Plants in the bathroom? Mold is not a plant.
February 7, 2012 11:25 PM   Subscribe

What kind of plants will grow well in a bathroom with no windows?
posted by jyorraku to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I am like Jack the Ripper to houseplants but I cannot kill a pothos or a daylily.
posted by ian1977 at 11:26 PM on February 7, 2012

Possibly a "lucky bamboo" aka Dracaena sanderiana, Pothos, "peace lily" aka Spathiphyllum, or "Chinese evergreen" aka Aglaonema. But if you're only turning on lights when you're using the bathroom and there's no natural light, even those won't live long. If you won't be getting it constantly moist, I've heard that both "snake plant aka mother-in-laws tongue" aka Sansevieria trifasciata and "ZZ plant" aka Zamioculcas Zamiifolia will tolerate very low light conditions for long periods before croaking. I mean, they probably won't grow but it's supposed to take a while to really see the effects of not enough light.

If you'll be providing a light source, and depending on the amount of artificial light (fluorescent daylight spectrum will support a surprisingly wide variety of plants) potentially a lot wider of a range and certainly a better shot for even the lowest-light plants.
posted by vegartanipla at 11:38 PM on February 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

I really can't think of any plant that requires no light whatsoever. Mould? Plastic plants? Those "air plants" that were so popular when I was 12? Unless you put in some gro lights, I think you might have to not have plants in your bathroom (and if you did do that, you could have an awesome mini rainforest!).
posted by thylacinthine at 11:38 PM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ferns. Spider plants are pretty foolproof, too. Peace lilies, pothos, and I think jbenben's on to something with cheap potted orchids.
posted by holgate at 11:40 PM on February 7, 2012

"Air plants" aka Tillandsia do require light as well, usually more light than the typical low light plants. Spider plants, ferns, and orchids all also require more light.

Seriously, I'm absolutely obsessed with houseplants. But I don't have any in my windowless bathroom, and only one in my windowless but generally brightly artificially lit bedroom. So if you're determined, I'd either 1) get at least some sort of light source going and still start out with a plant from that earlier list of low light plants and if it's absolutely flourishing you can start trying plants with higher light requirements, or 2) go the plastic or 3) the as-slow-a-decline-as-possible route with the snake or ZZ plant.
posted by vegartanipla at 11:59 PM on February 7, 2012

Second grow lights. The cashier at Home Depot may think you're just another pothead growing some weed out of your closet, but you'll show him. Just you wait. 3 months from now you'll have tomatoes, ripe red ones, and you'll know what to do with them.
posted by jng at 12:06 AM on February 8, 2012

posted by at the crossroads at 12:15 AM on February 8, 2012 [6 favorites]

I have a boston fern in a bathroom that only has one small window that is totally frosted, so the only light it is getting is diffused through that, and secondarily, through the open door to the rest of the house. It is doing awesomely. (I was surprised: I really didn't think it would have light, plus I suck at houseplants.) My friend has this same fern on a chair in her hallway, where has no windows, but again gets some light from open doors to the rooms that come off it. It is not growing as fast as mine, but it's still alive and green and happy after about six months so far.
posted by lollusc at 12:16 AM on February 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

Aspidistras seem to do pretty well with low light conditions.
posted by Solomon at 5:34 AM on February 8, 2012

Some of the above plants like the Pothos do okay in low-light, but may not survive the inherent moisture of a bathroom. If you want a plant in your bathroom, you might want to consider giving it some time every day in the light. For example, when you leave for work for the day, pop it in a sunny window, when you come home, pick it up and move it back to the bathroom.

If you truly want something that will thrive in a moist environment with no light, you're going to have to get mushrooms.
posted by juniperesque at 7:12 AM on February 8, 2012

Maybe you could pick one of the good low-light plants (or something that will survive for a good long while with no light), buy two of them, and rotate them every week or two.
posted by VTX at 7:30 AM on February 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

VTX has the best solution. Pretty much all tropicals that are fine in near darkness are very good with high heat and humidity. However, no green plant will grow without any light at all. My question would be: why do you want to subject a living plant to a condition that prevents them from thriving? Plants must have light to convert carbon into food, and to create oxygen as a by-product. If you're trying to use a plant to modify the atmosphere, it won't do it in the dark. If you just want the look, get a silk plant.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:04 AM on February 8, 2012

Is mold a plant?
posted by bz at 12:21 PM on February 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

According to my friends at Wikipedia, no, mould is not a plant:

"Molds (or moulds; see spelling differences) are fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae.[1] A connected network of these tubular branching hyphae has multiple, genetically identical nuclei and is considered a single organism, referred to as a colony. In contrast, fungi that grow as single cells are called yeasts."

But I agree, mushrooms would be great! Or, what about a fishtank sans fish, just with lights and awesome aquatic plants, and a bubbling sunken pirate ship? (I think I want to do this myself, now.)
posted by thylacinthine at 2:30 PM on February 8, 2012

Lots of suggestions! But no 'shrooms for me, I'm looking for greenery. Am definitely going to try out the Boston fern. Thanks!
posted by jyorraku at 7:50 PM on February 9, 2012

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