15 best office plants

Office plants. Getty Images

House plants in the office can help to reduce stress levels, increase concentration and therefore prductivity, and generally make the office a nicer environment to work in. The types of house plant that are suited to an office depend on your particular office – is it bright, shady, warm or cold? Many offices may have air conditioning, which can be drying for plants and unsuitable for house plants from tropical regions. Assess your office before buying house plants, whether it’s at home or in the work place.

The most common problem for keeping office plants healthy, though, is lack of time. Do people in your office have time to water plants regularly or mist them if they need high levels of humidity? It’s often safer to choose plants in the ‘unkillable’ category – low-maintenance species that can cope with some neglect. Here are 15 plants that are easy to look after:


15 plants for the office

 

Snake plant (Sanseveria zeylanica)

Snake plant. Getty Images
Snake plant. Getty Images

Snake plant is an ideal plant for an office environment as it can tolerate neglect. It comes from Central Africa where it grows in dry conditions and therefore doesn’t need a lot of watering. This stylish plant can also grow well in most light conditions, apart from deep shade. Snake plant‘s broad, sword-shaped leaves can be edged in cream or white and reach up to 1.2m tall, although there are compact varieties available around 25cm tall, which would be perfect for the top of a desk or shelf.

Height x Spread: 1.2m x 50cm


 

ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

ZZ plant, Zamioculcas zamiifolia. Getty Images
ZZ plant, Zamioculcas zamiifolia. Getty Images

The ZZ plant is an upright plant that will add height to the corner of an office or meeting room. It’s one of the easiest house plants to grow and will thrive in low light, although it’s ideally suited to a warm spot in bright indirect light. The ZZ plant is native to East Africa and doesn’t need frequent watering, making it a low-maintenance plant for a busy office.

H x S: 1m x 80cm


 

Marble Queen pothos (Epripremnum pinnatum ‘Marble Queen’)

Marble Queen Pothos. Sarah Cuttle
Marble Queen Pothos. Sarah Cuttle

Grow this versatile plant in a hanging basket, where its cascading stems can hang down or keep it compact to brighten up a desk or shelf. It’s easy to cut back and reshape this variegated vine, which has oval-shaped leaves with cream marbling. Marble Queen pothos can cope with erratic watering and low light, but its leaves may be less bright in a shady spot.

H x S: 2m x 75cm


 

Kentia palm (Howea fosteriana)

Kentia palm. Sarah Cuttle
Kentia palm. Sarah Cuttle

Howea forsteriana will create a focal point whether you’re in a company office or at home. It’s slow growing, but can reach up to 3m tall, with arching, evergreen leaves. Kentia palm is native to Lord Howe Island in Australia where it grows in forests, and will thrive in similar growing conditions indoors – a bright office is ideal, but avoid direct sunlight. It can cope with a missed watering here and there.

H x S: 3m x 2m


 

Cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior)

Aspidistra elatior 'Variegata'. Sarah Cuttle
Aspidistra elatior ‘Variegata’. Sarah Cuttle

Plants that are good for beginners are an ideal pick for an office environment, as this usually means they can cope with some neglect. The cast-iron plant is not fussy about low light or irregular watering. The species has wide green leaves but there is also a variegated type. To keep your plant in the best health, keep out of direct sunlight and let it dry out between waterings.

H x S: 60cm x 60cm


 

Corn plant (Draceana fragrans)

Dracaena fragrans. Getty Images
Dracaena fragrans. Getty Images

Corn plants (Dracaena fragrans) are slow growing, reaching 2m indoors, although in the wild they can grow to 6m. They will grow well in conditions of light shade to bright, indirect light and need little maintenance. This easy-care plant can cope with drought and makes a striking feature plant with its wide, evergreen leaves.

H x S: 2m x 1.5m


 

Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

Spider plant. Sarah Cuttle
Spider plant. Sarah Cuttle

Easy to grow, easy to look after and easy to propagate, spider plants can be grown in almost any room indoors, apart from in direct sunlight. They are tough plants with variegated leaves and there is also an attractive curly-leaved variety, ‘Bonnie’, which would make an eye-catching plant for a desk.

H x S: 20cm x 30cm


 

Jade plant (Crassula ovata)

Jade plant. Sarah Cuttle
Jade plant. Sarah Cuttle

The leaves of a jade plant are said to resemble coins, which is why it’s sometimes called the money tree and was said to bring wealth to a home. It might not bring you fortune at work, but it’s a fuss-free succulent that only needs occasional watering, making it an easy plant for the office. Place in a bright spot, out of direct sunlight.

H x S: 2m x 1.5m


Fishbone cactus (Epiphyllum anguliger)

Fishbone cactus. Sarah Cuttle
Fishbone cactus. Sarah Cuttle

Fishbone cactus is an exotic addition to an office, and it requires a bit more attention than some of the plants listed. It thrives in a warm, bright spot and benefits from regular misting. Water fishbone cactus when the top few inches of compost have dried out. This dramatic cactus is worth adding to a home office or workplace where there’s at least one plant enthusiast, because of its dramatic leaves and fragrant flowers in the autumn.

H x S: 30cm x 100cm


 

Echeveria

Succulent, Echeveria lindsayana. Sarah Cuttle
Succulent, Echeveria lindsayana. Sarah Cuttle

Succulents such as echeveria are good for small spaces or for adding greenery to desks as they thrive on neglect. Coming from hot countries such as Mexico, echeveria cope well with drought. Place these pretty plants in a spot that gets bright, indirect light.

H x S: 40cm x 3ocm (depending on variety)


 

String of hearts (Ceropegii woodii)

String of hearts, Ceropegia linearis subsp, woodii. Sarah Cuttle
String of hearts, Ceropegia linearis subsp, woodii. Sarah Cuttle

Brighten a shelf with string of hearts, an unusual succulent with trailing stems that can reach over a metre long. The attractive green and silver leaves are heart-shaped, with a pinky purple underside. It thrives in bright, indirect light. Leave the compost to dry out in-between waterings.

H x S: 1.5m x 10cm


 

Chinese money plant (Pilea peperomioides)

Pilea peperomioides, Chinese money plant. Getty Images.
Pilea peperomioides, Chinese money plant. Getty Images.

This easy-going plant has beautiful round leaves on long stems. It’s simple to propagate, producing babies at its base, which makes it simple to create new plants for free. Chinese money plant grows well in bright, indirect light. Water when the compost dries out.

H x S: 35cm x 35cm


 

Aloe vera

Aloe vera. Getty Images
Aloe vera. Getty Images

Known for its medicinal qualities, Aloe vera is also an attractive, undemanding house plant. It’s often listed in the ‘unkillable’ section of house plant websites, making it a good choice for a busy office. Place it in a bright, warm spot and water only when the top few centimetres of compost has dried out. Don’t water in winter.

H x S: 90cm x 90cm


 

Peace lily

Peace lily in a well lit spot. Sarah Cuttle
Peace lily in a well lit spot. Sarah Cuttle

The elegant peace lily will enhance any office with its glossy leaves and white flowers, which appear through spring and summer. It can tolerate low light but does need regular, light watering. It also benefits from misting, but if no one has the time to do this, stand the plant on a tray of moist pebbles to boost humidity.

H x S: 60cm x 60cm


 

Ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)

Ponytail palm. Getty Images
Ponytail palm. Getty Images

The ponytail palm is not a true palm, but a succulent with a swollen trunk that has earned it the common name ‘elephant’s foot tree’. It’s low maintenance and should only be watered sparingly during spring and summer. Place it in bright, indirect light and it shouldn’t cause any problems.

H x S: 2.5m x 1m

Advice on buying house plants for an office

  • Check that your office, whether at home or at work, has the right conditions for the plant that you’re buying
  • Inspect plants for pests and diseases before buying or when they arrive, if buying online
  • Follow care instructions carefully, especially when it comes to watering as overwatering is one of the most common causes of house plant death.

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