5 of the best low maintenance plants to brighten your workspace
Submitted by Catrin Fox on
Have you ever considered adding a little greenery to your London office? Plants certainly brighten up workplace environments and they have many unexpected health and wellbeing benefits, too.
For instance in 2014, psychologist Dr Chris Knight concluded a 10-year study into the health benefits of plants in the office, and concluded that employees were 15% more productive when working in an environment that contained a few houseplants. The study found that the presence of plants helped employees actively engage with their surroundings and therefore work more productively.
Environmental psychologist Judith Heerwagen (PhD) has researched and written many studies focusing on biophilia and the connection between plants and employee wellbeing.
In this whitepaper for Haworth she notes:
“Indoor plants are common in many workplaces as aesthetic and psychological enhancers. Researchers in Norway found that plants also had physiological benefits. The field experiment in an office environment found that workers who had a cluster of plants near their desk showed a decrease in neuro-physiological symptoms (with the greatest decrease in fatigue) and a decrease in mucous membrane symptoms when the plants were present (Fjeld et al. 1998).”
Furthermore, in this article for Work Design Magazine that draws on a joint study* published in 2003, Heerwagen identifies the benefits of plants and greenery even if they are only seen through a window. She notes that people in offices with vegetation, compared to those without, are more likely to experience the following positive outcomes:
- Psychological and physiological stress reduction
- More positively toned moods
- Increased ability to re-focus attention
- Mental restoration and reduced mental fatigue
- Improved performance on cognitive tasks
- Reduced pain perceptions in health care settings
* Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life (Kellert, Heewagen and Mador, 2003)
There’s something wonderfully relaxing about the sight and presence of plants, which becomes much more noticeable when you’re working from a busy London office.
But not all of us are born with green fingers.
If you’re more likely to kill your office plant before you have a chance to see it bloom, you need an easy, low-maintenance plant that can thrive in potentially dry indoor spaces.
Here are 5 recommended easy-going and hard-to-kill varieties that will look beautiful on your desk:
- Devil’s Ivy: This tropical plant has rich, shiny green leaves with beautiful markings, and it’s renowned for its ability to purify indoor air. Its long tendrils mean it can either hang from a pot or climb, and it’s easy to maintain -- although as a climber it can get out of control, so keep an eye on its growth. As an added bonus, it’s commonly known as a ‘Money Plant’ and some cultures believe it to be a token of luck, too. Read more about Devil’s Ivy here.
- Aloe Vera: Perfect for warm sunny corners and windowsills, Aloe Vera is a spiky-looking plant that’s known as a ‘succulent’. They grow well, thrive in hot dry conditions and need little attention. What’s more, the chunky leaves are filled with gel that has many health benefits. Read up on how to care for Aloe Vera plants here.
- Weeping Fig: Also known as Ficus Benjamina, the ‘weeping fig’ is an attractive tree-like potted plant that’s native to the tropical forests of Southeast Asia. It generally grows slowly and requires light watering and a mild indoor environment. It looks fantastic in a bright colourful pot and adds a striking design feature to office corners. Read more here.
- Peace Lily: Surprisingly easy to care for, Peace Lilies are a popular choice of indoor plant and their delicate white blooms and dark shiny leaves provide a striking addition to offices. They thrive in medium to low light and benefit from under-watering, which is handy if you tend to neglect your gardening duties. Peace lilies have air purifying benefits and you can help it process sunlight more efficiently by wiping down the leaves with a damp cloth once or twice a year. Read more about peace lilies here.
- Dracaena: Tough and easy to maintain, Dracaenas help to eliminate pollutants and make a fantastic focal point in your office space. There are dozens of different varieties ranging from small potted plants to huge towering specimens -- perfect for natural screens or making a statement in an empty corner. Read more on choosing and maintaining Dracaenas here.