adds Nicolene Mausenbaum of Dezyna Interiors. ‘The increased light levels also benefit the growth of plants. Placing groups of plants of various sizes and textures in coordinated or complementary coloured pots in front of a large mirror will create a lush look, enhancing your bathroom interior.’
5. Add a plant shelf, or three
If you're already adding bathroom shelving, fitting a plant shelf should definitely go on your jobs list! A high-level plant shelf like this one will help draw attention upwards, giving the impression of a more space in a small bathroom. Stack two or three shelves to create a living wall. Trailing plants are perfect for shelves and will cascade over the edge to create a waterfall effect.
Fiona Jenkins, gardening expert at MyJobQuote recommends Cissus rhombifolia ‘Ellen Dancia’, a.k.a Grape Ivy (try Patch plants), as an easy-care trailing plant for bathrooms. ‘It will add a lovely botanical feel and loves humidity,’ she says. ‘For high shelves in warm and steamy bathrooms, try the trailing Hoya carnosa ‘Tricolor’ from Crocus. This pretty plant also thrives in high humidity and has colourful, glossy leaves on stems that can grow up to three metres.’
6. Plant up your corners
Corners are prime plant Real Estate in the bathroom – use this often-wasted space to live out your green ambitions, says Jo Lambell, founder of Beards & Daisies. ‘The corners may not be blessed with a lot of natural light, but you truly can’t go wrong the Devil’s Ivy plant. It’s a practically unkillable houseplant and truly hardy! It’ll love the humidity of your bathroom and will be happy even in little lighting.’
Floor-standing plants flanking a statement tub, like this one, are great for enjoying relaxing botanical vibes at bath-time. Look for plants that will grow taller than your tub to ensure they don’t get lost in the corners. ‘If you’ve got a bit more space and are looking for a real statement plant, then we’d recommend the Beards & Daisies ZZ Plant. This tall-growing plant is an excellent air purifier, adept at removing toxins from the air,’ says Jo.
7. Use plants to add privacy
‘If you’re trying to achieve a little more privacy in your bathroom, but don’t want to cover your window with a blind or curtain, then we recommend the Boston Fern,’ says Jo Lambell, from Beards & Daisies.
‘Most ferns tend to be really happy in a bathroom setting, due to the high humidity which mimics their native tropical environment, so not only will the Boston Fern absolutely thrive, but it’s thick, feathery fronds will grow tall and help you maintain a little more privacy!’
8. Aim big
For a truly immersive biophilic experience, pull out all the stops with ceiling-scraping statement plants. ‘To create an impressive jungle-style corner in your bathroom look for plants that boast vigorous vertical growth and will make a striking impact in floor planters,’ says Monique Kemperman of Thejoyofplants.co.uk.
‘Swiss Cheese Plants and Fiddle Leaf Figs are both known for their large, dramatic leaves and impressive growth.’ We love Crocus's Monstera Deliciosa, and the Ficus Lyrata is an Ideal Home team favourite.
As plants tend to grow towards the light, a bathroom with a skylight like this one is particularly suited to taller greenery. ‘The Bird of Paradise is another lofty option that thrives in bright light. Its large, banana-like leaves that will add a tropical touch to your décor,’ adds Monique.
9. Source stylish planters
Once you’ve found the perfect plant(s) for your bathroom, it’s time to flex your shopping skills and track down a gorgeous pot or planter. Try to source a vessel that complements the overall look of your bathroom – for example, this striking designer plant stand is just perfect for a modern bathroom (this modern flower pot stand from Amazon is similar).
You can also use interesting planters and pots to introduce an extra layer of texture, shape and colour, helping to soften the hard surfaces typically found in bathrooms. Pots and planters do tend to up the bottom line more than we'd like, so it's well worth looking second hand, sorting through seasonal sales and exploring current home decor discount codes.
‘If you have the space and you like the traditional look, a collection of small but shapely plants grouped in pots and showcased in an antique copper trough is a lovely way to go, while a multicoloured planter can conjure memories of your summer holiday,’ suggests interior designer Benji Lewis. ‘I also love to position a small uplighter behind plants to allow light to wash through the fronds and create a little extra drama.’
10. Keep it simple
Avoid the chaos and upkeep of a full-on jungle experience by focusing on one stylish injection of greenery. A single shapely plant artfully placed on a simple stool looks enviably cool in this low-key white bathroom.
‘Raising your plant off the ground and putting it on a stool is also a good way to provide extra height,’ adds Benji Lewis. ‘A vintage stool in a wood or distressed painted finish is a good way to add rustic charm, while a stool in a metal finish will lend a more modern, industrial touch.’
What plant to put in a bathroom?
‘For those in search of plants that can thrive in humid and steamy environments, ferns, clusia, tradescantia, palms, snake plants, devil's ivy, and bamboo are the ultimate choices. These plants can handle extreme temperatures and subpar air quality without any trouble,’ says Tom Cook, Houseplant Buyer for British Garden Centres.
Take into the consideration the heat and light levels in your bathroom. ‘Different plants have varying needs when it comes to sunlight, but generally, they require at least eight hours of sun exposure daily. Indoor plants like succulents, yuccas, aloe vera, and others, thrive best on a sunny windowsill.'
'On the other hand, tropical plants like palms, dracaena, peace lilies, and philodendrons can tolerate dappled shade,’ adds Tom. ‘As the days become shorter towards winter, it is recommended to move your plants closer to a window to ensure they get as much sunlight as possible. Most houseplants need a temperature of 12-18°C to survive, so it is best to avoid placing them near heated towel rails or underfloor heating.’
What is the best trailing plant for a bathroom?
Hanging or trailing houseplants are a great way to inject a touch of greenery to your bathroom while maximising vertical space. Here are some of the best houseplants for trailing, perfect for hanging from shelves, hooks, or in hanging baskets, as recommended by Monique Kemperman of The Joy of Plants:
- String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus): This succulent has trailing stems covered in spherical, bead-like leaves, resembling a string of pearls. It's a unique and eye-catching plant.
- Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum): Spider plants produce long, arching stems with baby plantlets at the ends, creating a cascading effect. They're easy to care for and adapt well to indoor conditions.
- Devil's Ivy (Epipremnum aureum, Pothos): Pothos is a versatile and popular choice for trailing. It comes in various variegated varieties and is low-maintenance.
- Heartleaf Philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum): This philodendron has heart-shaped leaves that drape elegantly from a hanging basket or shelf. It's an excellent choice for low to moderate light conditions.
- Tradescantia (Tradescantia zebrina, Tradescantia pallida): Tradescantia plants, also known as wandering jew or spiderwort, feature colourful, striped leaves and create a lovely trailing effect.
Which plant is best for bathrooms with no windows?
As we touched on earlier ferns a fabulous plant variety for dark, light deprived bathrooms. 'Ferns are an excellent choice for lowlight level rooms, so a bathroom without a window is ideal' says Michael from The Joy of Plants.
Which plants should I avoid putting in my bathroom?
Avoid Southern Africa plants such as Cacti and succulents. 'They stand out in the dry scrublands, basking in the blazing sun,' Megan from Patch points out. 'When caring for them, think desert! Lots and lots of light, not a lot of water. They are very susceptible to root rot if overwatered, and there’s usually very little you can do to save them.'
Save the succulents and move them out of your bathroom plant ideas inspo list ASAP. Instead, let your bathroom become a jungle – it's never been so fashionable.
Whatever side you fall on the fresh vs faux houseplant debate, adding some greenery to your bathroom is a great design choice that's guaranteed to elevate your space.
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Linda Clayton is a professionally trained journalist, and has specialised in product design, interiors and fitness for more than two decades. Linda has written for a wide range of publications, from the Daily Telegraph and Guardian to Homes & Gardens and Livingetc. She has been freelancing for Ideal Home Magazine since 2008, covering design trends, home makeovers, product reviews and much more.
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