Wondering what are the best plants for low light/ direct sunlight/ low maintenance, to adorn the desk of a Nobel prize-winning botanist? Hopefully, we can give you some of the answers below except perhaps the latter as that maybe a little out of our league.
We have all seen the pictures on Instagram of offices looking like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. You may well have thought either that looks like a nice place to work, or the less green-fingered amongst us might have thought that looks like a lot of work.
Aside from the fact that some very enterprising entrepreneurs will help you select, look after, and perhaps most importantly replace the ones the office still manages to sacrifice to the gods of forgetfulness, an office with plants may well be; a happier, healthier, and even more productive one.
According to a study lead by a Japanese university, plants help reduce stress, especially, they suggest, when staff tend to them themselves. ( Although to be honest we find that notion has us reaching for the stress ball.)
Having plants in the office has many potential benefits
Ambiance- The sheer sight of a bit of nature can lift people’s spirits. Many respected institutions are now prescribing contact with nature as a treatment for a range of conditions. Whilst a potted plant might not inspire the same awe as “shinrin-yoku” forest bathing, every little helps.
Clean air- Their carbon dioxide filtering capabilities might have been mentioned elsewhere. However, depending on the plant you choose, they can help you remove all manner of “nasties” from the air. Although some recent studies have shown that the plants might not be as efficient as we had hoped; according to NASA,they may still have a role to play.
Health-Researchers lead by Professor Field found that offices with plants increased humidity and helped reduce the probability of coughs and colds and soothe dry skin.
Research carried out by academics from the UK, Australia and Holland found that a “green” office could see productivity rise by as much as 15%. The report found that staff reported perceiving better air quality, workplace satisfaction, and concentration levels.
So what plants to choose
Rather than give a Top 10 office plants list, here are four likely candidates that are low maintenance and high return.
Famed for its healing qualities Aloe Vera might be a good choice. It is fairly low maintenance. It doesn’t need to be watered often as it does best in drier soil. It just needs good drainage and direct sunshine.
Adding a touch of glamor without having to put in a lot of work. They grow quickly, in low-light, and don't need much water. And somehow still produce elegant white flowers.
For that feeling of abundant green, there is nothing quite like seeing its leaves cascade over its pot. Once it is established it can put up with fairly low-light and doesn’t need much water.
The ZZ plant
A really hardy plant for those who have an office full of plant pots nurturing good intentions and reaping sorry-looking desiccated stalks. It requires moderate indirect light and only needs to be watered when the soil is dry.
What plant would the incredible Nobel laureate Barbara McClintock, have had on her desk? Given that she rarely stopped working most likely maize but the truth is we are not too sure, but we are pretty sure it would have been a lot healthier than ours. If you are looking to improve the office you can do worse than adding a splash of color and bringing a bit of nature into the office.
*NB: It can cause allergies for some people, please pay attention to the plant composition when you choose plants for yourself and your friends.