Healthy Home Upgrade
If replacing your tile or installing a new vanity is a bathroom renovation that’s beyond your budget, you can afford one truly luxurious upgrade: transforming your bathroom into a tropical paradise. Low-light bathrooms with small or frosted windows pose no problems for many of these houseplants. What’s more, the high humidity in an average bathroom makes it the perfect environment for many tropical varieties. House plants are also nature's air purifiers—who knew that improving your decorating scheme also had health benefits?
Hardworking spider plants prefer medium light to work their magic—that is, removing impurities like formaldehyde and carbon monoxide from the air. Water a spider plant once or twice a week, and you'll be rewarded with new buds that you can repot or gift to friends.
This most Zen-like plant can grow in almost any light—even without any soil! Just place your bamboo to root in a container filled with a few inches of pebbles, then fill halfway with water, watering occasionally. If you're feeling fancy, spend a few more bucks for the variety with twisted stalks.
Cast Iron Plant
Popularized in the Victorian era, there's still a lot to love about the so-called cast-iron plant, or aspidistra elatior. For one, it's super hardy and can tolerate neglect, overwatering, and extreme temperatures. For best results, let the soil of this shade-loving plant dry between waterings.
Dracaena, or dragon plants, come in a few varieties, but all of them are at risk of brown and dry leaf tips in low-humidity households. That's just one reason to consider this tropical plant for your bath. The natural humidity of the bathroom will keep it—and your space—looking fresh and flawless.
Some gardeners find orchids a bit finicky, but in the right environment, they can flourish. Set yours on a bathroom windowsill. The indirect sunlight will nourish the plant while the high humidity mirrors the environment where orchids naturally bloom.
Ferns naturally grow in the filtered light and high humidity conditions of tropical forests. Luckily, the average bathroom can simulate this environment perfectly (if a fern starts yellowing, misting it will help). The Boston fern is a bushier, wild-looking variety with feathery fronds that removes toxins, including formaldehyde, from the air. Keep its soil moist and the bathroom humidity up, and your fern should flourish.
Related: 6 Common Houseplant Pests—and How to Get Rid of Them
If given the opportunity, ivy can climb and scale walls, trellises, or, in this case, the metal pipes framing a tub. Hang it high by the window to save space and let sunlight filter through the leaves. One type of ivy, English ivy, may actually remove mold spores from its environment.
Related: 10 Great Ways to Grow Your Walls Green
This succulent is a perfect choice for a sunny bathroom window sill. Not only does it bring life to the room, but it also doubles as a medicine cabinet unto itself. After washing a cut or burn at the sink, split open an aloe leaf and apply the gel to your skin; it helps heal abrasions naturally.
Sansevieria, also known as "mother-in-law’s tongue," is one of the most low-maintenance plants you can grow, which makes it the perfect choice for a bathroom. Low-light snake plants filter out formaldehyde, which is common in cleaning products, toilet paper, tissues—and even some cosmetics.
Bird’s Nest Fern
Easily identified by its fronds that radiate from a central knot or rosette, bird’s nest fern is a perfect bathroom plant because it grows well in areas with more than average humidity. Since it can tolerate varying levels of light, it’s appropriate for bathrooms in which the amount of light changes—if, say, you keep the shades drawn for part of the day. The less light the bird’s nest fern gets, the slower it grows. It will remain countertop (or bathroom shelf) size if your bathroom isn’t too bright, but could grow up to 2 feet tall if it gets bright to medium-bright indirect light.
You don't have to have a green thumb to grow these indoor plants: As their name suggests, it doesn’t take much to keep air plants alive, just air and water. These bathroom plants prefer bright light, as long as it’s indirect light, and they like humid environments. Since air plants don’t need soil, you can get creative about the type of vessel to keep them in: Try a glass vase, seashell, or wall-mounted baskets.
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