We spend a good portion of our week/our year/our life in the office. The proof is in the numbers: A 2020 Gallup poll revealed that Americans work an average of 43.8 hours per week. For this reason alone, you should find small ways to add personality to your workspace, whether it’s a shared desk, cubicle or corner office. Filling empty space — a shelf, windowsill, corner of the desk or vacant floor space — with live greenery is an easy, fairly inexpensive way to infuse color and life into your corporate or home office.
That’s exactly why we’ve rounded up the best plants for the office — some small enough to fit on your desk, a few that will clean the air while you work, and several that make a bold statement in larger spaces. Since many office spaces offer low-light conditions (fluorescent lights, FTW), this list includes tons of tolerant, hard-to-kill plants that can survive with little sunlight, water and overall care. That means, you won’t have to stress about caring for these low-maintenance plants during busy seasons or when you take some well-deserved time off.
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1 Snake Plant
Here’s one of the toughest houseplants you’ll ever meet: This hardy plant doesn’t need tons of water or sunlight to grow. In fact, a smaller plant (like the one shown here) only needs to be watered every two to three weeks. Always make sure the soil is completely dry before watering to prevent root rot.
2 ZZ Plant
First-time plant parents love this wavy green plant, especially since it thrives in low-light, drought-like conditions. That means, you can get away with watering it once every two to three weeks, and still watch it grow it up to 28″ tall.
3 Aloe Vera
If you happen to sit near a window, then this double-duty succulent is your best bet. Place it somewhere where indirect light hits and water it every two to three weeks. Once the leaves mature, you can remove them from the plant and squeeze out the gel to treat burns, bruises and sores.
4 Modern Bamboo
Bamboo is considered a symbol of luck and good fortune, which may be exactly what you need at work. The best part: It doesn’t require much on your end to make it happen. Just stick it in a spot that gets moderate or indirect sunlight, and water it when the soil is dry to the touch.
5 Chinese Evergreen
It’s one of the most common houseplants for a reason: You can place it in any room that receives indirect sunlight or very little light. Be sure to water it when the soil is dry to the touch — every week or so.
6 Peace Lily
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The white flowers may catch your eye, but it’s the plant’s air-purifying properties that will really make an impact at work. Keep it out of bright, direct sunlight, but make sure it is still placed in a well-lit area. Water it weekly and spritz the leaves on occasion, especially during the hot summer months.
7 Philodendron Green
The heart-shaped leaves will add a little love to your cubicle — hey, we could all use it! With the right conditions (medium indirect to low light and water once a week), its trailing vines can grow up to 10 feet long.
8 Spider Plant
Place this plant on the corner of your desk or in a hanging pot, so that its spiderettes (the official word for its thin, long leaves) can dangle without disruption. While it may prefer indirect light, this sprawling green grows well in low-light conditions, like your dimly-lit office. Water it frequently, keeping the soil moist at all times.
9 Bird’s Nest Fern
Be prepared: The crinkled fronds on this fern give off tropical vibes, so it may put you in OOO mode. But really, it’ll be something to shoot for during your 9-5. Luckily, this green is extremely easy to care for: Give it indirect to low light and water every one to two weeks.
10 Red Nerve Fittonia
Since it’s normally found in the tropics, this evergreen needs sunny, humid conditions to survive. Your office is far from a rainforest, but you can still give it the care it needs: Stick it in indirect sun (north-facing windows are ideal) and water it as soon as the soil feels dry. Mist its leaves often to mimic humid conditions.
11 Peperomia Obtusifolia
It may be small, but this desk-friendly plant packs a punch: Also called Baby Rubber Plant, this leafy green will grow white flowers, as long as it gets watered once or twice a week. Even though it loves bright indirect light, it can tolerate low-light conditions — simply, water your plant more if it’s getting more sun.
If you have floor space to fill, make a statement with this potted plant. Sometimes called the Swiss Cheese Plant (look at the leaves!), this beauty can grow just about anywhere with very little light. Water the plant when the top half of the soil is completely dry and feed it with plant food monthly.
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