In the year 2020, when we were all sent to stay at home, many of us had to quickly adjust to remote work. We brought our work devices with us, our files, and welcomed coworkers (virtually) to our home. What most of us did forget though were the pot of plants (fake or real) that adorned our workspace.
There’s a hilarious collection of photos from The Guardian that documents all the withered office desk plants in one building, that you can read here.
It’s hilarious and sad all at the same time. But now we have an opportunity to begin again. With more companies returning to their offices, and restrictions being lifted, it’s time for us to once again adorn our beloved small spaces.
There are people who would rather have no office desk plants because they couldn’t be bothered to care for a potted plant. I get it, there are endless meetings, notes, and deadlines, how can one squeeze in plant maintenance?
This is where we come in! We’ve created a list of the best plants for your office desk or workspace at home. Office plants aren’t just accessories, but they provide tons of benefits for you. Dare we say, it might even help you finish that report on time!
Benefits of Having Office Plants
Office Plants Can Reduce Sick Days
We’re starting with a big one. Good health is our biggest priority, and getting sick is out of the question. Offices that have poor ventilation often have people who constantly experience headaches and nausea. Plants are natural air purifiers! And though an office plant alone won’t fix the problem, they can ease up that burden.
Office Plants Can Increase Productivity
A study conducted by psychologists from Exeter University found that employees perform better when household plants are added to their office desks and workplace. Any space with zero decoration is toxic. A little plant or two can ease your eyes, and help you stay focused.
Office Plants Boost Creativity
It’s not just getting the work done, but vibrant shapes and colors stimulate our senses, thereby opening our minds to a free flow of ideas.
Office Plants Can Absorb Noise
Having office desk plants can serve the purpose of blocking out unnecessary background chatter. You know, when you need to get the work done and mute office gossip… you’ll probably need larger plants for this.
Office Plants Can Reduce Stress
Another study in 2010 found that offices decked up in green leaves and plants saw a significant reduction in anxiety, depression, and hostility. Green, after all, is a soothing color.
Low-Maintenance Desk Plants
This list comes from experience and expertise. We’re putting the Philodendron at the top for the simple reason that, this indoor plant has never failed us. The philodendron plant has many varieties you can choose from. A Xanadu, Pink Princess, and Brasil all look very different from each other, but they are in fact, Philodendron plants! These beauties can grow under natural light or low light, easy-to-care-for, and are quite forgiving. Once you see your desk plant growing, you’ll be very encouraged to grow some more.
Light: Light conditions vary depending on the leaf color. Solid green leaves can handle less light, perfect for your office desk. If you have access to bright, indirect light, philodendrons without solid green leaves are best.
Water: Assuming your office will have air conditioning, you won’t need to water your plant as often. Over-watering will cause more harm in this situation. Let the top of the soil dry out before you water.
2. Peace Lily
While a blooming Peace Lily would be a gorgeous flowering plant on your office foyer, the dark leaves of this plant are a treat for the eyes. Imagine the white spathes of your plant accentuating your desk. You can pull off a minimalist look with this beauty or decorate it with other indoor plants. I suggest that you buy your plant with buds that are about to bloom though because it is a challenge to have them bloom again living indoors. You will however have the glossy foliage all year round.
Light: To produce flowers, they will need to be under bright light. But you can still enjoy this plant in moderate or medium light.
Water: The peace lilies will easily limp if they go completely dry. You should water this plant regularly. Perhaps on your last day of the workweek as a form of self-care and celebration.
3. Spider Plant
I was late to the spider plant fan base because it didn’t excite me as much. Until a family member gifted me with a small pot. I let it sit in the corner of my home office with only partial light. It lived! And it continues to grow without any fuss and drama. Cubicles that have little to no access to light, with poor ventilation need not go plantless! The spider plant is a tough cookie that also serves as a natural air cleanser.
Light: They can grow in indirect, partial light. You can also place them under your office desk lamp while you’re at work to give them a bit of lighting.
Water: They can go for a few days without water. I keep a schedule of Mondays and Thursdays for thirsty plants. Find what works best for you.
4. Chinese Evergreen or Aglaonemas
I’m proud to say that I still have all of my Chinese evergreen plants thriving and living a full life! The secret? Not to my credit though because these are some of the easiest to care for, low-maintenance plants you will ever encounter. If you want to own a pink plant but can’t afford the Pink Princess, the pink Chinese evergreen is a great and affordable alternative!
Light: Varieties of this plant with darker foliage can tolerate low light conditions. Pink coloring and more patterned evergreen varieties prefer more sunlight. But this plant burns easily, so your well-lighted office is already a great place.
Water: Some more good news! The Chinese Evergreen does not need frequent watering. During the warm months, water for only 7-9 days, during the winter you can go for 2-3 weeks before you water next.
5. ZZ Plant
There are tons of reasons the ZZ Plant is perfect for your office desk. For one, this is basically a starter’s plant. If you neglect it and the leaves fall off, simply give it a good watering and it’ll right back up. It has a unique look to it, and it can survive in low light conditions. I love the look of the ZZ Plant but couldn’t keep them as a houseplant because they are extremely toxic to pets.
Light: Under low lighting, they won’t grow as tall as they should be. Under moderate or medium light is best.
Water: Adjust your watering based on your office condition. A 3-4 week window is ideal between watering schedule.
6. Aloe Vera
If any of you ever experience skin dryness or irritation, keep the aloe vera within reach! This houseplant produces a healing gel that can treat different skin problems and kill bacteria.
There are really fun-looking varieties that can go well with your minimalist look. They are also considered great air purifiers.
Light: There’s a catch to this perfect office desk plant. It needs as much light as possible to thrive, ideally, a south or west window.
Water: The aloe can’t be sitting in water, too. They have fleshy leaves that can store plenty of water. Make sure they are completely dried out before you hydrate.
If you have shelves in your office, or a space to hang a plant, the pothos is the best plant for the job. You can get a cutting, place it in a decorative glass, and let it grow in water. You can also buy one that’s already vining with tails for cheap.
Light: For low lighting, the Jade with its solid green foliage is the most easy-to-grow variety. Moderate light is ideal for most of these plants.
Water: You can go for 2 weeks without watering this plant. Make sure the soil is almost dry before you water.
8. Cactus and Succulents
Cactus and succulents are fit for those who could never be bothered to water. They come in the smallest sizes for even the tiniest spaces. There are over 2,000 types of cacti for you to choose from! ZZ Plants are types of succulents as well as Jade plants. Aloes belong to the cacti family.
Light: Give them plenty of direct sunlight. If you have access to windows, line them up under the sun!
Water: Less is more with these plants.
9. Air Plants
If you are up for a bit of maintenance work, the air plant is one of the best aesthetic greenery you can add to your desk. You can add them to terrariums. They don’t need to be planted onto the soil.
Light: They can’t thrive in low light or direct sunlight. A space with indirect light is best.
Water: I mentioned they need a bit of maintenance because you’ll have to spray the roots of the air plants or soak them for 15 minutes, one to two times a week.
10. Snake Plant
And finally, one of the best, and most easy to grow and care for plants in any list possible – the Sansevieria or Snake Plant. They come in a wide variety of colors, patterns, forms, and sizes. They can be a statement plant or a backgrounder. They are air purifiers, they grow well in low light, and are one the hardiest houseplants out there. If you are only allowed one plant on your desk space. Make it the sansevieria
Light: They are versatile in terms of light requirements. Medium-light, low or high light, they are good to go.
Water: They don’t require much watering. Wait until the soil is completely dry. You can water the snake plant every 2-6 weeks.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What plants are good for office desks?
Plants that don’t consume much space are ideal for office desks. A pot of cactus or succulent is your best bet, as long as you have access to the sun. The lucky bamboo is also a perfect desk plant.
What plants do well in office lighting or low light?
Many plants can tolerate low light situations, but you need to choose a houseplant that thrives in office lighting. Choose dark green leafy plants like the Jade pothos, peace lily, or snake plant.
How can I decorate my office desk with plants?
First, consider the condition of your room. Is it too cold? Too dry? No access to natural light? Figuring out and understanding your environment will help you understand which plants are perfect for your space. If you are new to plant care, start with an easy-to-grow plant like the ZZ Plant or Snake plant.
Can plants grow in an office with no windows?
Yes! Provided that you supplement their sun needs with grow lights. Remember that all plants do need light to feed and survive. But adaptable plants like the Devil’s ivy and philodendron can adapt to artificial lighting.