There's a trick to keeping houseplants thriving in dryer climates: It's the bathroom. The typical low light, high humidity, and warmth of the bathroom is exactly what most tropical plants are missing in their lives. So if your houseplants are struggling, gather them up and put them in the tub.
Orchids, while a tad bit on the temperamental side, pack so much tropical punch—after all, they keep their gorgeous flowers for months on end. The damp, warm conditions in most bathrooms are a perfect environment for these pretty plants, which grow in bark instead of soil and prefer for that material to be damp but not wet. Some easier-care varieties of orchids include Dendrobium, Phalaenopsis, and Paphiopedilums, which will all do well with bright, filtered bathroom window light.
One of the most popular indoor vining plants is pothos, or Epipremnum aureum. It comes in a variety of leaf sizes, colors, and variegations. As long as it stays out of direct sunlight and its soil doesn't dry out (it doesn't care for overwatering, either), pothos a low-maintenance beauty that is exceptionally pretty in a hanging basket or on a high shelf where it can trail to its heart's content.
Editor's Tip: All types of pothos can be toxic if ingested, to both children and pets.
This variety of Epipremnum aureum is such a bright burst of color that it almost hurts the eyes to look directly at it. Bonus: All varieties of pothos are known for their air-purifying abilities. They are excellent at filtering out formaldehyde and carbon monoxide.
Houseplants don't get easier than the no-fuss spider plant (Chlorophytumcomosum). They tolerate low light like champs, enjoy a little humidity, and their baby shoots (which can be detached and propagated) are just so darn cute. Here a repurposed old ladder serves as an ingenious hanging plant rack suspended over a soaking tub, with a lush spider plant specimen highlighted in front (did we mention they are fantastic in hanging baskets?). Tucked behind is a dark green China doll plant (Radermachera sinica). China doll plants need bright, indirect sunlight and moist, well-drained soil, and must be protected from drafts. Both plants will thrive in the warmth and humidity of a bathroom.
Sometimes referred to as oakleaf ivy, Cissus rhombifolia is a low-maintenance beauty that delivers a lot of plant for very little effort. It prefers a bright window and evenly moist soil and is a vigorous climber. Let that baby trail along a windowsill or off the top of a cabinet for some bathroom drama.
These bright tropicals are in a family of plants that consists of thousands of different species. Though they vary in care depending on the specific species, most bromeliads grown as houseplants will have similar needs: filtered light, plenty of moisture in the air, and a temperate indoor climate. Most are prized for their incredibly colorful, variegated foliage and long-lasting color. Some common, easy-to-care-for varieties include Scarlet Star (Guzmania lingulata), Blushing Bromeliad (Neoregelia carolinae, shown), and the incredibly prehistoric-looking Urn Plant (Aechmea fasciata).
Also part of the bromeliad family, these beauties are commonly referred to as air plants. The specimens that fall into the Tillandsia genus (we're talking hundreds and hundreds of species) are beloved for their ability to grow without soil, or without necessarily being planted at all. In the right environment, they hardly require any care whatsoever. What's the right environment beyond the jungles of South America? You guessed it, the bathroom. If you have a shower with a bright window, even better. They'll love to have occasional shower overspray, and they'll soak up all that trapped humidity. If your air plant doesn't quite get enough moisture from the air, you can mist it, or give it a good soak every few weeks (depending on how dry your climate is). Some common varieties include Tillandsia xerographica (shown), Tillandsia bergeri, and Tillandsia ionantha.
Editor's Tip: The more silvery the foliage, the more drought-tolerant it is.
This small-growing, low-light-loving plant comes in a variety of colors and adorable leaf shapes. Its compact size makes it perfect for tight quarters, such as narrow windowsills (but it doesn't like direct sun). This particular striped variety is watermelon peperomia, or Peperomia argyreia.
Also sometimes adorably referred to as monkey cups, Nepenthes (shown here, Nepenthes alata), are a widely diverse genus of tropical plants that all display some variation of the distinctive pitcher apparatus (filled with a liquid that attracts and helps digest insects as food). Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to "feed'" insects to these plants—the average household has enough to tide one specimen over. Pitcher plants like their soil to be kept moist, and they love humidity—so they will be quite at home in the bathroom. They will also tolerate low humidity but will produce fewer pitchers under those circumstances. Their vining habit makes them a captivating windowsill addition.
This plant, also known as mother-in-law's tongue, viper's bowstring hemp, or St. George's sword, is nearly impossible to kill. Sansevieria varieties tolerate almost any growing condition, from nearly no light to bright light to direct light. They require little to no water, and if you keep them in a humid bathroom, you might never have to water these hardy West African natives at all. And we just love the modern lines of those gorgeous variegated leaves.
Editor's Tip: This plant is considered mildly toxic to people and animals when ingested.
Philodendron scandens is a South American native that doesn't require much light to thrive. It likes its soil to be kept damp, and while it will tolerate dry conditions, it loves humidity, making it the perfect plant to keep in a low-light bathroom. Best of all, you can train it to happily vine along a windowsill or shelf.
Editor's Tip: Philodendrons are toxic to pets and children if ingested.