Are you dreaming of turning your shower into a plant-filled oasis? Shower plants may seem like a no-brainer, but there are a few things to take into consideration before you add greenery to your bathroom. Plants that do well in bathrooms need to be able to handle high humidity. Houseplants do best at a relative humidity of 70 to 80 percent, a level often tricky to maintain in most parts of your home, which is why your bathroom is the perfect spot for shower plants. To make it simple, Alfred Palomares, vice president of merchandising at 1-800-Flowers.com and resident plant Dad, helped compile the best moisture-loving shower plants that can help transform your bathroom into a rainforest.
Not all plants can handle a ton of humidity. Palomares says plants that will do the best in showers or bathrooms are native to tropical climates. "They have broader, thinner leaves that allow them to adapt to this type of climate over time," explains Palomares. "Humidity aids photosynthesis and growth by providing moisture to plants, particularly those with these types of leaves, where evaporation can happen quickly."
Plants with thicker leaves can hold water for longer, and the larger the leaf, the more light they can absorb and become more energy-efficient. However, all plants need light to thrive. "Remember, though, low-light does not mean no light," warns Palomares. "So indirect light is still necessary—and should still be enough to visibly see the plant." And note, although these plants can handle a humid environment, they should always be placed away from the water spray of the shower head.
Typical of its species, the Boston Fern is a humidity-loving plant that is perfect for providing dimension to any space. Featuring cascading leaves that can grow up to three feet tall, Boston ferns handle light better than most ferns and grows best in bright, indirect light. “It also prefers to be kept damp at all times,” says Palomares. “Hanging it in a shower will help its soil remain moist.” You may have to lightly mist the plant two to three times per week in between showers.
“Gardenias are known for their beautiful fragrance and bright, waxy white petals,” says Palomares. They are a favorite in Southern gardens due to their love of humidity. Although it can handle the humid environment in most bathrooms, it does need about six to eight hours of indirect sunlight. If your shower has plenty of natural light, then go for it!
Like most ferns, the Maidenhair Fern is susceptible to brown tips if it doesn’t get enough moisture. It has delicate, feather-like foliage and naturally thrives in a shaded, humid environment. “Plant parents will need to provide daily misting, along with regularly scheduled drinks of water,” explains Palomares, “So the bathroom is a great location, as it will retain moisture from a steamy shower.”
The Red Maranta Prayer Plant is a symbolism of gratitude. For this plant to thrive, its soil must never dry out completely. “They thrive best in spaces with bright, indirect light, so it is best to avoid full sun exposure,” says Palomares. “Otherwise, the coloring of its leaves can fade and potentially burn.” So, if your shower has adequate light, consider one of these beauties.
Phalaenopsis Orchids are popular flowering houseplants that reward you with large, long-lasting blooms. “While this plant thrives best in humid conditions, be sure the bathroom it resides in has proper airflow to ensure it doesn’t remain damp. Otherwise, it can cause rot or fungus,” says Palomares.
Phalaenopsis can also survive in low-light conditions, but will thrive when given bright, indirect light. One easy way to tell if your Phalaenopsis needs more light is by the color of the leaves. “If they start to darken, it means the plant needs some more light,” says Palomares.
The easy-to-care-for Braided Bamboo is a symbol of prosperity and luck. This plant thrives in low-light or artificial light. Although it can handle average humidity, it’s not happy near drafty windows or heating vents. “Its size makes it perfect for any countertop or shelf, and according to feng shui principles, will bring positive energy to the space it lives in,” says Palomares.
Known for its lush, cream, yellow and green leaves, the Dieffenbachia Plant is a tropical, easy-to-care-for shrub that will brighten up any dim corner. The dumb cane plant can grow in bright, indirect light or low light—it’s an all-around easy-going plant! “It always prefers to be kept moist and does not tolerate its soil being dried out,” says Palomares. “So a bathroom is a great place for it to thrive and maintain its moisture in between weekly watering.”