Good Office Plants-From Low Light Plants to Flowering Beauties
How to Pick a Good Office Plant-Clean the Air and Improve Morale
Anyone who has ever had to work in an office environment under blinding fluorescent bulbs and grey cubicles can tell you just how much difference a good office plant can make. Flora in the workplace cleans the air, improved morale and provides much needed life and color to a very stifling and artificial environment. Of course, if you’re like me, you’ve probably killed a few innocent plants in the process of trying to enliven your workspace. From the deaths of my poor office plants, let me share some tips I’ve learned.
Start by Choosing the Right Office Plant
Some plants thrive in an office environment, while others give up hope and die within a matter of weeks. Choosing office plants that will thrive depends on you matching the plant to your office conditions. Many offices or cubicles do not have access to direct sunlight, so many workers need to focus on finding low light plants. These plants will continue to grow even during dark weekends and under artificial light. Of course, if you have a corner office with southern facing windows...Well, I certainly don’t feel sorry for you. Go grow a banana tree or something.
A good office plant also will be flexible, or at least not too finicky, when it comes to factors such as humidity and heat. Take the gorgeous orchid for example. Beautiful, exotic, and picky about warm temperatures and humidity. Unless you have a private office and a humidifier, it might be best not to try. Below you can find some of my personal favorite office plants, many of which I have actually managed to keep alive!
The long and thin leaves of the spider plant may remind you of a daddy-long-legs, but this plant not only brings life to an office but also helps clean the air! In addition to recycling good old CO2, spider plants have also been shown to cleanse the air of the toxic chemical formaldehyde (you know, embalming fluid) which is also used as a preservative in the materials used to make office furniture. Spider plants, when healthy, also produce little plantlets (baby plants) which can be planted in new pots to create new spider plants!
Bamboo, which in some Asian cultures symbolizes luck, wealth or growth, can also make a fantastic office plant. It is a hardy plant, a quick grower, and doesn’t even need dirt to survive! Plant bamboo in a traditional soil and pot arrangement, or put the shoots in a glass bowl with marbles and water and it will thrive just as well. If you do plant your bamboo in water however, make sure that the water does not dry out, as this spells distress for your bamboo plant.
The rubber plant, with it’s deep green or burgundy colored leaves and tolerance for low light can make an excellent office plant, and one of the most beautiful in my opinion. Rubber plants like to grow extensive root systems though, and can easily become pot bound. Make sure to keep your rubber plant trimmed or in a large enough pot to accommodate it’s growth. If you let it, a small rubber plant can grow into a two or three foot plant within a couple of years.
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The Peace Lily is one of the few flowering plants that tolerates low light well, making it a perfect and attractive choice for an office plant. Peace Lilies also help cleanse Benzene from the air, as well as replenishing oxygen.
With its distinct three-pointed leaves, English Ivy is a creeping vine that does very well in small pots with relatively little sunlight. Ivy also helps cleanse the air of Benzene, a toxic chemical emitted by paints, glues and plastics. I personally love my English Ivy, after a year at my current office it’s the only original office plant still alive, what a survivor! (Pity my plants). Ivy does tend to attract dust however, so every once in a while treat it to a spray
Take Care with Watering
Many office plants die not from lack of, but from a dearth of water. Over-watering causes the leaves of the plant to turn yellow, and then fall off as a prelude to an ugly plant death. Try not to worry so much about your plant, watering it about once a week should do it, except in the case of succulents and cacti, which like to be watered about once a month. Also make sure that your office plants have good drainage, otherwise the moisture can cause the roots to rot.
Is Your Office Plant’s Home too Small?
Sometimes office plants actually thrive, and may begin to outgrow their original homes. When plants become pot bound they can start to look listless, and leaves may begin to turn yellow and fall off. You don’t want to transfer your plant frequently, as each time you do so the plant goes into shock, but if you suspect your plant may be pot bound then transferring it to a bigger home may help the plant to continue to thrive. Make sure to also prune your office plants regularly!
An office plant may not be as cuddly as a dog, but at least plants can bring life into an often grey and dreary work environment.
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