Looking for the best plants for the office? You can increase your productivity – and boost your overall health – by growing some of these most popular options.
Whether you’re working from a home office (and if you’re looking to revamp your home office space you can check out our fab DIY ideas here) or you spend your day in a large shared office space, workplaces with plants tend to be much healthier, more enjoyable places to be.
Unfortunately, not all plants thrive in an office setting – keep in mind that the lighting here tends to be much different than what you’d find outdoors or even in a home environment and you may not be as diligent about watering and fertilizing your desktop plants, either.
Therefore, you’ll want to select plants that require minimal maintenance, handle low light conditions, and thrive in the warmth. Here are some of your best options.
20 Best Plants for the Office
1. Rubber Plants
Rubber tree plants offer a pop of color in the workplace. You can find them in all shades, from green to purple and even variegated. They require a fair bit of light but when given it, will grow quite tall, with broad, textured leaves. They require weekly watering yet are otherwise quite low maintenance.
Aloe – it’s not just for treating sunburns. Aloe plants look great in offices because they thrive under the supervision of the forgetful gardener. They require minimal water and look attractive on any desk space. They appear to have sharp teeth, but don’t worry – these spines are harmless. The one caveat to growing aloe that you do need to pay attention to is its need for bright light. Put your succulent near a sunny window and you can more or less forget about it.
3. Peace Lilies
Peace lilies are perfect for busy workers. They can handle low to medium amounts of light and require watering just once per month. They do better than most other office plants when it comes to withstanding cold, dry conditions.
4. Snake Plants
Snake plants, or Sansevieria, are often referred to as mother-in-law’s tongue. These plants grow long after the owner has already passed, living decades or more. Choose a cultivar that grows in a dwarf fashion, as there are some snake plants that can grow to several feet in height. Some good options include ‘Whitney’ or ‘Futura Superba.’ They require minimal attention – just the occasional drink of water.
5. ZZ Plants
ZZ plants, also known as Zamioculcas zamiifolia, are succulents that tolerate low light and minimal water. Native to Africa, you can easily grow these office plants under fluorescent bulbs.
6. English Ivy
English ivy is a trailing plant that looks attractive among the harsh lines of a desk. These plants require average amounts of water and light to thrive. Good options to grow include ‘Curly Locks,’ which has ruffled, elegant-looking foliage, and ‘Silver Dollar,’ a silver-variegated option. If your ivy’s tendrils grow too long, you can always wrap them around a trellis to keep them contained.
Aglaonema has gorgeous variegated leaves with white and green speckles. This attractive plant requires watering just once a week and is easy to care for.
8. Neon Pothos
This hanging plant is ideal for a low-traffic area like a corner or above a filing cabinet. These plants add a pop of green color to the most dismal setting and are incredibly resilient. They require just once-a-week watering and can handle low light with ease.
9. Lucky Bamboo
Lucky bamboo is another great office plant. It isn’t actually in the bamboo family but is instead related to the corn plant. You can easily shape this plant into fun shapes like hearts or spirals. Left untrained, these shoots will grow more slowly and in a straighter fashion. The plants grow well in low light and can even be grown entirely in water.
Bonsai isn’t technically a plant but instead a style of growing plants that lends itself well to an office environment. Some bonsai plants can be finicky, requiring regular pruning, training, and fertilizing, but they offer a ton of interest and live a long time – they’ll get you through to retirement, that’s for sure!
11. Lady Palm
The lady palm, or Rhapis excelsa, is a good option for an office bathroom, thriving in low humidity and minimal lights. It is a wonderful plant when it comes to improving air quality, too.
12. Norfolk Island Pine
The Norfolk Island pine can survive indoors year-round. It will, of course, be larger than a typical houseplant – it’s a tree, after all. However, it grows slowly so you won’t have to prune it all that often.
13. Weeping Fig
Weeping figs, part of the ficus family, are attractive and also known to improve air quality. Be careful about too many drafts, as this plant is sensitive to a fluctuation in temperatures. Otherwise, they’re easy to care for with just occasional watering.
14. Jade Plant
The jade plant, Crassula ovata, is a succulent that thrives in low light conditions. It has dark green leaves and offers a subdued, attractive appearance.
15. Spider Plant
The spider plant is one that thrives in poor conditions. It can be grown on a desktop or as a hanging plant. It’s able to endure all kinds of air pollutants, from carbon monoxide to formaldehyde, making it a good choice in an industrial office. It is perhaps best known, however, for its offspring hand-me-down shoots that give them a unique “spider”-like appearance and can be used to propagate new plants.
The philodendron is another excellent option for an office. A carefree plant that can tolerate an office space that is flooded with light just as well as it can a shadier environment, it has a trailing habit and glossy green leaves. It Grows well in a hanging basket and requires regular moisture to stay alive.
17. African Violet
African violets are also known as being incredibly easy to grow. They thrive in average temperatures and humidity, requiring just a bit of light to grow. You can easily grow them in a north- or east-facing window and they’ll grow well. Most African violets only reach six inches in diameter or so, making them a good choice for people with limited desk space, too.
Also known as an air plant, Tillandsia can be affixed to a piece of driftwood with a small bit of fishing line. You can also fill up a miniature terrarium with air plants or arrange them in a container for a unique appearance.
Why are Tillandsia plants known as air plants? They grow without soil – seemingly in midair. They are epiphytes that generally grow among shade trees so they also require minimal light. You can find all kinds of Tillandsia species with rosy, green, or silver foliage. Just mist your plants about once or twice per week.
19. Rex Begonia
Most begonias thrive in the warm office environment, but the Rex begonia offers some of the most spectacular foliage. There are dozens of cultivars you can choose from, with speckled, veined, and swirling patterns in green, red, silver, and purple. Some good options include ‘Marmaduke’ and ‘Stained Glass.’ Although they thrive in low light, they do need ample humidity in order to survive.
Also known as the wood sorrel, the oxalis is a houseplant that offers a splash of color in the office. They look like shamrocks and are colorful regardless of whether they are in bloom. One good option to consider growing is ‘Zinfandel,’ which does well in low humidity and has dark burgundy foliage.
Tips for Selecting and Growing Office Plants
When selecting office plants for a shared workspace, take the time to get some feedback from your coworkers about the types of plants they might like to see growing. After all, you might be asking them to care for the plants from time to time, too – so choosing specimens that everyone loves is a smart choice.
Otherwise, if you have minimal light in your workspace, consider rotating them into and out of what little natural light you have. Even low-light plants will benefit from a bit of indirect sunlight every now and then. Don’t forget to mist and water your plants regularly, too, which will help keep humidity levels where they need to be.
Ultimately, know that growing ice plants is a great way to boost workplace morale and to make you (and your coworkers or employees) significantly more productive. Consider these 20 best plants for the office – and care for yourself in addition to your plants.