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For a Cleaner, Less Smelly Bathroom, Add Plants

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When we think of houseplants, we generally think bedroom, living room, or kitchen. But there are some plants that crave—and even thrive in—bathrooms.

The right bathroom plants will reduce smells (a major plus), as well as absorb some of the excess moisture and dust. Plus, they create the impression of showering in a forest waterfall or bathing in a hidden pool.

To make a plant happy, you have to recreate its natural environment. Since bathrooms are frequently moist and wet, the best plants for the space are generally mist-lovers like ferns, mosses, air plants, bromeliads, and orchids.

But the kind of plants that you can have in your bathroom will also depend on what kind of light your bathroom gets.

  • Full sun or north-facing windows:

If your bathroom gets full sun, or lots of indirect sunlight (north-facing), then we recommend hanging air plants and staghorn ferns. These guys love moisture and high light. If there are more than three people taking a shower per day in that bathroom (for example, roommates or a family of four), you may never even have to spritz your air plants (which is typically recommended for care). Staghorn ferns should be soaked once a week in warm filtered water.

Air plants don't need to be misted if they live in the bathroom. Photos by James Ransom, The Sill

Bromeliads and orchids will thrive in this situation as well, although most orchids must have direct sun for a good portion of the day. Soak orchids once a week in deionized, distilled, or filtered water and water bromeliads once a week.

  • Indirect light:

If your bathroom is like many city bathrooms and gets indirect light through a window facing another building, then a Boston fern will be a better pick, as will many other types of ferns. Mosses will also thrive in these high humidity conditions (and moss terrariums are an especially popular choice).


  • Boston fern
  • Bird's nest fern
  • Plumosa fern
  • Reindeer moss
  • Many other mosses
Aloe and a Boston fern (left) and a bird's nest fern (right).
  • No windows:

If your bathroom has no windows, sadly, you can't have a plant in there. You could try taking a fern into your bathroom while you shower so that it can absorb the mist, then placing it back by a window.

  • And for all tight-spaced bathrooms...

Hanging options are optimal. Bird's nest and staghorn ferns can be make into hanging plants wrapped in moss known as Kokedamas, and other types of ferns will be happy potted in a hanging planter or chilling out on a shelf.

Bird's Nest Fern Kokedama (left) and Staghorn Fern Kokedama (right).

Airplants can be hung up with string or placed in hanging terrariums, wall-mounted holder, or on shelves.

Got your plants picked out? Now give them a happy home!

Textured Ceramic and Brass Hanging Planters

Textured Ceramic and Brass Hanging Planters

3-Tier Ceramic Hanging Planter

3-Tier Ceramic Hanging Planter

Airplant Vase Set

Airplant Vase Set

Hand-thrown Ceramic Planter & Dish

Hand-thrown Ceramic Planter & Dish


What plants do you keep in your bathroom? Share with us in the comments below!

Tags: Home Decor, Tips & Techniques, Bathrooms