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Choosing the Perfect Office Plant

5 MINUTE READ | October 25, 2016

Choosing the Perfect Office Plant

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Abby Long

Abby is PMG’s senior managing editor, where she leads the company’s editorial program and manages the PMG Blog and Insights Hub. As a writer, editor, and marketing communications strategist with nearly a decade of experience, Abby's work in showcasing PMG’s unique expertise through POVs, research reports, and thought leadership regularly informs business strategy and media investments for some of the most iconic brands in the world. Named among the AAF Dallas 32 Under 32, her expertise in advertising, media strategy, and consumer trends has been featured in Ad Age, Business Insider, and Digiday.

Colder weather is rapidly approaching and with it comes bitter temperatures and dreary days, but I think I have the perfect way to give your workspace a pick-me-up. What better way to boost your spirits and office decorum than by investing in an office plant?

Adding an office plant can boost your productivity, health and offers a great way to bring life to your workspace. Before you run off to the local nursery, be sure to consider these things before you invest in an office plant. These aren’t meant to discourage you from choosing the office plant of your dreams but can ensure that you, your coworkers, and the plant is well cared for.

Before you purchase a plant, the most important thing to consider is the amount of light available to your workspace.  If your desk doesn’t receive much natural light then certain succulents or cacti may not be for you. Luckily, some plants do just fine in low light offices and are great for beginners.

Next, it would be wise to consider your coworkers and their potential sensitivity to plants. Since most people suffer from pollen allergies, investing in a flowering plant may not be your best choice. To ensure that your plant isn’t causing any allergic reactions, it’s best to simply ask your coworkers if they have any plant allergies then plan your purchase accordingly.

Lastly, it’s important to think about the time you’d be willing to commit to your plant, and with that, ensuring you would be watering it the appropriate amount*. While a plant is nothing compared to a pet or similar commitments, if the majority of your work life is spent out of the office traveling, then a high-maintenance plant may not be the best for you.

Once you’ve assessed your situation, you are now ready to select the office plant of your dreams! (Yay!) Listed below are six plants I believe to be great additions for just about any workspace.

First, the Zz plant (zamioculcas zamiifolia) with its small glossy leaves is a perfect desk plant for a low or bright light office. These plants, like cacti, need less rather than more water and will display yellow leaves when they are being overwatered. For the best plant growth, it’s recommended for an individual to water the plant only when the soil has dried out. 

Zz plant

The Zz plant can handle a reasonable amount of neglect, making it a great office addition, especially during Holiday when things are busy. You can purchase a Zz plant at your local nursery, a home improvement store like Lowes or Home Depot, or online.

Next, the Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata), also known as Mother-in-law’s tongue, is a low maintenance succulent plant that’s wonderful for offices with indirect sunlight, especially during the winter months. Interestingly enough, the Snake plant is one of the most recommended plants for improving the air quality in a room. The Snake plant purifies the air by removing formaldehyde and nitrogen oxide, two chemicals that can be found in most modern offices. Snake plants, like the Zz plants, are popular enough houseplants, so they will be easy to find at your local nursery or online.

snake plant

If you are looking for a trendier addition to your office decorations, I would recommend lucky bamboo. Lucky bamboo is a low maintenance plant that is ideal for any office that has bright, but indirect light (its leaves will burn in direct sunlight). Lucky bamboo can grow in a container of water or in a ceramic pot with soil, it’s up to you to decide. If you choose the first option, the water should be changed about once a week and a clear container will work great, so the plant, roots, and (optional) pebbles are visible.

Photo of lucky bamboo

Another contemporary option for your office space is air plants (Tillandsia). Air plants are easy to care for because they don’t have roots, naturally growing on shifting desert soil. The Tillandsia species are low-maintenance plants and can be a fun workspace enhancement.

Photo of air plants

There are a variety of air plants to choose from, so be sure to do your research or ask a nursery worker or expert what the best air plant would be for your lighting situation. Air plants are best watered by being misted with the frequency depending on the season. Since air plants are a popular addition to apartments and modern living spaces, they should be relatively easy to purchase, but if they prove difficult to find, be sure to check Amazon or other online stores.

Finally, one of my personal favorites, the pothos plant. Pothos come in many varieties and are low maintenance; being able to tolerate a moderate amount of neglect. These plants handle low light really well, making them a great office plant for beginners.

Photo of pothos plant

All of these plants are low maintenance and great choices for a beginner. One bit of advice: The leading cause of office plant death is overwatering, so please be sure to maintain a watering schedule that’s consistent with the plant’s needs in order to maintain optimal plant health.

The best of luck to you with your new office plant!

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