Returning to the office? These are the houseplants to take along
By Hannah Stephenson, PA
Hannah Stephenson looks at the easiest indoor plants to keep on your desk, and how they can bolster wellbeing.
So, returning to the office may take you away from the garden or balcony you have nurtured for the last 18 months – but you can always take some houseplants with you, to bring some sunshine into your working space.
“The key with office plants is to opt for something low-maintenance,” says former investment banker James Folger, who found sanctity in nature to help him deal with work stress and later founded online garden centre The Stem (thestem.co.uk).
What to consider
“Plant-care should be fun and not too stressful, so it’s a good start to work with something that is virtually un-killable – we don’t want anything to detract from our day-to-day working life,” says Folger.
“Secondly, check the levels of light in the office. Some of us may be lucky enough to work in glorious light-filled spaces, but if this is not the case then think about plants that are able to thrive in low-light.
“Thirdly, air-purifying plants are a wonderful way to get the mind working, taking out nasties from the air and slowly releasing oxygen back into the atmosphere – great for keeping your workspace fresh, with studies showing it could impact productivity too.”
So, which plants does Folger recommend for your desk and office?
1. Snake plant
Sansevieria Laurentii is a classic snake plant, with piercing sword-shaped leaves with a green base layer and margins of cream and yellow. As with other snake plants, these succulents are extremely easy to look after, are experts at purifying the air and can also tolerate low light conditions, making them one of the best plants for beginners or stress-free plant parenting, he says.
2. Aloe vera
The aloe vera is a world renowned succulent, known for its magical healing abilities. Its water-storing leaves means it won’t need watering very often. As long as it is kept in a sunny spot and not overwatered, it is really easy to look after. The green, fleshy leaves will not only look great on your desk but their air-purifying qualities remove the pollutants benzene and formaldehyde from the air, keeping your workspace fresh.
3. Rubber plant
The rubber plant is a very popular indoor plant, with dark, glossy-green, oval-shaped leaves that form from a woody trunk and make great desk ornaments.
4. Moth orchid
A few pops of colour and some architectural additions will add interest to your workspace, adding vibrancy to the office. The flowers can bloom for up to a year and are easy to care for. They’ll even love the office kitchen, for a bit of cheer when you’re making a morning cuppa.
5. Golden pothos
Spruce up that filing cabinet or shelf with something petite that trails, such as the golden pothos – a perfect candidate for indoor trailing, climbing or hanging, to bring a lush tropical feel to an office. It’s also super hardy and if you give it a few hours of sunlight, its leaves will become more variegated with streaks of colour. Generally though, keep it in indirect light and let the soil dry out between watering. This is a great option for those wanting air purification properties.
6. The Chinese money plant
This has plate-like leaves spinning on bouncy stems – a really stunning-looking plant that can handle humidity too. It’s perfectly proportioned for a windowsill or side table. What’s more, according to feng shui experts, Chinese money plants are said to bring luck, money and prosperity to the owner.
“The ultimate office combination would be air-purifying and architectural, to create a focal point for the room, and extra hardy, to cope with aircon and those more tactile office workers that swing by,” says Folger.
Most offices buy standing plants, but if you have the luxury of that extra space, then why not go big? The Aralia Fabian is an indoor tree with large, glossy, plate-shaped, green leaves spanning its woody trunk and stems.
Alternatively, consider the Aralia Ming, an indoor dwarf tree with soft feathery and bright green foliage covering its woody trunk and stems. It symbolises peace, harmony and balance.
The Kentia palm is a stunning and air-purifying addition to your working space, with luscious green tall stems and long, glossy, green leaves that fan out to make a big impression. It is also one of the most versatile plants, ideal for removing pollutants from the air. The range of sizes available means you’ll find something to suit a desk or the floor beside it.