Plants can transform your workspace into a more peaceful, tranquil and engaging place, but if you’re not very green-thumbed, your nice new desk plant could suffer an early demise. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of the best plants for your desk.
Avoid getting stuck with a sad plant cemetery on your desk by choosing one of these air-cleaning, mood-boosting varieties that are also nearly impossible to kill.
What are the best plants for your desk?
We have picked our top 10 plants that make great additions to your desk at work and they won’t require you to take a degree in horticulture in order to look after them properly – bonus!
Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum), also known as Pothos (although that is actually a different plant) and is a type of evergreen vine. The leaves are large and sometimes heart-shaped and come in a wide variety of light and dark colors.
This species adapts well to a variety of office conditions, from low light levels to brighter ones. This easy-to-care-for plant with heart-shaped, white-splotched leaves makes a lovely addition sitting on a desk, shelf or table. Larger specimens, trained around a pole or cane, look great in big pots on the floor.
Sometimes just called “aglos” or Chinese evergreens, Aglaonema are popular because of the color of the leaves. While many develop deep green leaves, they can also have traces of silver or red. The scientific name is derived from two Greek words; ‘aglaos’ meaning bright and ‘nama’ a filament or thread, referring to the striking stamens produced within the flowers. It is a popular plant with the Chinese, to whom it symbolizes long life (hence “Chinese evergreen”).
Commonly knows as the weeping fig, Ficus benjamina is a versatile plant which looks attractive as a stand-alone specimen or as part of a mixed display.
Ficus benjamina grows wild in the tropical forests of India, Southeast Asia and Northern Australia and derives its name from an Indian acme Ben-ja. Young plants often develop from seeds lodged in the branches of other trees, soon producing aerial roots which reach down to the ground. Gradually the ficus surrounds the host trunk and in time fuse together to strangle the tree. Cold drafts from windows or doors will harm them, so make sure to place them somewhere where drafts will not be an issue.
Commonly abbreviated as the ZZ plant, its complicated-to-pronounce name isn’t indicative of how hard they are to maintain. Their fat stalks and bulging roots store a huge amount of water, which means you don’t have to search around the office for a watering can every day.
A favorite for people who are guilty of killing their plants, the ZZ plant can also tolerate prolonged periods of low light. This makes it the perfect candidate for a desk plant since the winter season can be quite dark. You might think this all sounds great, but it gets better. The ZZ plant needs little in the way of fertilizer and gets very few pests. It’s nearly a hassle-free plant!
Perfect for reception areas or dotted along corridors, Bromeliads may require a bit more maintenance at first in order to bloom, as they are notorious for taking their time. But once they bloom, aside from the occasional watering, they require very little care.
One of the main reasons for this is that they don’t require much fertilizer, meaning all you need is water and someone to look at them once in a while. With their striking colors and beautiful blooms, this won’t be hard.
Philodendrons have been a mainstay as indoor plants since their discovery in the late 1800s in South America. The Imperial Green is a man-made hybrid with large, lush, deep-green leaves. The leaves have a glossy coating and can maintain this sleek appearance in the shade.
Preferring low humidity and temperatures of around 65-68°F, they are ideal for offices as they can be used as part of a large display in the corner of the office, either with other Imperial Green’s or other plant species, giving your office a lush, tropical feel.
(Spathiphyllum) Peace lilies have very wide, broad, deep green leaves and grow beautiful white flowers that have given them their common name. They are popular because they don’t need a lot of light, plus, they are also forgiving of occasional over-watering.
Peace lily plants are also known for cleaning the air, helping to remove toxins and create a nicer environment in which to work. It’s tolerant of low light and a vigorous grower too. These plants work well for focal interest and screening.
Dracaenas can be some of the toughest plants out there and are a great choice for eliminating pollutants. They’re easy to care for and make a unique focal point or screening plant.
Dracaena cincta (sometimes called Dracaena marginata), for example, can survive in drought-like conditions and has a relentless root system which makes it difficult for them to wilt – perfect for a neglected desk plant. Not only are they sturdy, but they’re thin, often colorful leaves make an attractive addition to your desk. For darker areas, or where a statement is needed, Dracaena “Janet Craig”, with its bold, green foliage is ideal – tough and forgiving.
Known as “Mother-in-law’s tongue” or “Snake plant,” Sanseveria is possibly one of the more sinister, devilish-looking things in your office – depending on your co-workers – this plant can offer a much-needed visual stimulus to your workspace.
One of the top reasons people tend to kill off their plants is due to the irregular care they provide. Luckily, the Sansevieria plant can last up to a month without water and survive in low light. It can also be fully exposed to the sun for long periods.
When all else fails, there’s the trusty cactus. Just be sure to keep it located where no one is likely to be reaching across your desk…
Commonly found in dry, harsh deserts, the cacti plant is one of the only plants that actually thrive on neglect. It can contain a huge amount of water enabling the plant to withstand even the most forgetful office workers. Cacti do prefer higher light levels, so if you are lucky enough to have a window desk they will thrive.