Whether you work at home or in a traditional office setting, adding indoor plants to your workspace can be both beautiful and beneficial. Plants can help reduce stress, clear out negativity, and increase productivity, while making the space more attractive. The key is to pick an easy-care plant that fits well with your particular environment — think light level, humidity, and size.
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Private Office: ZZ Plant
If you have a private office, you can select a larger plant for a bigger impact, but low maintenance is essential. One to consider is the ZZ plant (Zamioculus zamifolia) with its sleek, bold, tropical look and glossy leaves arranged in a laddered fashion on upright stems. It can grow to 4 feet tall and almost as wide. The ZZ likes bright indirect light and well-draining soil. Water when the soil feels dry.
Corner Office: Spider Plant
If you are enjoying a corner office with bright, indirect light, you have a perfect environment for a spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum). Its lovely, long, ribbon-like leaves grow outward from the center, perfect for a hanging basket. Their special charm: baby spider plants grow in on wiry stems that hang down on all sides and can be used to create new plants. Spider plants need bright indirect light and good drainage but are otherwise almost maintenance-free.
Low-Light Office: Snake Plant
If your office doesn't have many windows, you still can — and should — add a few plants; you'll need the handsome foliage to cheer up the low-light space. What plant will thrive in shady areas? The handsome and tolerant snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) requires very little sunlight to grow to its mature height of up to 8 feet tall. This architectural species presents stiff, upright leaves in bands of green. It requires sandy, well-draining soil, and an occasional drink.
Small, attractive, and virtually indestructible, lucky bamboo plants (Dracaena sanderiana), are ideal when your office is little more than desk space. These upright plants look like bamboo stalks topped with happy green leaves, but in fact, aren't in the bamboo family. They grow well in distilled water as long as they get bright, filtered sunlight, a warm atmosphere, and appropriate fertilizer. Lucky bamboo can grow up to 19 inches in six months but tops out around 3 feet.
Air-Conditioned Office: Chinese Evergreen
With gorgeous lance-shaped leaves in shades of green, pink, and silver, the Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema modestum) tolerates almost any growing condition. Extremely low light, dry air, air-conditioning, and drought? The Chinese evergreen thrives in any and all of these, growing to 3 feet tall and wide. The plant does best in moist soil with added humus.
Aloe vera (Aloe vera) is one plant that is as useful as it is attractive. That's because the puffy leaves of this small, attractive succulent contain juice that relieves burns and paper cuts. The plant is stemless with thick, greenish, fleshy leaves that fan out from the center, each one serrated with small teeth. Give the aloe a site with bright, indirect sunlight and tip-top drainage and it will forgive you if you forget to water for a few weeks.
Standing Desk: Wandering Jew
Wandering jew (Tradescantia zebrina) is one of the world's best trailing houseplants and thus perfect to cascade from a standing desk. It offers purple stems and overlapping purple leaves marked with silvery green thick stripes. These plants grow quickly indoors and, before you know it, the foliage will be spilling over the sides of the container. Wandering jew plants need warm air temperatures, light potting soil with excellent drainage, and low to medium light.
Office With Fluorescent Lighting: Golden Pothos
Golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum) offers bright, heart-shaped green leaves that trail gracefully and grow quickly, sometimes up to 12 inches in one month. These lush houseplants like bright, indirect light, or fluorescent lighting. Pothos are known to reduce air toxins and require neither fertilizer nor frequent maintenance. They do need well-drained soil, which dries out completely before watering.
Cubicles: African Violet
The majority of businesses use open office spaces with shared work areas to lower costs and facilitate interaction. If this is your situation, your ideal office plant might be that small, flowering classic, the African violet (Saintpaulia spp.). Its velvety leaves and deep purple blossoms are sure to charm one and all. These plants need a peat-based soilless potting mix with added perlite or coarse vermiculite. Water on when the soil feels dry.
Home Office: Heartleaf Philodendron
If you have a home office, your setup will be less formal than a traditional office, and you'll want to pick a plant to echo this more casual mood. The heartleaf philodendron ([Philodendron bipinnatifidum )](https://www.hunker.com/13717407/top-5-plants-to-give-as-housewarming-gifts-because-theyre-pretty-hard-to-kill) is an excellent choice with exuberant masses of glossy green leaves that climb, cascade, or stand upright —pick whichever growth pattern that works best in your room. It is an excellent, low-maintenance choice that stays lush as long as it has good drainage and ample water. It will grow happily in bright light or partial shade.
Busy Office: Jade Plant
In feng shui practice, indoor plants in an office support prosperity and improve work energy. The jade plant (Crassula ovate), with its puffy, coin-shaped leaves, is reputed to do both without much human effort. While there is no guarantee that a jade plant will improve your bottom line, this easy-to-grow plant is uniformly attractive and decidedly undemanding. Like all succulents, the jade plant is tolerant of growing conditions. Provide some sun, good drainage, and occasional water.
Bright Small Offices: Air Plants
If you have more light than space in your office, air plants (Tillandsia spp.) are the way to go. These epiphytes grow on tree branches in the wild and don't need soil. Small and trendy, air plants have an exotic, alien look. There are hundreds of varieties of air plants, each with a different look. Pick one that pleases you and give it ample indirect light and an occasional overnight soaking.
Adding houseplants to an office brightens up the atmosphere, relieves stress, and gives you something beautiful to admire. No matter whether your office is the big one on the corner flooded with light or a shared cubicle with a small window, you can find potted plants that will be happy and healthy there.
- Costa Farms: ZZ Plant
- University of Florida: ZZ Plant
- NSE Tropicals: ZZ 'Raven'
- Den Garden: The 8 Best Low-Light and Low-Maintenance Office Plants
- CIPHR: Plants in the Office
- Violet Barn: African Violets
- Love to Know: Feng Shui Houseplants
- HGIC Clemson: Spider Plant
- HGIC Clemson: Chinese Evergreen
- Almanac: Aloe Vera