Which Plants for the Bathroom?

Contemporary design has long since shunned indoor plants. They break up those neat, clean lines apparently. But one or two statement plants can work aesthetically even in contemporary spaces.


Exotic orchids

Orchids for instance have a stately yet contemporary, luxurious appearance so work well. They also love the typically tropical conditions, i.e. low light, warmth and humidity, that exist in the bathroom.


The moth orchid (Phalaenopsis) is the upright orchid that has really gained in popularity over the last few years. They’ve also helped to blow the myth that orchids are difficult to look after. Their flowers last for months and when they do eventually die, if you cut them back just below the last flower, they should flower again on side shoots.


Another exotic orchid player that works well in the bathroom is the Vanda orchid. Its beautiful purple spotted flowers last for months. Naturally it grows high on jungle trees with its aerial roots gathering moisture from morning dew and rain. You can hang this beauty over your bathtub, where its roots will be almost as fascinating as its flowers. Spray just the roots with water to keep the plant thriving.


If you prefer you can stand it in a large vase (glass) so that the roots aren’t compromised.

vanda orchid

Vanda Orchid (Source)

Less showy

Air plants don’t need soil either but gather the nutrients they require from the air. They can make quite a statement en masse.


If you want something less showy opt for a fern of some kind as they adore the conditions of the bathroom. Most ferns are light and airy and their fronds almost sway in the breeze but there is one fern, the Stag’s Horn fern that looks almost prehistoric and deserves the name ‘statement plant’ too.


Spider plants are really easy to grow and give your bathroom a retro feel; heart-shaped leaf Scindapsus will trail over a windowsill; the ever popular peace lily also thrives in the bathroom and has stately white flowers (actually spathes) as well.


Caring for your bathroom plants

Nearly all of your plants will want reasonable light but few will enjoy sitting on a sunny windowsill. They learnt years before us that keeping out of direct sun was best!


Watering is probably the place where most of us go wrong but here’s a brief guide:


  • Ferns love water and humidity. So keep them well watered i.e. never let the compost dry out, stand plant pot on a saucer of pebbles in water as this will increase the humidity. Spray them regularly.


  • You should let the soil of orchids begin to dry out before watering them. Usually one good soak every week is enough. Drain thoroughly so that they don’t stand in water too.


  • The other mentioned plants should be water sparingly – just enough to stop them drying out. And as with orchids make sure you drain them well before putting them back in situ.


In winter

During the coldest months of the year or between flowering with orchids, give your plants a bit of a rest. The plants become generally less active during this period so they won’t drink quite as much and they won’t need feeding which through their active period would be welcome once every two weeks.


Happy bathroom gardening!

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