Avoid these houseplants in the bathroom, say the experts

Experts say there are some varieties of indoor plants that you should put anywhere but a steamy bathroom

row of cactus and succulent plants in pots
(Image credit: Andrea Obzerova/EyeEm/Getty Images)

All houseplants love humidity, right? Wrong, say these experts, who warn that there are some varieties of plants that can't cope with a steamy environment. 

So if you’re bringing houseplants indoors for the winter, don’t assume they will all be happy spending the colder months as bathroom plants, warns Kiera Kay, plant expert at plant and flower delivery company, Bloom and Wild

'When choosing the plants to go in your bathroom, look for the type that like to tolerate shade or low to medium light, higher humidity and warm temperatures,' she explains. 

Keep cacti out

Definitely don’t allow cacti and other indoor succulents into the steamy rainforest-like atmosphere, says Jo Lambell, founder of plant company Beards & Daisies, and author of The Unkillables: 40 Resilient House Plants for New Plant Parents (available on Amazon)

'Whilst bathrooms can often make an ideal home for your more tropical leafy plants, cacti aren’t always best suited to the humid conditions of a bath or shower room,' she says. 

'When looking for the perfect spot for your new indoor plant, consider your plant's origins – with most cacti growing in dry, hot desert conditions, you’ll want to recreate that as best possible to keep a happy plant. Cacti enjoy plenty of natural indirect sunlight - which a lot of bathrooms don’t offer.'

euphorbia trigona cactus plant in a pot on a table

(Image credit: Beards & Daisies)

Get in the zone

All houseplants originally came from quite specific global locations, so look up their origins before making the move indoors, say the experts at online plant marketplace, HeyPlants: 'The question to ask yourself is, ‘what region is this plant originally from?’ If it's not native to a tropical region it may not survive well in humid conditions.'

Kiera advises resisting the temptation to re-locate fruiting plants (which need lots of sunshine), plus the Jade plant, gardenia and the exotic Hibiscus, both sharing some origins in mountainous China and Tibet, in bathrooms: 'Plants like these don’t thrive in the typically warmer and less sunlit bathroom environment.'

monkey face monstera plant on a table

Monkey Face monstera from Crocus

(Image credit: Crocus)

Plant practicalities

Some plants, such as the Monkey Face Monstera, Ponytail Palm and Euphorbia candelabrum, don’t need a lot of water, especially over the more dormant winter period. Exposing these varieties to too much moisture can lead to their roots rotting and eventual plant collapse.

Other outdoor/indoor plants, for example, the Strelitzia nicolai, also known as the white bird of paradise plant, are simply likely to grow too large to lead a healthy life in a confined indoor garden in bathroom space, experts agree. They would do better overwintering in a living room or spacious hallway.

white gardenia houseplant in bloom

(Image credit: Crocus)
Jayne Dowle
Freelance writer

Jayne Dowle is an award-winning gardening, homes and property writer who writes for publications including Sunday Times Home, Times Bricks & Mortar, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and The Spectator. She was awarded the Garden Journalist of the Year accolade at the Property Press Awards in 2021.