5 Office Plants That Can Spruce Up Your Workplace

| Employee Engagement


Did you know that having plants in your work environment can actually provide some pretty amazing benefits? Keep reading to learn more about the best office plants to help you reduce stress, clean the air, and increase productivity.

Adding plants into any kind of environment can have great advantages, but their effects on the workplace, in particular, are actually quite incredible.

In a recent study, psychologists found that “lean offices” — bare offices that are devoid of decor like pictures, souvenirs, and other things — are the “most toxic space” you can put a human into. They compared employees working in “lean offices” to be as miserable as ants in an empty jam jar.

At the same time, researchers also found that workers perform 15% better when household plants are present. If you are working in an environment where there is something to help you be psychologically engaged, you are simply happier — and work better.

Some of the direct benefits of adding plants to your workplace include:

  • Stress Reduction – There have been countless studies on the soothing effect of plants. Nature positively affects human beings, and interacting with plants can relieve psychological and physiological stress in that same way.

  • Increased Productivity – People who work in a space that includes plants have been found to generate 13% more ideas than those who work in a room without them.

  • Improved Air Quality – According to a study done by NASA, the presence of indoor plants can remove almost 90% of volatile organic compounds from the air, including formaldehyde and benzene.

And don’t overlook the importance of aesthetic appeal — that’s a big plus, too. Plants can give the impression of a healthy, nurturing company that can help things thrive. It makes for a more pleasing environment overall.

But, of course, different plants do better in different environments and require varying levels of care. Before you head out to your local nursery or garden center, make sure that you understand your office’s needs and what kind of plants are best suited to it.

To help, we rounded up five of the best office plants, with some tips for growing and general upkeep:

1. Devil’s Ivy

Also known as Golden Pothos, Devil’s Ivy is a versatile and fast-growing vine. This trailing plant can reach eight feet in length when grown indoors and produces green, heart-shaped foliage. Pot it and place it on top of a bookcase or in a hanging planter attached to the ceiling.

Benefits: This plant has fantastic air-cleaning qualities. It can help remove pollutants such as benzene, carbon monoxide, and formaldehyde from your office.

Growing tips: Devil’s Ivy doesn’t need much upkeep — in fact, it thrives when left alone. Water it every week (or every other week in the winter) and watch it grow.

2. Snake Plant

The Snake Plant is often regarded as the perfect houseplant because it can survive for weeks without water and doesn’t require too much sunlight. There are a few variations of it, all of which have stiff, strong leaves that stand upright and have striking bold lines.

Benefits: Snake Plants are renowned for their air-purifying qualities. Not only do they help clean the air by filtering out toxic substances like formaldehyde and benzene, they also release oxygen at night.

Growing tips: Water once every two to six weeks, depending on the temperature, light, and humidity of your office.

3. Peace Lily

A tropical plant with green foliage and white flowers that resemble flags of peace, the Peace Lily is easy to care for and beautiful to look at. It has 40 different kinds of species, all varying in size from small to very large.>

Benefits: Like its name suggests, the Peace Lily’s white flowers can help encourage an atmosphere of calm in your workplace. This plant is also well known for breaking down and neutralizing toxic gases in the air.

Growing tips: These plants thrive in humid temperatures and indirect light, so try to keep yours away from drafts. It will begin to droop whenever it needs water and also recovers well, which makes upkeep a breeze for those without the greenest thumbs.

4. Lucky Bamboo

In Chinese culture, Lucky Bamboo (which is actually part of the lily family!) is believed to bring positive energy. The number of stalks that your plant has also has symbolic meaning: six, for example, is for prosperity.

Benefits: Lucky Bamboo represents the elements of wood, water, and earth in Feng Shui, and is thought to bring a sense of balance and well-being to the room it is in.

Growing tips: You can plant bamboo in water or in a container with stones. It’s possible to plant it in soil, but make sure it’s moist with adequate drainage, as it likes to sit in water. Change the water weekly for best results. Bamboo also prefers indirect sunlight, and thrives in both natural and artificial light — perfect for offices.

5. Cacti and Succulents

There are hundreds of different kinds of species of cacti and succulents. They are both low maintenance and unique looking, making them fantastic plants to bring into your workspace.

Benefits: There has been plenty of research done on the air purifying qualities of cacti and succulents. They can increase productivity by 12% by reducing carbon dioxide. Studies have shown that simply having them around can reduce blood pressure and improve memory retention. They also absorb electromagnetic fields — so place them beside your computer monitor.

Growing tips: Make sure that your plant is in a container that has good drainage. If you don’t have one, you can add gravel or stones on the bottom to help. Allow the soil to completely dry in between waterings.

What About Health Concerns?

Indeed, plants can bring so many benefits to the overall wellbeing of your office. But some of your colleagues may have concerns about possible issues that could arise — and it’s important to consider everyone when you’re introducing something new to your shared office space. Some potential hazards could include:

  • Allergies – Some people may be allergic to certain types of plants. And the severity of those allergies could range from sneezing to more serious reactions from touching the plant. Send out a survey to all employees in your office asking about any sensitivities, and then choose your plants carefully.

  • Pets – If you have a pet-friendly office, be aware of plant placement. There are many plants that are quite toxic to dogs and cats, and can cause serious discomfort and even damage to the animal if ingested. Put a protective barrier around your plants if there’s going to be any furry friends in the office, or just make sure that the plants are out of your pets’ reach.

How to Not Kill Your Office Plants

The most common cause of death for office plants is improper lighting and improper watering.

When adding plants to your workspace, make sure that you’ve done your research and understand the plants’ needs when it comes to upkeep.

The biggest mistake people make is overwatering and letting the roots sit in water — that’s the quickest way to kill your plants! Try watering them in the sink and letting the moisture run right through the plant. Alternatively, if the plant is placed in a saucer, discard any excess water that accumulates in the dish. As for frequency, generally a good test is just to touch the soil with your fingers. If the soil is dry, it’s most likely time for watering.

It’s safe to assume that — since you’re probably in an indoor office space — most of your plants will need to do well in low amounts of light. When purchasing your plants, ask questions about how much brightness it needs, as well as if it prefers natural light or can thrive under artificial light.

Download 50 Ways to Improve Your Office Environment

Check out 50 Ways to Improve Your Office Environment for more tips on how to enhance your surroundings at work. And, if you’re looking for further advice on employee engagement, just reach out to learn more about our team building and training services.


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Cynthia Naughton
Cynthia Naughton
5 years ago

SandsPoint Capital Advisors LLC

Sofia Sharp
2 years ago

I just like the helpful information you provide in your articles