Way back in the day the rental of office plants was simply to "make the office look nice". Post pandemic things have moved on.....health and well-being, both physical and mental are now playing a huge part in office design with the emphasis being on Biophilia - connecting people with nature and subsequently its benefits.
Where to begin?
You don't need 100s of plants in the workplace to feel the tangible benefits, small table top or desk plants on each of the desks can make all the difference and really are a good introduction into the world of biophilia. We've given a short guide below as to what may work in your office environment
We have picked our top 10 plants that make great additions to your desk at work and they won’t require you to take a degree in horticulture in order to look after them properly – bonus!
Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum), also known as Pothos (although that is actually a different plant) and is a type of evergreen vine. The leaves are large and sometimes heart-shaped and come in a wide variety of light and dark colours for the leaves.
This species adapts well to a variety of office conditions, from low light levels to brighter ones. This easy-to-care-for plant with heart-shaped white-splotched leaves makes a lovely addition sitting on a desk, shelf or table, and large specimens, trained around a pole or cane, look great in big pots on the floor.
Sometimes just called “aglos” or Chinese evergreens, Aglaonema are popular because of the colour that the leaves can attain. While many are deep green, they can also have traces of silver or red. The scientific name is derived from two Greek words; ‘aglaos’ meaning bright and ‘nama’ a filament or thread, referring to the striking stamens produced within the flowers. It is a popular plant with the Chinese, to whom it symbolizes long life (hence “Chinese evergreen")
Ficus benjamina, commonly known as the weeping fig, is a versatile plant which looks attractive as a stand alone specimen or as part of a mixed display.
Ficus benjamina grows wild in the tropical forests of India, Southeast Asia and Northern Australia and derives its name from an Indian acme Ben-ja. Young plants often develop from seeds lodged in the branches of other trees, soon producing aerial roots which reach down to the ground. Cold drafts from windows or doors will harm them, so make sure to place them somewhere where drafts will not be an issue.
Commonly abbreviated to the ZZ plant, its complicated-to-pronounce name isn’t indicative of how hard they are to maintain. Their fat stalks and bulging roots store a huge amount of water, meaning you don’t have to search around the office for a watering can every day.
A favourite for people who are guilty of killing their plants, the ZZ can also tolerate prolonged periods of low light. This makes it the perfect candidate for a desk plant since winter periods can be quite dark. You might think this all sounds great, but it gets better – It needs little in the way of fertilizer and gets very few pests
Perfect for reception areas or dotted along corridors, Bromeliads may require a bit more maintenance at first in order to bloom – they are notorious for taking their time – but once they bloom, aside from the odd watering, they require very little care.
One of the main reasons for this is that they don’t require much fertiliser, meaning all you need is water and someone to look at them once in a while. With their striking colours and beautiful blooms, this won’t be hard
Philodendrons have been a mainstay as indoor plants since their discovery in the late 1800s in South America. The Imperial Green is a man-made hybrid with large, lush, deep-green leaves with a glossy coating and can maintain this sleek appearance in the shade.
Preferring a low humidity and temperatures of around 18-20 C, they are ideal for offices as they can be used as part of a large display in the corner of the office, either with other Imperial Green’s or other different plants, giving your office a lush, tropical feel.
(Spathiphyllum) Peace lilies have very wide, broad, deep green leaves and grow beautiful white flowers that have given them their common name. They are popular because they don’t need a lot of light, they are also forgiving of occasional over-watering as well.
Peace lily plants are also known for cleaning up the air, helping to remove toxins and create a nicer environment to work in. It’s tolerant of low light and is a vigorous grower too. These plants work well for focal interest and screening.
Dracaenas can be some of the toughest plants out there and is a great choice for eliminating pollutants. It’s easy to care for and makes a unique focal point or screening plant.
Dracaena cincta (sometimes called Dracaena marginata), for example, can survive in drought-like conditions and has a relentless root system which makes them tough to wilt – perfect for a neglected desk plant. Not only are they sturdy, but they look attractive on your desk top with their thin, often colourful leaves. For darker area, or where a statement is needed, Dracaena “Janet Craig”, with its bold, green foliage is ideal – tough and forgiving.
Known as “Mother-in-law’s tongue” or “Snake plant”, it is possibly one of the more sinister, devilish looking things in your office – depending on your co-workers – this plant can offer a much-needed visual stimulus to your workspace.
One of the top reasons why people tend to kill off their plants is due to the irregular care they provide to it. But the Sansevieria plant can last up to month without water, survive in low light but can be fully exposed to the sun for long periods
When all else fails, there’s the trusty cactus. Just be sure to keep it located where no one is likely to be reaching across your desk…
Commonly found in dry, harsh deserts, the cacti plant is probably one of the only plants that really does thrive on neglect. It can contain a huge amount of water enabling the plant to withstand even the most forgetful office workers. Cacti do prefer higher light, so if you are lucky enough to have a window desk they will thrive.