Written by Gary, from PlantCareToday.com
There are lots of good reasons to have indoor plants, even plants in the bathroom. They are beautiful, uplifting to look at and be around and they serve a practical purpose in keeping your home environment clean and healthy.
Houseplants improve the air quality in your home by cleaning the toxins from the air. While it’s advisable to have houseplants in every room, it is especially good to have them in the bathroom.
Even if your bathroom is dark and windowless, and even if you are a terrible plant keeper, you can have success by keeping the right plants in your bathroom.
In this article, we will present several types of plants that do well in a low-light bathroom setting. We will also provide advice on caring for and displaying your bathroom plants perfectly. Read on to learn how!
Can Plants Live Without Light In The Bathroom?
The short answer to this question is “No!” All plants must conduct photosynthesis (the transformation of light to energy) to survive and thrive; however, some plants need less light than others to do this. Therefore, success with any bathroom plant begins with choosing the right plants. You can approach this process from several different perspectives.
- Choose plants that naturally grow in low light. Understory plants hailing from rain forest settings do quite well in the high humidity, lowly lit environment common to many bathrooms. Air plants (bromeliads) and some succulents can also do well in these circumstances.
- Use a grow-light and/or overhead fluorescent lighting to add needed light to your bathroom and expand your choices.
- Rotate plants in and out of your bathroom to give them turns at a sunny window elsewhere.
- Buy cheap plants and simply toss them and replace them when they die from lack of light (this is especially cruel, and shame on you if you do this!)
- Throw your hands in the air and purchase silk or plastic plants. This is also a dreadful option as you will reap no air purifier benefits from having artificial plants in your home and the manufacture of these impostors is very bad for the environment in general.
Carefully choosing live plants and providing them with proper lighting as needed is the best way to go. Luckily, there are lots of suitable plants to choose from. Under-story rainforest plants, bromeliads, epiphytes and even some succulents do very well in low light and humid environment.
Is It Expensive To Use Artificial Light?
Providing your bathroom plants with artificial lighting will expand your bathroom plant options. The lighting is affordable and can benefit you, as well as your plants. You can replace the bulbs in your bathroom with full-spectrum bulbs for just a little more than you would pay for regular light bulbs.
Full spectrum bulbs allow you to enjoy a better quality of natural light in your bathroom. Exposure to full-spectrum lighting is a proven mood elevator and is prescribed as a treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which causes wintertime depression.
Use these bulbs in your overhead light fixture.
You can also get full-spectrum CFL grow light bulbs at a quite affordable cost. It’s not a good idea to put these bulbs in your overhead socket for a couple of reasons. First, flipping them on and off causes them to wear out quickly.
Second, it‘s best to have these bulbs close to your plants for superior results. You can use these convenient bulbs in any lamp to place them close to your plants to provide bright light directly to the plant and create an attractive grow space for your bathroom plants.
Use these bulbs to provide natural, bright light to your plants.
Keeping a grow light bulb or two burning continuously is quite inexpensive (pennies a day) and the benefits you reap from having healthy plants thriving in your bathroom more than justifies the expense.
If your bathroom is truly windowless or very dark, keeping a source of full spectrum light burning will also make the room more comfortable and inviting for you and your guests.
You may also be happy to know that almost all the plants that do well in a bathroom setting reproduce with rather wild abandon when well-kept. If you take good care of your bathroom garden by giving it ample artificial light and the recommended occasional watering, you will be able to give your friends living plants on almost every gift-giving occasion! Think of the money you’ll save!
Managing Your Grow-Light
For bromeliads and epiphytes, overhead full-spectrum lighting left on for about 12 hours a day may be enough. For plants with a greater need for light, place a grow light bulb in an attractive lamp or light fixture placed close to the plant and make your lighting part of the décor.
You can leave your grow-light burning continuously or set a timer like this Fitnate to limit it to 12 hours daily. Use of a time will make management of your light automatic so you won’t have to be bothered with it.
Temperature and Humidity Levels
For your comfort, you probably keep the temperature in your bathroom fairly consistent. The general rule of thumb for most house plants is if you are comfortable your plant probably is too.
If your current habit is to keep your bathroom cold except when you plan to take a bath or shower, you’ll need to alter that if you want to keep plants happy. Keeping a small heater running on a low temperature setting (or programming your smart thermostat to keep your bathroom at a comfortable temperature) is beneficial to you and your plants.
Humidity levels in the bathroom naturally vary quite a bit. The humidity will rise quickly and briefly whenever you take a shower. Luckily, this is very good for many tropical plants, bromeliads and some succulents in terrariums. In some instances, you may need to provide a little more humidity by misting your plants.
What Are The Best Bathroom Plants To Choose?
Choices in plants that will do well with low lighting, consistently comfortable temperature and reliable levels of humidity abound. Here are some of the best choices in succulents, bromeliads, epiphytes and tropical plants to brighten your bathroom décor.
9 Upright Houseplants For Windowless Bathroom
#1 – Lucky Bamboo
An inexpensive and easy to find at garden centers, grocery stores, dollar stores, convenience stores, car washes and gas stations and many other venues. It is easy to grow and enjoys a low-light setting.
You don’t even need soil to grow the lucky bamboo plant – Dracaena sanderiana. Just purchase a few shoots, take it home and pop it into a container of pebbles or marbles and filtered water (or water that has been allowed to sit out overnight to allow chemicals to dissipate). Change the water weekly to prevent mold growth.
This type of plant grows very quickly, but you can keep it the size you want by trimming it regularly or by placing it in an area that hampers its growth. For example, you might put a shelf above it.
#2 – Ferns
True ferns such as Bird Nest, Boston fern and Staghorn ferns do very well in low-light bathroom settings. Another is the “asparagus fern” not a true fern but its look has earned it the name. They like indirect, natural light so a window is desirable but a full spectrum grow light will also work.
Ferns will enjoy the humidity from your showers, but they also need regular watering and misting. Remember to check the soil and keep it lightly moist (not soggy) at all times.
#3 Cast Iron Plant
Aspidistra – the cast iron plant is an excellent choice if you are a notorious plant killer. This plant likes a low light setting and can tolerate a neglected watering schedule. It can tolerate extremes of temperature (50-85 degrees Fahrenheit). Naturally, as with all living things, a consistent temperature is appreciated.
To take good care of aspidistra, place it in an area with indirect sunlight and water it thoroughly when the soil becomes bone dry. Wipe the long, spear-like leaves with a damp cloth from time-to-time to keep them dust-free. If your bathroom is windowless, provide artificial light.
This attractive plant comes in both dwarf (18 inches) and full-size (2-3 feet high) varieties. Leaves may be dark green, yellow striped or dotted with yellow.
#4 – Chinese Evergreen
The Aglaonema is a lush, leafy plant with large leaves variegated with white or pink markings. You will often see this plant in a mall or office settings because it is tough and beautiful and it loves a controlled indoor environment. It is a tropical plant, and your bathroom is the perfect place for it!
#5 – Dieffenbachia
The “Dumb Cane” is similar in appearance to Chinese Evergreen and Cast Iron plant, but it much bigger. Its leaves can grow to be a foot long or more. Dieffenbachia prefers artificial light and needs bright artificial lighting to thrive. It needs protection from direct sunlight. It also likes high humidity and consistently moist well-drained soil.
If you have the unusual circumstance of having a large, windowless bathroom and you want to create the illusion of a well-lit, tropical setting, this plant will do well for you.
#6 – Dracaena
The “Dragon Plant” comes in more than forty varieties. It’s long, spear-like leaves range in width from very fine and thin to a couple of inches wide. Available in solid green, greenish-maroon, and variegated colorations. The leaves emerge from relatively thick, trunk-like stems.
This plant is a real workhorse when it comes to air purifying. It prefers artificial light to natural light and will scorch in bright sunlight. This low-care plant does very well with just the high humidity levels you would expect to find in a bathroom.
#7 – Philodendron
The “philo” comes in many shapes and size. Large and small, medium-light, low care tropical plants with glossy green, variegated and even maroon colored leaves. The split-leaf variety sometimes known as Monstera. Heartleaf philodendron with its heart-shaped leaf is a long-time, popular favorite.
All types of philodendron prefer consistent, moderate lighting, so artificial lighting is the best choice. They also need a consistently warm temperature, so plan to keep your bathroom between 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
#8 – Mother-In-Law Tongue
Sansevieria (aka: Snake Plant or Good Luck Plant) is a very familiar standby. This tough customer grows in tall, upright, rigid spears of dark green with darker green striping and white or yellow edges. It is a NASA star in terms of an air purifier, and it tolerates all manner of abuse.
This plant will do well in light levels ranging from low to bright indirect lighting. It will also do very well with fluorescent or grow lights. It is fine in most humidity levels and needs infrequent watering. A favorite plant for bathroom settings.
#9 – ZZ Plant
Zamioculcas zamiifolia – Knows also as the Eternity Plant or ZEE ZEE Plant – is a sturdy South African plant that can tolerate a wide variety of conditions. It does not like direct sunlight or very deep shade, but if you can provide any level of indirect light or artificial light, it will be happy.
ZZ is a drought tolerant plant, but it will do best if you water it thoroughly when the top inch of the soil becomes dry. If you do forget and it begins to drop leaves, give it a good watering, and it is sure to bounce back.
ZZ has thick, glossy, dark green leaves that grow on long fronds. It is a very attractive plant that attains a maximum height of two feet.
All but one of these choices in upright, low-light plants are practically indestructible. Ferns can be a bit delicate, so if you want a truly carefree plant, you may wish to avoid them.
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