Office Plants: Why They Shouldn’t Be an Afterthought

You’re a business owner, not a gardener, so why should you bother with office plants? It might seem like an unnecessary decoration, but an indoor office plant can have a powerful effect on your workforce.


Plants bring a little bit of nature into your office, which can boost the mood in the workplace. Learn more about how plants help, what types of plants to choose and how to integrate them into the workplace.


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Benefits of office plants

Office plants do more than look pretty. They can make your employees happier and more productive. Explore these benefits of office plants.


Stress reduction

Helping your employees manage stress can improve productivity and reduce employee burnout. Since indoor plants for office spaces can lower stress, it’s an easy way to help. Plants won’t overcome massive stress in high-pressure situations, but they can help lower anxiety, tension and other feelings of stress.


Lower stress levels could be due to the connection to nature, which often makes people relax. Office plants bring a bit of that relaxation to an otherwise stark environment. According to color psychology principles, green is a soothing, calming color, which could help with stress levels.


Improved productivity

Having office plants at work might improve productivity for your employees. Lower stress levels due to the plants can help increase productivity. Employees who feel happy and aren’t dealing with a lot of stress can focus better on their work. The scents of some plants might also stimulate employees and help them focus better, and the more attractive work environment might help with productivity. Working in a pretty place can be motivating to many people.


Increased comfort

Plants can help control humidity in the office. Moisture-loving plants can help lower humidity in damp office environments. Other plants, like spider plants, add moisture to the air, which can make dry office environments more comfortable. Research moisture requirements to find a plant that best suits your office environment.


Happier employees

For many people, seeing plants makes them feel happier. Whether it’s the improved aesthetics or connection to nature, the mood boost can help around the office. High employee morale helps keep your employees productive and might encourage them to stay with your company longer. 


Attractive spaces

Plants add a decorative touch to the office that can have an impact on your clients. When clients visit, the inviting addition of plants makes them feel welcome. An attractive office space can improve the impression clients have of your company. 


The plants might also appeal to job candidates when they show up for interviews. The job itself might be the most important thing, but an attractive workspace could play into the decision when you offer someone a job. Making the office look better can be a simple recruiting strategy. Greenery in the office also shows candidates that there’s enough light to keep plants alive, which means they’ll also get to work in a bright area.


Better workplace acoustics

Shared office spaces can facilitate collaboration, but they also allow voices, tapping and all other sounds to reverberate through the space. Normal office noises can be distracting to employees. Office plants can help soak up some of the sound to make the space a little quieter. Large potted plants tend to have the most impact on office acoustics. 


Boost in creativity

Stimulating the senses can help boost creativity. Plants can be just the natural stimulant your employees need when they hit a creative block. The little touch of nature can be enough to spark creativity. Plants with a scent can also help stimulate the senses and help improve creativity.


Types of office plants to choose

Most plants offer similar benefits for the office, but some are better suited than others to office life. Finding the best office plants for your office environment helps them thrive and makes them more beneficial for your employees. Try these plants for the office:


  • Snake plants: This easy-care plant doesn’t need to be watered often, and it survives in very low-light situations. This makes it ideal for the dimmest spaces in your office. They can handle heat and air conditioning, which makes them versatile.
  • Spider plants: These durable plants can handle exposure to things like formaldehyde and carbon monoxide, making them suitable for almost any environment. You can hang spider plants, which makes them ideal if you don’t have much floor or desk space.
  • Succulents: If you have a sunny windowsill, succulents can add color to the office. They’re available in a variety of shapes, colors and styles to add creativity to the workplace. Succulents typically love sunlight, but they don’t need to be watered often, which makes them easy to maintain.
  • Pothos: This plant option is particularly well-suited to living indoors. The large, green leaves make a showy addition to the office.
  • Peace lily: Another easy-care plant, peace lilies do well in low-light situations, especially in the spring and summer. If you can find a bright spot with indirect light in the fall and winter, the peace lily will often reward you with more blooms. 
  • ZZ plants: The ZZ plant is another plant type that’s ideal for low-light offices or cubicles without windows. They’re drought-tolerant, so they’re perfect in low-humidity spaces. The waxy green leaves add an attractive touch to the space.
  • Nerve plant: If office space is limited, the nerve plant could be a good match. The plant stays small but has pretty leaves with attractive veining. It can grow in anything from low light to bright, indirect light. If you can find a bright spot for the nerve plant, you’ll notice brighter colors on the leaves.
  • Chinese evergreen: A versatile indoor plant option, the Chinese evergreen can thrive in both low-light situations and indirect bright light. It only needs to be watered about once per week, so it doesn’t need constant attention.
  • Bird’s nest fern: Many fern types work well in office settings, but the bird’s nest fern has a unique, tropical look with its ruffled-looking fronds. It’s another versatile option that can grow in both low-light and bright, indirect light locations. You’ll only need to water it every week or two.
  • Philodendron: This office plant has glossy, green leaves that add a pretty touch. Since it’s a trailing plant, it works well in hanging baskets, which frees up space on your floor or desk. You can also use a trellis or pole to train it to grow up. It grows in a variety of light conditions.
  • Air plants: Another small option for the office is an air plant. These small plants grow without soil and only require a weekly misting, which reduces mess and makes them easy to maintain. You can grow them in a terrarium or a variety of other containers for a unique display.
  • Lucky bamboo: Ideal for low-light situations, lucky bamboo adds a unique look to the office. Many lucky bamboo plants are trained to grow in spirals, woven patterns or other unique designs. It’s also possible to get lucky bamboo plants that grow in water instead of soil.
  • Red aglaonema: If you want something that looks unique, the red aglaonema is a good contender. The leaves come to sharp points and have a reddish-pink tint, along with pink stems, for a colorful addition to the office. While it grows in low-light conditions, the colors become brighter when the plant has a bright spot.
  • Rubber plant: Rubber plants are relatively low-maintenance. They have large, waxy leaves, which make an attractive display. The large, sturdy leaves are also easy to dust when needed, and they hold lots of water, which means the plant can endure some dry periods if you occasionally forget to water it. While they can grow in lower-light offices, they’re best in moderate to bright indirect sunlight.

Tips for having plants in the office

Indoor plants for office spaces take some work. Here are tips to help you manage office plants:


  • Pick plants carefully: In addition to the look and benefits of specific plants, consider the care requirements. Easy-care plants are ideal, especially since no one is usually around on the weekends for high-maintenance plants. Consider required light levels and the available light in the office to find a match.
  • Assign care tasks: Plants don’t take a lot of work, but you need someone to water them regularly. Assigning this task to a certain person ensures the plants don’t get too much or too little water. If your plant caretaker is on vacation, make sure to pick someone else to handle the care temporarily. Leaving written instructions near each plant makes it easier for someone else to step in.
  • Choose a prime spot: Most office plants love to soak up the sunshine, so find a spot near an office window. Others prefer indirect sunlight for optimal growth. Read the care instructions to find the perfect spot for office plants.
  • Make them visible: Another consideration when choosing a spot for plants is how well employees can see them. Keeping them highly visible lets your employees get the most benefits from the office plants.
  • Start small: Don’t buy an office plant for every corner of the workplace when you’re first starting. Get a few office plants that you love to get a feel for how it’ll go. Add a few more plants at a time to the spots that feel like they’re missing out on that natural touch.
  • Hang the plants: Small office spaces can make it more challenging to add plants. You don’t want to take up valuable floor or desk space if the plants will make them feel cluttered. Hanging plants offer an easy alternative that gives you all the benefits of office plants without taking up space.
  • Watch for temperature fluctuations: Placing plants near vents can cause extreme temperature fluctuations every time the heat or air conditioning turns on. Drafts from doors and windows can also affect the ideal temperature for your plants. Pay attention to those sources of temperature fluctuations to keep your plants healthy.
  • Control the size: If space is an issue, choose a plant that stays small naturally. Check the mature size of the plants you’re considering. Many plants can be pruned to keep them smaller. 
  • Repot your plants: As your office plants grow, you might need to repot them to give the roots more space. You might notice the roots growing out of the drainage holes or water running right through if the plant is rootbound and needs to be repotted.
  • Rotate your plants: Indoor plants tend to grow toward the sunlight. Rotating the pots occasionally helps the plant grow evenly instead of growing in one direction and looking lopsided.
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