Humans have a natural need to be connected to nature and to their surrounding environment, a phenomenon that is known as ‘biophilia’.
Over the years, many studies have shown that bringing nature indoors can have a surprising amount of benefits on workers and their overall health. On the other hand, spending too much time indoors, in spaces that lack greenery and natural elements can have a negative impact on your well-being.
Whether you are working in a regular office or from home, you definitely need a few plants to keep you company. And the good news is you don’t have to be an experienced gardener to grow attractive plants indoors. The key is choosing low-maintenance plants that will thrive without too much effort on your part.
Read on to learn about some of the most important benefits of having plants in the office and what the best office plants are.
The Benefits of Having Office Plants
Office plants can reduce stress – According to a 2010 study, growing plants in the office resulted in less stress among workers. The results of the study were quite surprising as depression was lowered by 58%, tension and anxiety by 37%, fatigue by 38%, and anger and hostility by 44%. According to the same study, having just one plant can have a major impact and can improve the work environment significantly. And this shouldn’t come as a surprise, because the colour green is known to have a relaxing and calming effect.
Having a plant in the office can make you more productive – Adding just one plant per square meter can increase a worker’s productivity by as much as 14%. Scientists have found that sterile and minimalist work environments can be detrimental and can make workers feel miserable. Psychologists have been studying this issue for many years and, according to this article, they concluded that workers become happier and more productive when their office space is decorated with attractive plants.
Plants clean the air – During the process of photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide from their surrounding environment and release oxygen. This is extremely beneficial for us and it makes our work environment healthier. In addition to that, plants can also remove other harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene from the air, making it cleaner and safer to breathe.
But that’s not all. Sharing your workspace with a green companion can also boost your creativity and make you feel more at home in your office. So, it is safe to say that every office, no matter how small, should have at least one plant. Here are some of the best plants that will thrive on your desk without much effort on your part:
Epipremnum Aureum, a.k.a. Pothos plants are very friendly and they make perfect additions to any low-light environment such as an office or a cubicle. In the gardening world, these hardy ornamental plants are commonly referred to as Devil’s Ivy because they are almost impossible to kill. In addition to that, Pothos plants have an almost supernatural ability to maintain their foliage green even without receiving a lot of natural light.
As a plant that is comfortable in many different environments, Pothos will thrive in both bright, indirect light and shade. It’s best to protect Pothos plants from bright direct sunlight, especially during the hot summer months.
In terms of watering, Pothos plants don’t need a lot and won’t mind if you forget to water them once in a while. If you don’t really get it right, your plant will let you know. If your Pothos starts to look a bit droopy, it might need more water. Yellow leaves, on the other hand, are a sign of overwatering. To avoid overwatering or underwatering, it’s best to use the ‘soak and dry’ method that consists of watering your plant when the soil feels dry to the touch. Most gardeners prefer to water their Pothos once every 5 days during the warm seasons and once every 10 days during the cold seasons.
In terms of soil, this low-maintenance plant prefers nutrient-rich soil, but it can grow in nutrient-poor soil as well. A cool thing about Pothos plants is the fact that they can also grow directly in water. So, if you cut off a section of a vine and put it in a vase or in a glass of water, you’ll see that the roots will start to form quite quickly, especially during its growth season which is during the spring and summer.
If you have an aquarium in your office, you can grow some vines in the aquarium as the roots will look really cool and won’t harm the fish. However, it’s best to keep Pothos plants within a safe distance from dogs and cats because ingesting the leaves and stems is quite toxic and will cause vomiting. So, as long as you don’t have an office mascot that loves munching on plants, a Pothos plant will make a perfect office companion. If you want to learn more about these plants, you can check out our complete guide to growing and caring for Pothos.
Zamioculcas Zamiifolia, commonly known as the ZZ plant, is another low-maintenance plant that will thrive in an office setting. This plant has attractive leathery leaves and thick succulent stems and tuber rhizomes that store water for long periods of time. This means that you don’t have to worry if you forget to water your ZZ plant. And the best thing about this friendly plant is the fact that if it doesn’t receive enough water, it won’t wither and die but it will just stop growing. ZZ plant won’t start losing its leaves at the first signs of discomfort, which is why so many interior designers and gardeners have developed a passion for this amazing plant.
ZZ plant is usually considered a slow-growing plant, so it won’t need a lot of pruning or reshaping. It doesn’t attract pests and it is not susceptible to diseases, so if you’re currently looking for an office plant that will impress your visitors and spruce up the space, you are looking at the perfect candidate.
In addition to that, the ZZ plant won’t mind moving from one place to another and it can survive for up to 8 months in environments that only have artificial light without showing signs of distress. However, the ideal cycle for a ZZ plant consists of 4 months in a regular office environment (dormancy) and 4 months in a very warm and well-lit location and lots of moisture (growth period/stocking up on nutrients). If you want to learn more about these low-maintenance plants, check out our complete guide to growing and caring for Zamioculcas zamiifolia.
Sansevieria, commonly known in the gardening world as ‘snake plant’ or ‘mother in law’s tongue is a very popular ornamental that doesn’t mind being neglected for weeks at a time without losing its leaves or showing any sign of distress. Gardeners worldwide consider this plant to be extremely tolerant and friendly as it can survive drought, low light levels, and it doesn’t attract pests. In addition to being easy to grow and to care for, snake plants will release oxygen and clean the air inside your office or your home by removing many dangerous toxins such as benzene and formaldehyde.
Snake plants are native to the deserts of Southern Asia, Madagascar, Ethiopia, and Africa, so they won’t need a lot of water. As mentioned above, these attractive ornamentals are extremely drought-tolerant will thrive if you water them once every 2-3 weeks. Snake plants grow upwards and take up little horizontal space, so they are perfect for small offices, cubicles, and hallways. Thanks to their beautiful variegated leaves, snake plants can spruce up any dull corner.
There are many snake plant cultivars available on the market but the most popular one is Sansevieria trifasciata which is also the fastest-growing one. Featuring dark-green leaves with light yellow cross banding, this plant will make a great addition to a monotonous office. Other attractive snake plant cultivars include Sansevieria Cylindrica, Sansevieria ‘Twisted Sister’, Sansevieria ‘Golden Hahnii’, Sansevieria Ehrenbergii (Blue Sansevieria), and Sansevieria Ehrenbergii ‘Banana’. Check out our complete guide to growing and caring for snake plants to learn more about these low-maintenance office companions.
Spathiphyllum, commonly referred to as Peace Lily, is another low-maintenance plant that will make your office a friendlier environment without too much effort on your part. The Peace Lily was nicknamed by gardeners the ‘closet plant’ thanks to its ability to grow healthy and happy in low light conditions and even in a closet. So, if you are looking for an office plant that doesn’t need much to thrive, the Peace Lily is the ideal companion. With its shiny, elongated leaves, and delicate blooms, the Peace Lily will turn a dull cubicle into a more inviting workspace.
It is important to remember that although Peace Lilies thrive in low-light environments, they still need some natural light, so, you should keep them in spaces that have windows. You don’t have to grow your Peace Lily on the windowsill, and it is not recommended to do so because this plant is extremely sensitive to direct sunlight, which can damage its delicate foliage.
In terms of watering, the Peace Lily is a bit unusual as it needs a lot of water but can be sensitive to waterlogging. To be on the safe side and to avoid overwatering and underwatering, apply the ‘soak and dry’ technique and wait for the soil to dry completely before watering generously. On average, Peace Lilies require one watering session per week, but this can depend on the surrounding environment. If the plant starts to look droopy, it might need more water. The Peace Lily loves a humid environment so it will also benefit from misting twice a week. Learn more about the ideal growing conditions of these easy-going office plants from our complete guide to growing and caring for Peace Lilies.
Aloe is a fascinating genus that contains 560 different species of succulent plants. The plants that belong to the Aloe genus come in many different colours, shapes, and sizes, and most of them are extremely office-friendly. As a general rule, Aloes consist of rosettes of thick, fleshy leaves and produce colourful flowers. The most popular Aloe plant is Aloe Vera, a versatile succulent plant that has many different uses in the health and beauty industry. This medicinal plant can easily be grown in an office or in a cubicle, as it improves air quality and it needs very little water.
Most Aloes are big fans of sunlight, so it is not a great idea to keep them in low-light environments. It’s best to keep them on a sunny windowsill or on your desk if it’s near a window. Aloes thrive in the typical room environment that is found in most office buildings, but they are very hardy so they won’t mind occasional temperature fluctuations.
Other examples of office-friendly Aloe plants include Aloe Juvenna, Zebra Aloe, Snake Aloe, Coral Aloe, Carmine Aloe, Fan Aloe, Red Aloe, and Sunset Aloe. However, you don’t have to limit yourself to these cultivars, as you can pick any type of Aloe and it will surely thrive on your desk. Learn how to grow and care for these low-maintenance office plants from our complete guide to growing and caring for Aloe Vera.
Aglaonema and Red Aglaonema
Another very popular ornamental houseplant is Aglaonema, also known as ‘Chinese Evergreen’. With its attractive foliage, Aglaonema can be a friendly office companion as it can easily adapt to different environments. Native to the tropical forests of Asia, Aglaonema appreciates indirect light and it can even adapt to fluorescent light.
Aglaonema plants don’t need frequent watering as they are sensitive to root rot. That means that it’s highly recommended to plant these versatile companions in well-draining soil and to apply the ‘soak and dry’ method that consists of checking their soil with your finger to ensure that it is completely dry before watering.
Mushy stalks and yellowing leaves are a sign of overwatering, while droopy leaves are a sign of underwatering or insufficient light. Although it might sound that Aglaonema has a lot of requirements, things are actually quite easy. All this plant needs to thrive in an office is regular temperatures, well-draining soil, moderate light, and some water every now and then. Once you get used to its easy-going nature, caring for this plant won’t be an issue. To become an expert grower, read our complete guide to Aglaonema.
What plants are you growing in your office? Let us know in the comment section!