10 Best Plants for Your Office Desk
For outdoor enthusiasts who love to wake up before the sun rises and leave at dusk, missing these hours at work can be a real disappointment. It is possible to treat light sensitivity with a lamp or light box, but adding plants, when used in conjunction with light therapy, may improve productivity and job satisfaction. Office plants can add style to your workspace, increase humidity around a desk, remove toxins from the air, and improve the air quality around your office.
Sansevieria, sometimes referred to as a snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue, is known for its hardiness, so it can grow until its owner retires. All snake plants are not created equal in terms of size. You should pay close attention to the plant label so you don’t choose a cultivar that grows several feet tall. You may want to consider choosing a dwarf strain like Futura Superba or Whitney instead. You can enjoy this slow-growing desk plant on Friday by giving it a drink from your water bottle on your way out the door. Snake plants are perfect for houseplant newbies.
A popular plant from the 1970s, the fuzzy-leafed plant has a cult following for good reason: modern African violet hybrids can survive in the same conditions humans do, with average humidity and temperatures. In spite of the fact that sufficient light is necessary for plants to bloom, African violets are not fussy about the source of that light, so a fluorescent lamp aimed at them will suffice. Light conditions in this plant are best when the window faces north or east; do not place the plant directly in direct sunlight. There are miniature violets that are less than six inches in diameter, so even the smallest spaces can accommodate a flowering office plant.
Plant a trailing plant such as English ivy on a desk to soften its lines. Medium lighting and average water are required for ivy to grow indoors. Ivy’s trailing nature can become too much to bear, so wrap its tendrils around a wire obelisk or trellis to create a living piece. It is undoubtedly possible to fail with any variety of the classic Hedera helix, but new cultivars have added higher levels of diversity to the plant. Grey or gold variegation is featured in the ‘Silver Dollar’ and the “Yellow Ripple”. The perennial varieties ‘Pixie Dixie’ and ‘Curly Locks’ are perfect for small spaces. For those who desire fancy foliage, you will love ‘Manda’s Crested’ and ‘Curly Locks’ with their ruffled leaves.
Zamioculus zamifolia is a succulent with two remarkable characteristics, which have propelled its popularity as a houseplant: a tolerance for low light and the ability to survive on very little water. The ZZ plant comes from Africa and is a good candidate for sole illumination with fluorescent bulbs. In an office setting, laddered leaves make a welcome addition to a workspace, but the nearly black leaves and stems of the latest ‘Raven’ cultivar stand out against a white desktop.
Aloe plants can be grown easily if they are provided with one essential ingredient: lots of bright light. You can place the succulent near a sunny window on the desk, and forget about it, since these plants only require occasional watering. If you prefer, you can choose the dwarf ‘Minibelle’ and the speckled ‘Tiger Tooth’ cultivar that resembles sharp teeth, but doesn’t have any sharp teeth; either would look great on any desk in a modern office space. The plants should be grown in a sandy cactus mix in order to ensure adequate drainage.
If you want to add cheer to your office, whether it’s flooded with natural light or nestled in a cozy corner, this philodendron with glossy green leaves will look great. Philodendrons have been used for hanging baskets for centuries, but grow just as well on trellises or totem poles. If a specimen is without constant care, a self-watering pot will come in handy. Philodendrons require moist soil to thrive, so a self-watering pot will serve as an excellent substitute. The Brandi cultivar, with its silvery mottled foliage, is ideal in a container when combined with a standard green variety such as ‘Green Heartleaf.
When growing Tillandsias or any plants that do not require soil (called air plants), you need to think outside the pot. An air plant can be attached to driftwood with fishing line. Also, you can arrange air plants in shells, teacups, or other unconventional containers, or fill a miniature terrarium with air plant varieties.
Within the bromeliad family, Tillandsia includes several hundred species with spiked leaves that are green, silvery, or rosy in color. In addition to being epiphytes accustomed to growing alongside shady tree branches, air plants do not require much light, although those on sunny desks are likely to develop flower spikes. You should mist the entire plant every week, because the modified scales on the leaves will absorb moisture.
Houseplants such as oxalis, also known as wood sorrels, can add a touch of color to an office, regardless of whether they bloom. Plants in these kinds of collections are affixed with a shamrock-like appearance, which makes them popular around St. Patrick’s Day. The cultivated versions of Oxalis are generally considered more elegant, unlike some types of oxalis that are treated like lawn weeds. The deep burgundy leaves and yellow flowers of Oxalis vulcanicola ‘Zinfandel’ draw attention. The colors of these plants are best when they are in bright light, but they do well in low humidity.
Be sure not to overlook the variety of Rex begonias with their jewel-like cultivars for your desk. With these plants, it’s all about the foliage, featuring a variety of varieties with speckles, veining, and even swirling patterns in shades of silver, purple, red, and green. In contrast, varieties like ‘Marmaduke,’ ‘Escargot,’ and ‘Stained Glass,’ have different leaf textures and patterns that add interest and complement the blooms. Rex begonias can thrive in low levels of light but require adequate humidity.
There are more than 100 genera of true bamboo, and the bamboo commonly known as lucky bamboo does not belong to any of them. A close relative of Dracaena sanderiana is the corn plant, another easy-to-grow houseplant. Lucky bamboo stems are sometimes shaped into spirals, weaves, or even hearts by growers. Eventually, the stems of lucky bamboo outgrow their trained shapes, but plants grow slowly if left to their own devices. If the stems are submerged in water, lucky bamboo can grow without soil and with low light. It is essential to keep the water level above the stems so that the plant does not become desiccated.