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The Best Plants for Your Office Desk


Selection of desk plants including a pilea plant and pothos plant.

Next to your home, you likely spend a significant chunk of your life in your office. While you’re busily checking tasks off your lengthy to-do list and handling your daily responsibilities with finesse, you probably don’t spend too much time focusing on your surroundings.

However, there’s something to be said for cultivating a working environment that’s not only neat and tidy but also decorative. Placing plants and framed photographs of loved ones on your desk or hanging meaningful artwork on your wall are just a few of the additions that can transform your space from cold and unfamiliar to warm and inviting.

It’s not just the “home away from home” mentality that makes this so important. Studies have found that decorating your workspace can give you a mental boost. Just glancing at your surroundings and spotting items that are familiar and homey can bring about feelings of ease and tranquility. In the middle of a tiresome or stressful workday, when you may not even realize that you could benefit from taking a quick breather, something as small and seemingly insignificant as sitting back and taking in the beauty of your office could make all the difference.

In the same way that your decorative objects bring some serenity to your day, they can also increase your productivity. The two go hand in hand. You’re more likely to stay focused and feel energized when you’re happy in your environment. The sight of your favorite plant perched in the corner of your desk can work wonders, as can the loving image of your family celebrating a special occasion.

Ultimately, it’s all about putting a personal touch on your workspace — and that applies whether you work from a home office or in a commercial building. If you’re thinking of upgrading your office with a few plants, however, you need to be certain that they’ll actually thrive.

The last thing you want to do is invite a plant with high-maintenance needs into your working world. Save that for your gardening pursuits at home. The idea here is to incorporate plants that are effortless to maintain and easy on the eyes. Here are some ideas to consider.

Low-Maintenance Plants for the Office

ZZ Plants

The ZZ plant is something of a social media darling. But why exactly are people so obsessed with this eye-catching greenery? The simple answer: It’s incredibly easy to maintain, even for those who can’t brag about having a green thumb. The beginner-friendly plant is known for its ability to thrive in nearly any environment, whether it’s set in a low-light office or a brighter space. It prefers the latter, but you won’t do any damage to your ZZ plant if your desk isn’t drenched in sunlight.

What’s more, ZZ plants require very little water. That means you can basically place it in your office and forget about it for a month at a time. The Charleston is a great example of a ZZ plant with enduring style — perched on your desk, it adds a touch of charm and natural beauty to your work environment. Watering the soil every four weeks is usually more than enough to keep the plant happy and upright. But if its leaves begin to wilt or fall off, don’t panic. Another advantage of this hardy plant is that it’s capable of bouncing right back. All you have to do is water it at the first sign of a change.

Air Plants

Light and carefree, the air plant is among the most casual and easygoing plants out there. Think of this as the plant you didn’t know that you needed. It doesn’t require soil to thrive because it’s an epiphyte — essentially defined as an “air plant” because it doesn’t have any contact with the ground. Instead, they grow on top of trees and take everything they need, from moisture to nutrients, from their surroundings. The air and rainwater are more than enough to provide air plants with their nourishment.

The Babar is an eye-catching accent that adds a gilded touch to your desktop. The plant handles itself beautifully under nearly any conditions, whether your desk receives low light or vibrant sunshine. Just make sure that the lighting is indirect to prevent the leaves from scalding. While there’s no soil, you should dunk the entire plant in water at least once every 10 days for a couple of hours at a time. This is one of those “set it and forget it” tasks you can do while you run into a meeting or have a video conference at home.

Jade Plants

A work environment is always a great place to incorporate a good luck charm or two. Why not make it the jade plant? This humbly beautiful succulent is an evergreen beauty that requires minimal care to look its best. It boasts fleshy leaves in the shape of delicate ovals, with miniature woody stems that evoke the charm of a fairytale wonderland. As with all succulents, the key to maintaining the jade plant is to monitor its moisture intake. Too much water leaves it vulnerable to disease and eventual failure, so aim for a happy medium.

In general, it’s better for the soil to be more dry. Make sure to position your jade plant in an area of your desk that receives adequate sunlight. Jades just love all that vibrant sunshine and benefit from at least six hours of exposure to indirect light. The Louie is a lovely desktop companion, not only for the good fortune it’s said to bring but also for the handsome blue ceramic pot in which it’s nestled. Take note that if you work in a pet-friendly office or are a pet owner with a home office, this plant is toxic to animals.

Snake Plants

Office life, meet the snake plant. If ever there was a plant made for the dim, flickering, fluorescent lights in the office and even the potentially dry air wafting through the building, it’s this warrior. The snake plant is one of those rare plants that handles everything with ease, whether it’s placed in its preferred indirect light or set in the shady corner of the desk in your home office.

Another plus is that it doesn’t require much watering. In fact, it’s generally better to allow your snake plant to dry out a bit. This is the key to ensuring that it thrives, as too much moisture will contribute to root rot and lead to unexpected failure. If you don’t possess even a semblance of a green thumb, a plant like The Quinn makes a welcome addition to your desktop. Its lean leaves lend an air of sophistication to your working environment.

Chinese Money Plants

Sprightly, coin-shaped leaves set the vibrant Chinese money plant apart from others. For all its lavish beauty and stylish presentation, however, this beauty doesn’t require much care or maintenance, making it another fantastic office companion. What’s the key to ensuring those glossy leaves continue to shine? Just make sure they get some bright and indirect light, but avoid harsh direct rays as that will scorch them.

A chic plant like The Claude should be watered about once a week, but inspect the soil before you do so. It should feel mostly dry, since too much moisture will ultimately cause the roots to rot and the plant to fail. In its fashionable ceramic pot, this particular plant makes a fabulous choice for livening up your workspace.

Whether you work at home or in an office building, you can easily transform your professional space into something that feels more personal and calming. Plants offer personality and style — and some have even been shown to purify the air. Those benefits, coupled with the sheer natural beauty they invite into an otherwise busy area of your world, make them perfect for decorating any office.

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