These Indoor Plants Are Ideal for Every Kind of Office Space

Home office desk with chair and plant
credit: Stephen Paul

Whether you work at home or in a traditional office, adding indoor plants to your workspace can be both beautiful and beneficial. Did you know that plants can actually help reduce stress, clear out negativity, and increase productivity? (And look gorgeous while doing their quiet business.) The key is to pick an easy-care plant that fits well with your particular office style. Below, our favorite finds.

Indoor Plant for a Private Office

If you have your own office space (in your company's building), you probably have ample room for a larger plant. You'll most likely want to choose one that doesn't require much attention yet creates an unforgettable look.

ZZ plant from The Sill in black planter
credit: The Sill

That's a lot to ask, but the ZZ plant (Zamioculus zamifolia) meets all those requirements. This African native offers a sleek, bold, tropical look with glossy architectural leaves arranged in a laddered fashion on upright stems. For extra pizzazz, consider the 'Raven' cultivar with leaves so dark they appear black.

Plant care: The ZZ likes bright indirect light but will tolerate shade well too. It is drought-resistant, but water when the soil feels dry to the touch. No fertilizer, please, but well-draining soil a must. The plant's growth rate depends on how much light and water it receives and it can grow to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide over time.

Get the look: ZZ Plant

Indoor Plant for a Home Office

If you have a home office, your setup is most likely a little less formal than a traditional office. You'll want to pick a plant to echo this more casual mood while not letting the whimsy get out of hand.

Philodendron plant from The Sill in cream colored planter
credit: The Sill

Go for a philodendron (Philodendron spp.). You will find some of the most gorgeous foliage plants on the planet in the Philodendron genus, with masses of glossy green leaves. Pick the growth pattern that works best in your room — climbing, cascading, or upright. While the exuberant foliage adds a touch of the jungle to your home office, indoor plants are easily kept in check by occasional pruning. The heartleaf plant (Philodendron bipinnatifidum ) is an excellent, low-maintenance choice with heart-shaped leaves and cascading foliage.

Plant care: You'll have to give the plant regular moisture to keep it lush. Be sure the pot has ample drain holes and fill it with well-draining soil. It will grow happily in bright light or partial shade.

Get the look: Philodendron

Indoor Plant for a Low-Light Office

If your office doesn't have many windows, that doesn't mean you have to refrain from adding indoor plants. In fact, a good argument could be made that your need for plants is even greater in order to cheer up your low-light space.

Snake plant from The Sill
credit: The Sill

The key here is to pick plants that will thrive in partial or full shade. While there are more than a few plants that tolerate low-light conditions, it's hard to beat a snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) for tolerance and handsome foliage. The snake plant is an architectural species, with stiff, upright leaves in bands of green. Maximum height ranges from about 8 inches to some 8 feet tall, so pick what works for you. If you'd like a little more color, opt for the variety known as mother-in-law's tongue, which lights up the leaves with yellow borders.

Plant care: Looking at this plant, you'd never guess it was tough as nails, although its common names do hint at that characteristic. It will survive just fine in a shady office as long as you provide it sandy, well-draining soil. It is also drought-tolerant, but try to irrigate every week or so.

Get the look: Snake plant

Indoor Plant for an Open Office Space

Some 70 percent of all businesses use open office spaces — large open spaces with shared work areas instead of private offices — to lower costs and facilitate interaction. But with private space limited, what kind of indoor plant might you get to personalize your area?

African Violet Plant in white planter from Walmart
credit: Walmart

The simple answer is: a small, compact plant. One great choice is that flowering classic the African violet (Saintpaulia spp.) It has a distinct charm with velvety leaves and deep purple blossoms and takes up very little space. Understory plants in their native habitat, they will be content with the office lighting, even if it's just from fluorescent fixtures. Pick your plant size to match your desk area. Standard African violets get to 12 inches in diameter, semi-minitures to 8 inches and miniatures to 6 inches.

Plant care: African violets prefer bright sunlight if that's possible. If not, artificial florescent fixtures will be OK. Water whenever the soil feels dry, mixing in a balanced water-soluble fertilizer. Use a peat-based soilless potting mix containing a third to a half coarse vermiculite and/or perlite.

Get the look: African violet

Indoor Plant for Increasing Prosperity at Work

In feng shui practice, indoor plants in an office are intended to bring prosperity to work and/or improve the overall energy. The jade plant (Crassula ovate) is reputed to do both. This succulent's coin-shaped leaves are said to bring good economic fortune, especially when placed in the wealth sector, the southeast corner of your space.

Jade plant
credit: Amazon

While a jade plant may bring you these benefits, we can affirm that it is an attractive and easy plant to grow. As an evergreen, it can live for decades and is readily propagated from cuttings.

Plant care: Like all succulents, the jade plant is fairly tolerant about all aspects of care other than drainage. Provide excellent drainage by using soil designed for cactus plants and a pot with drain holes. Water every week or so, emptying the saucer after. Jade plants needs some sun but no fertilizer.

Get the look: Jade plant


Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler

From Alaska to California, from France's Basque Country to Mexico's Pacific Coast, Teo Spengler has dug the soil, planted seeds and helped trees, flowers and veggies thrive. A professional writer and consummate gardener, Spengler has written about home and garden for Gardening Know How, San Francisco Chronicle, Gardening Guide and Go Banking Rates. She earned a BA from U.C. Santa Cruz, a law degree from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall, and an MA and MFA from San Francisco State. She currently divides her life between San Francisco and southwestern France.