Are you stuck in a gray, depressing cubicle while summer is in full swing just outside the office door? Lucky for you, there are several plants that are not only easy to maintain, but will actually thrive in the fluorescent-lit workplace. Check out our list of 9 low-maintenance plants that will enliven your space, clean the air, and tide you over until your next outdoor excursion.
In addition to mood-boosting colors and textures, it has been proven that indoor plants provide additional health benefits. Several varieties of indoor plants can actually purify the air by removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can be found all around the average office, from carpets and furnishings to solvents and ink. Indoor plants also contribute to good air quality by increasing humidity and absorbing carbon dioxide. Most of the following examples can be easily found at home improvement stores and nurseries, but if you can’t find one that strikes your fancy, there are many varieties now available for mail order online.
There are several classic indoor potted plants that most people will recognize from the workplace, schools, and the doctor’s office, and that’s probably because they’re so easy to grow! The best indoor plants are those that can thrive in low light, dry or dusty conditions and will bounce back if you forget to water them once in a while. Even though these plants are old standbys, you can still make them a fun part of your decor by putting them in a modern pot. Try decorating your own terracotta pots by dip-dying them in pastel paint or grabbing a marker and covering them in gold polka dots.
The Spider Plant (Chrolophytum comosum) sports vibrant green and white stripes, and looks especially nice in a hanging pot. Once the plant grows long stems with smaller spider plant clumps at the end, you can break off those plantlets and grow them in a new pot!
Snake Plant (Sanseveria trifasciata) is another forgiving indoor plant that will survive in almost any environment, even if you forget to water it for a while. Both the Snake Plant and the Spider Plant are very good at absorbing toxins from the air.
Pothos (Epipremnum aureum), is a hardy, attractive vine that will quickly grow beautiful, glossy green leaves to drape over shelves, cubicle walls, and file cabinets. You can trim the vines when they get too long, stick them in water for a few weeks until they grow roots, and then plant them in new pots; a.k.a. free plants for all your friends! The Pothos is easy to care for and can survive in very low light.
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum), are another classic indoor plant you’ll recognize from hotels, malls, and other places lacking windows. That’s because the Peace Lily thrives in indirect light and needs little water. In fact, overwatering can kill it.
There are also several unique greens that fall outside the traditional indoor plant category. All of these are just as easy to maintain and will thrive in a low-light indoor office environment.
Air plants like the Tillandsia are the ultimate easy-care plant. In fact, they don’t need soil at all. Air plants are one of the trendiest home decor plants these days, so you’ll find them just about everywhere from nurseries to boutiques, and they can be displayed in jars, on rocks, or mounted to driftwood and hung on the wall.
Water lettuce, (Pistia stratiotes) is another unusual plant that needs absolutely no soil. This aquatic plant looks lovely floating in a vase or jar, or even in an open dish with decorative stones.
Terrariums are another delightful option for a desktop or cubicle. You can use many types of containers to create your own terrarium, from mason jars to decorative glass vases. Add a layer of gravel, some soil, and a few clumps of moss and you’re good to go – you can even add tiny ferns or other plants that like moist conditions.
Finally, there are a few sun-loving plants that just might thrive in your office or right on top of your desk, provided you have enough light.
Succulents and Cacti
Succulents and cacti are fabulous low-care plants that require just a tad bit of water once per week, however they do need at least some daylight to survive. Try planting an assortment of fun succulents in upcycled or vintage containers as shown here.
Jade plant (Crassula ovata) is probably one of the most popular and hardiest succulents. This gorgeous green plant will survive in most environments and requires even less light than most succulents due to its dark green fleshy leaves. If a leaf breaks off a jade plant you can simply leave it in the pot, or replant it in fresh soil and a new plant will grow!