Grow a Bathroom Oasis: 8 Best Bathroom Plants With No Light or Low Light

Some apartment dwellers grow the best bathroom plants with no light or low light. Read how one of our favorite plant lovers does it in the big city.

Monstera and other houseplants on a bathroom sink
(Image credit: Carol Yepes / Getty Images)

Not every room in your house is flooded with sunlight, so does that mean no houseplants? You do have to take sun exposure into account when you select plants, but there are low light plants that can work well in bathrooms and other areas without sun. Some plants can even survive in almost no-light situations, like rooms without windows.

Read on for our top suggestions for best bathroom plants that don’t need sunlight.

Growing in No Light or Low Light

I’ve lived for years in San Francisco, where the typical apartment is “train style,” a long hallway with rooms on either side. As in many urban settings, many buildings don’t have yards to speak of and even rooms with windows don’t get much sunlight. That makes me sort of a specialist in plants for low light areas and how to keep them happy.

If you’re looking for plants for low-light or no-light rooms, you’ll have to be selective. Plants with big blooms and brilliant foliage demand more light than you can offer. The best plants for bathrooms with no light or low light will have muted foliage and discreet flowers. In exchange, you get easy-care plants that grow slowly and require less water.

You can improve the plant’s performance by switching plants in and out of no light rooms, allowing them to do a short term stint - a few weeks - in the no light bathroom followed by a period with more light. It’s also possible to add to the plant’s experience in the bathroom by adding some grow lights.

4 Best Plants to Grow with No Light

I include these plants as among the best plants to grow in a bathroom with no light since I have had each of these in my windowless bathroom. But use one or both of the suggestions above to keep the plants looking their very best: rotate them in and out of the lightless room or use grow lights.

1. ZZ Plant

close up ZZ plant in pot

(Image credit: Kinga Krzeminska / Getty Images)

(Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

I have a ZZ plant with gorgeous shiny emerald leaves and more than a few of my friends have assumed that it is plastic. So easy to grow, the ZZ is almost unkillable, and only requires a watering every two or three weeks. It will thrive with only a little natural light or fluorescent lighting, making it one of the best bathroom plants if the room has little to no natural lighting. Don’t let pets chew on the ZZ leaves since they are toxic.

2. Snake Plant

Three snake plants sitting on the stairs.

(Image credit: Cavan Images / Getty Images)

(Sansevieria trifasciata)

This is a plant that often makes the “can’t kill” list. Its tough nature is reflected in snake plant’s second common name, “mother-in-law's tongue.” It is an upright succulent with leaves that look a little like upright knife blades that can grow to 3 or 4 feet tall. The thick leaves come in different shades and patterns of green, depending on the cultivar. It grows in bright light but also low light and even no light.

3. Peace Lily

Blooming peace lily sitting on a windowsill in between airy curtains.

(Image credit: Helin Loik-Tomson / Getty Images)

(Spathiphyllum x 'Clevelandii')

I love peace lilies with their large, stand-up glossy, oval leaves and white “flowers” a couple times a year. These plants are not lilies at all, despite their common name and white blossoms rising on stalks. Their attractive blooms include a spike of real flowers protected by a white, sheath-like type of leaf called a spathe. Peace lilies prefer dappled sunlight but will grow in a no-light situation, although you can’t hold out hope for many flowers. You’ll do best to alternate their location, keeping them in a windowless bathroom for a few weeks, then moving them into a site with more light for a few weeks.

4. Cast Iron Plant

green leaves of cast iron plant

(Image credit: Endah Widiarti / Getty Images)

(Aspidistra elatior)

If you are a cook as well as a gardener, you will know that “cast iron” means virtually indestructible. Like peace lilies, cast iron plants have lush leaves and white flowers, although the flowers are tiny and insignificant. The foliage is all. This tough, no-nonsense plant is great for low light situations and will tolerate no light sites as well for weeks on end, even if you don’t water regularly.

4 Best Plants to Grow with Low Light

5. Heartleaf Philodendron

Heart-leaf philodendron 'Brasil' in a pot.

(Image credit: Stramyk / Getty Images)

(Philodendron hederaceum)

The heartleaf philodendron is an easy houseplant to love. With its vining heart-shaped leaves and easy-care ways, it cascades over hanging baskets or planters in rooms without much natural light. But let’s be honest here. If your heartleaf philodendron could talk, it would ask for a site with dappled light like the plant enjoys in its native tropical rainforest habitat. But these lush and lovely foliage plants will be just fine in a low light situation - and a low light bathroom’s humidity will be an added bonus. I have three of these plants in my low light home and they have remained healthy and beautiful for years.

6. Bird's Nest Fern

Bird's nest fern growing in a burlap sack on a table

(Image credit: bgton / Getty Images)

(Asplenium nidus)

Bird's nest ferns are epiphytic, growing in the wild on the surface of other rainforest plants. They are truly lovely, with smooth, bright green, lance-shaped fronds growing from a rosette. Many fronds are slightly rippled. They do not like or need direct sunlight and do well in a warm, low-light, humid bathroom.

7. Pothos

Variegated pothos sitting on a tabletop.

(Image credit: Firn / Getty Images)

(Epipremnum aureum)

Pothos have it all.. they are beautiful and extremely popular foliage plants with cascading green leaves, sharing a vining habit and easy-care ways with philodendron. Pothos are fast-growing foliage plants that can add on a foot (30 cm) of growth in a month and ask only for occasional water in return. Let the soil dry out completely between waterings.

8. Spider Plant

Spider plant spiderette

(Image credit: Zolga_F / Getty Images)

(Chlorophytum comosum)

These plants might win the popularity contest for houseplants and for good reason. Spider plant leaves are rosettes of long slender leaves, up to 18 inches long, a bright green, often with white stripes. They are tolerant, accept low-light to bright indirect light conditions, and, best of all, established plants bear baby spidies, They grow long stems tipped with flowers that develop into miniature spider plants, complete with roots. Snip them off and plant them!

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Rotate Plants Regularly in My Bathroom?

You should rotate the houseplants you leave in a no light bathroom. Every plant does better with some light, so don’t deprive them entirely. If your bathroom offers low light, you still might get better foliage color and/or see flowers if you rotate them out.

How Do I Grow Plants in a Windowless Bathroom?

The key is selecting plants that can exist without much light, then add a grow light or rotate them.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.