Home Office Plants – Growing Indoor Plants For Home Office Spaces

By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

If you work at home, you may want to use plants to liven upa bland workspace. Having living plants in your home office can make days morepleasant, boost your mood, and increase your productivity. Read on forsuggestions on home office plants to consider.

Indoor Plants for Home Offices

Choosing plants for workspaces in your home is similar tothat of any houseplant you have.

Consider growing conditions, such as available light andspace, when choosing houseplants for a home office. Generally, plantsfor workspaces are relatively compact, but in the home nearly anything goes.Most require little care and tolerate occasional neglect.

Here are a few suggestions for home office space plants.

  • Pothos (Epipremnum): A popularoffice plant for good reason. It’s a lovely, fast growing plant that cascadesgracefully from hangingbaskets or high shelves. Pothostolerates both shady corners and sunny windows. It likes to be watered everyfew days but will survive an occasional period of dryness.
  • English ivy (Hedera helix): Requiresvery little attention once the roots are established. Although Englishivy is good for cool, air conditioned offices and thrives in filteredbright light to low light, this woodlandplant doesn’t do as well with direct, intense sunlight or dramatictemperature swings.
  • ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia):This plant is enjoyed for its shiny, dark green leaves. Super hardy, it prefersmoderate to bright light but tolerates low light or fluorescent bulbs. Periodsof drought are also okay but, ideally, ZZplants should be watered when the top two inches (5 cm.) of potting mixfeel dry to the touch.
  • Snake plant (Sansevieria): Alsoknown as mother-in-law’s tongue, this is a distinctive plant with stiff,upright leaves. The plant can go a long time without water and, as a rule,monthly irrigation is plenty. Snakeplant, which tolerates both heat and air conditioning, is a good choice fora shady corner.
  • Rex begonia (Begonia rex cultorum):An exotic, colorful plant that is surprisingly easy to grow. Although you mayoccasionally be awarded with a pretty bloom, rexbegonia is valued for its interesting foliage. While it doesn’t appreciateintense light, it needs moderate or bright indirect light to bring out the boldcolors in the leaves. Water only when the soil feels dry to the touch.
  • Cactus: Cactus,as well as other succulentplants, is always one of the best office space plants. Choose from a hugerange of colors, forms, and sizes then water sparingly. Ensure the cactus getsplenty of direct sunlight.

These, of course, are merely suggestions. Depending on youravailable space, indoor conditions, and personal preferences, you could eveninclude a potted tree or other large floor plant, like citrus,rubbertree plant, parlorpalm and dracaena.

Tips on Growing Office Space Plants

If light is limited, you may want to invest in a smalldesktop grow light. (Some even plug into the USB port on your computer).

Most home office plants benefit from light feeding duringspring and summer. If you’re busy or forgetful, a slow-releasefertilizer will provide nutrients gradually for three months or more,depending on the type.

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How do office plants increase happiness and productivity?

Office greenery and workplace happiness and productivity go together because of our appreciation for nature, the power of attention stimuli, and—according to one thought leader—the “friendships” we form with living things.

Indoor plants are stress-relievers

Biophilic design holds that natural environments evoke in humans a different response than urban environments. They give us a sense of being away feeling relaxed, tranquil, and simply existing. And when introduced to sterile environments, natural elements can help in mental recovery and stress relief.

In an extensive literature review, Kaitlyn Gillis and Birgitta Gatersleben of the UK’s University of Sussex link indoor plants to stress reduction and pain tolerance. “Plants have the ability to directly bring green, living nature into the indoor environment,” their report states. “Psychological studies have demonstrated the health and wellbeing benefits of placing plants inside.”

The researchers cite a handful of studies, including breakthrough research by Roger Ulrich in 1991 that found hospital patients with views of the outdoors require less pain medication than those who are unable to connect with nature.

WeWork Ocean Gate Minatomirai in Yokohama.

Office greenery helps ‘replenish’ our attention capacity

Researchers from the University of Michigan suggest urban environments are brimming with “dramatic stimuli,” or distractions that require urgent, directed attention to avoid, say, being hit by a bus. Certainly, receiving an urgent request or an email that requires an immediate reply is less dramatic than being hit by a bus, but the stimuli is similarly immediate and “top-down.”

This is different in nature, which is “filled with intriguing stimuli that modestly grabs attention in a bottom-up fashion,” the researchers say, adding natural environments can help “replenish” our capacity for attention and focus. Something as simple as viewing pictures of nature can make a difference, the researchers found imagine what a wall garden might achieve?

Office plants can double as ‘friends’

Taking the stage at a TEDxWhiteRock thought-leadership conference, Canadian engineer Mike Robinson shared a novel approach that uses desk plants to boost employees’ personal accountability. Instead of simply giving each employee a desk plant or dressing the office in greenery, Robinson asked his team to choose their desk plants and make their decisions based on the feelings of the plant.

“So you have to put yourself in the spot of the plant, as it were, and say, ‘Which person do I want to be my new friend?'” he says. This encourages ownership and heightens a sense of accountability. The results? Robinson’s empirical observations suggest employees are working more efficiently since choosing their “plant friend,” and he says no plant has died in five years.

WeWork 383 George St in Sydney.

Indoor plants don’t purify the air, but the perception is there

Though many articles (and plant retailers) suggest the benefits of indoor plants extend to “purifying the air,” this is likely not the case in a standard office.

These claims are based on 1989 research by NASA scientist Bill Wolverton that did declare plants to be a “promising economic solution to indoor air pollution.” However, this experiment was conducted in an airtight laboratory with the aim of determining whether plants would benefit humans in closed environments in space.

“It’s such an alluring and enticing idea,” Elliott Gall at Portland State University tells The Atlantic. “But the scientific literature shows that indoor houseplants—as would be typically implemented—do very little to clean the air.”

The perception of air quality improves with office greenery, however. And perhaps in workplaces—where employees should feel happy, energized, and engaged—that’s also an important result.

Where to buy home office plants online

Patch Plants have a great range of indoor and outdoor plants, and while more pricey than your average garden centre, the plants are amusingly given human names like Ben and Susie. Their specific qualities, needs and caring instructions are listed.

Bunches may not be as well known as Patch nor is their selection of house plants as vast, but the plants are generally cheaper and come in beautiful pots, so no need to spend extra on the planters.

The Nunhead Gardener is a dreamy urban jungle and its two shops in south London are a must-visit for any local resident.

Good old IKEA has a strong selection of plants, flowers, pots and growing accessories.

Freddie's Flowers are a nationwide flower delivery service. Each box of flowers, which you assemble yourself (very therapeutic!) costs £25 and lasts for around two to three weeks - not bad value at all.

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Watch the video: Biophilia Expert Explains How to Pick the Right Office Plants. WSJ

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