If you live in an urban area more often than not you'll end up with a bathroom without any windows. Most of the apartment bathrooms are built that way due to the practical use of space. Which allows rooms we use more on daily bases to get all the natural light needed. Normally a bathroom window is placed in the shower or above the toilet, and most of the time in small bathrooms that just doesn’t make any sense. Even so, the bathroom should be well ventilated.
You might feel frustrated if you are dreaming of junglelicious bathroom. I hear you... But as they say - when there's a will, there's a way. There is absolutely no reason why shouldn’t be able to create a jungle in your bathroom even without any windows. All you need to do is select the right plants and do a few tweaks to the light. So let's get down to business!
The best plants for windowless bathroom
Every plant needs some sort of light, however, some plants are more tolerant than others when it comes to the low light challenge. We are going to focus on those green heroes. You want to pick the plants that will thrive in humidity whilst tolerating low light conditions.
Firstly, let's see what plants are tough survivors and after we will talk about the ways you can deal with the no light/window situation. Generally speaking, plants with lighter colour leaves require more light versus darker colour ones. Of course, there are always exceptions.
Choose the plants like:
Ferns - whilst living nature they do well in shade, which makes this low light indoor transition easier. That doesn’t mean they do not need light at all, they just need more humidity than light. Even so, not all the ferns are the same and survive in very low light conditions particularly the ones that have a lot of white on the leaf. However, the ones that do well are Phlebodium aureum - Blue star, Asplenium nidus - Bird's nest, Dryopteris erythrosora - Autumn fern or Pellaea falcata fern (images same order as listed).
Philodendron - this is the kind that normally needs medium to the low-light environment. Like ferns, not all types of Philodendron like the same environment— some more than others are resilient to lower light. Philodendron that grows slower but still can live in your bathroom: Philodendron ‘Xanadu’ - Winterbourn (make sure you place it closer to the doors where it can receive medium-lower light), Pink princess philodendron, Rojo congo.
Calatheas - Leafy friends with a super lush look, belong to the family Marantaceae, from tropical part of the world. The ones you could nurture in your bathroom are Calathea ornata, Orbifolia or Warscewiczii.
Sansevieria masoniana - perfect for tiny bathrooms thanks to its tall long growth. Looks very similar to snake plant. It can live in darker areas, but if you would like to grow faster move it in a brighter corner from time to time. Let's not forget to mention the Snake plant and The Stem (cylindrical snake plant) - some of the most popular plants for a reason, as they tolerate any type of conditions.
Peace Lily - this wonderful creature with glossy dark leaves can live anywhere. So versatile and easy to care, as long as you water it regularly.
Homalomena - stunning green friends with rich looking leaves. Loves lower light and regular watering. The two types I must mention in particular - Homalomena Truncata and Selby. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely looove those lush-looking plants that either grows out to be a beautiful large bushy wonder or hang gracefully in all the colours of the green rainbow (if that’s even a thing).
Air plants - so easy to take care, probably too easy. These low light green friends don’t need soil to grow. They can flourish in many different environments as they are native to the forests, mountains and deserts.
Pothos - I have to say this is my absolute favourite. I know I said it many times, but come on, who doesn't like pothos? Super easy to care and doesn't require a lot of water. I would hang it away from the shower and closer to the doors, but it's totally up to you as this beauty can take on any challenge.
Lucky Bamboo - is really lucky, since you can find in almost any type of shop. Doesn't require soil to grow and it grows fast and tall. Another great pick for extremely tiny bathrooms.
Aspidistra elatior, The Cast iron plant - a fantastic choice for a beginner plant parent. This plant can survive if you forget to water it and can be in extremes of temperatures.
Aglaonema, Chinese evergreen - a tropical plant which makes it perfect for your bathroom. It has absolutely gorgeous leaves with pink and white markings.
Moss - for some it might be an odd choice, but I think it can be really beautiful especially as a framed piece of art or a green wall. Also, keeping it alive is super easy - mist the surface a couple of times a week to keep it moist, or leave it to take in humidity on its own just by placing it near the shower. Check out his beautiful piece from Rush Studio, Etsy:
Even though all the above plants tolerate low light, you should still try to move your plants around from time to time and see what corner works best. There is no better way to learn than to try things on your own and see what sticks.
Just remember, when watering the plants that live in low light areas, not to over-water them, as the soil takes longer to dry. One thing is for sure - if your plant is unhappy, you'll know.
If you would like to read more about indoor plants and how to choose the best ones for the rest of your home - check out this article.
How to get natural light without a window
Just because you don’t have a massive window in your bathroom it doesn’t mean you can’t have some natural light coming through. Here are a few things you could do:
Keep the doors open - whenever you are not using your bathroom, remember to leave the doors open. It will allow natural light to sneak in from other rooms and plants to be fed. You will also get rid of extra shower steam quicker and reduce potential mould situation.
A mirror is your friend if you use it right - depending on what layout you are working with and where most of the light is coming from, you should place the mirror in the way that reflects natural light coming from the other rooms. You could hang the mirror on the wall closest to the bathroom doors, or maybe install a full-length mirrored doors.
But what if you have a large mirror above the sink and you add another one on the opposite wall? The light will have no choice but to shine through big time. Before doing any of it, make sure you test it out and see what’s the best position for your bathroom.
Paint choice makes a difference - if you wish your bathroom to feel fresh, spacious and bright, regardless of no window situation, you need to choose your colours carefully. Warm colours, in general, are magical when it comes to reflecting natural light. My personal favourite, evergreen colour, is white. To maximise the light reflection choose the paint with a silk finish. You can also wipe the silk wall easily which makes them very practical. Learn more about how colour of the wall affects your mood in the previous article.
Which plants will you choose for your bathroom jungle?
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