12 Office Plants to Add Greenery to Your Workspace

Leigha Staffenhagen / Insteading

As gardeners, we all aspire to spend our mornings and afternoons planting seeds, pulling weeds, and finishing the day off with a dinner made of home-grown vegetables. But for some of us, gardening is a passion we unfortunately only get to enjoy on the weekends and evenings.

If you find yourself at the office wishing you had some plants, it might be time to add some greenery to your space. Aside from filling the gardening void we feel during the week, working in a space with plants tends to make us happier, more productive, and even healthier.

Whether you’re looking for a small desktop plant, a large floor plant for that dark corner in your office, or a hanging plant for the ceiling, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best office plants for your workplace.

Small Desktop Plants

1. Lucky Bamboo

lucky bamboo
Rachel Paxton / Flickr (Creative Commons)

You’ve probably seen these decorative little house plants in grocery stores and nurseries around Chinese New Year, but they deserve a place in your cubicle all year round. As it turns out, lucky bamboo isn’t bamboo at all. In fact, it’s part of the Dracaena genus.

Requiring little in the way of maintenance, lucky bamboo does well in mid to low light environments and grows well in just water! Replace the water every few days and your bamboo will provide you with plenty of greenery (and good luck) for years to come.

Best office location: desktop with indirect or low light, away from the window

2. Peace Lily

Easy going and perfectly fine putting up with a bit of neglect, the peace lily is a gorgeous house plant with large, deep green leaves and dainty white flowers. Peace lilies prefer partial shade outdoors, making them a good fit for darker offices.

Related Post: Low Light Plants

As far as water goes, peace lilies prefer their soil moist, and they will definitely tell you when they need a drink. If you notice the leaves have started to droop, give your lily some water and watch how it perks up to its happy self! Cue satisfying peace lily gif:

via GIPHY

Best office location: desktop with filtered light, on the floor when it gets larger

3. Cacti and Succulents

Skyla Design / Unsplash

If you’re notorious for killing plants but work in an office with plenty of natural light, you’ll to want to invest in a succulent or two (or three). As long as you don’t over water them, succulents are easy to grow and propagate. Buy just one succulent, and you may very well find yourself with a desktop garden in a matter of months!

Best office location: desktop near a south-facing window that gets direct light

4. Aloe Vera

Leigha Staffenhagen / Insteading

If you’ve ever had a sunburn, you know just how useful Aloe vera can be, but it’s so much more than just a sunburn cure.

Related Post: How to Grow Healthy Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is an easy to grow succulent that can put up with a lot of neglect. They come in all sorts of sizes and shapes and yes, you can totally harvest the aloe and use it for your sunburn!

Best office location: desktop near a window with direct, indirect, or filtered low light

Hanging Plants

5. Spider Plant

hanging spider plant
Leigha Staffenhagen / Insteading

Preferring low light and only requiring watering every two weeks, the spider plant is most commonly grown in hanging planters due to its thin, spiraling leaves. Make sure to provide your spider plant with excellent drainage as they really don’t like wet feet.

I’ve found that giving them a bit of organic fertilizer once a month really helps their leaves grow longer and healthier. As for producing pups, I have yet to see my plant branch off, though many people have had success.

Best office location: hanging in a corner near a window that gets filtered or indirect light

6. Burro’s Tail

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I've posted way too many photos of this burro's tail, probably because I wish I could freeze each twist and turn in time. 😌 All living things are in motion, part of a continuum, and we just have to make sure we stop and enjoy the moment, whatever it may look like. 😍 . . . . . #burrostail #sedummorganianum #plantparenthood #plantlove #plantsmakepeoplehappy #succulente #ilovesucculents #cutesucculents #hangingsucculents #plantscout #get_planted #plantphotography #plantaddiction #plantsplantsplants #weloveplants #earthinspiredhome #greenlove #succulove #succulover #urbanjungle #greenfingers #houseplantclub #beautifulthing #botanical #plantmagic #natureinside #plantlife #plantaddiction #plantlady #iloveplants

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If you love the look of succulents but only have space for a hanging plant, the burro’s tail is right up your alley. This eye-catching, dare I say mesmerizing succulent is a perennial plant that needs lots of light and a well-draining planting medium, such as succulent soil with perlite or pumice. As with all succulents, over-watering will be the death of your burro’s tail, so go easy with the watering can.

Best office location: north-facing window with indirect, bright light

7. Golden Pothos

Leigha Staffenhagen / Insteading

Pothos are one of my favorite houseplants. They’re incredibly tolerant of mistreatment and will happily grow for years in your home, office, or backyard. Pothos come in a variety of different colors and the vines are best grown in hanging planters and vases. Pothos can be grown in soil, or if you don’t really have much of a green thumb (like me), they can be grown directly in water. Just make sure you give them fresh water every few days.

Best office location: anywhere

8. String of Pearls

Maja Dumat / Flickr (Creative Commons)

When it comes to the string of pearls, you’ll probably have to take a second look to realize the foliage is real! With thin vines and perfectly round “leaves” the string of pearls plant is a vibrant green color and tends to trail rather than spread. These plants aren’t for the faint of heart, though. I was completely unsuccessful in growing it!

Related Post: Hanging Planters for Succulents and Flowers

They’re a bit temperamental and have very specific growing conditions: bright, indirect light and well-draining soil. These are also part of the succulent family, so be careful how much you water them. Only water every few weeks or when the soil has completely dried.

Best office location: north-facing window with indirect light

Large Plants for the Floor

9. Snake Plant

Leigha Staffenhagen / Insteading

So I know I said that pothos is my favorite houseplant but truth be told, the snake plant might actually be my favorite. It’s low maintenance, prefers low light areas, and only needs to be watered every few weeks. Also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, the snake plant has tall, stiff, upright leaves that can grow up to 12 feet at maturity.

Best office location: anywhere

10. Dracaena Marginata (Dragon Tree)

Maja Dumat / Flickr (Creative Commons)

With a thin trunk and large palm-like leaves, the Dracaena marginata is an indoor tree that will add some vertical visual interest to your office. Dracaena prefers indirect light and well-draining soil.

Related Post: 7 Indoors Trees To Add Some Greenery To Your Home

As with succulents, the Dracaena is not tolerant of wet feet. We learned this the hard way when one of our plant’s trunk started to feel mushy and all the leaves fell off. Only water this tree when the soil is completely dry and you shouldn’t have any issues with it.

Something to note, though, is that some garden sites mention that Dracaena really doesn’t like being jostled and repotted. So when you do repot, go with a planter that the tree can grow into for a long time.

Best office location: north-facing window with indirect light

11. Monstera

Brina Blum / Unsplash

When I think about all the plants I want someday, the Monstera deliciosa is pretty high up on the list. It’s not ideal for small spaces, though. The Monstera is well, a bit of a monster and can take up a lot of space as it grows.

So if you have a dark corner in the office that’s just a total eyesore, consider adding a Monstera there! Also charmingly known as the Swiss cheese plant, Monstera deliciosa prefers indirect light and likes steady, weekly watering. Water only when the soil is mostly dry.

Best office location: large, open area near a window with indirect light

12. Fiddle Leaf Fig

Alyssa Ennis / Insteading

Here’s another houseplant that is totally on my “future home” wish list. The fiddle leaf fig boasts beautiful deep green leaves and can actually outgrow your house if you let them. Unfortunately, with all that beauty comes a little bit of temperament. Fiddle leaf figs prefer very specific conditions, and will definitely tell you when they’re unhappy.

So if you have patience and time to care for this plant, make sure to give it lots of bright, direct light, plant it in well-draining soil, and only water when the soil is dry. Also, make sure the plant isn’t located near a drafty window, as fiddle leaf figs can’t tolerate the cold.

Best office location: near a well-sealed, bright window with direct light

Written by Leigha Staffenhagen

Leigha Staffenhagen is our managing editor. When she isn’t writing and editing for Insteading, she’s reading, going to Mariners games, practicing yoga, tap dancing, weeding in her grandma's garden beds, and attempting to grow her own apartment garden.

3 Comments

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    • Hey Sarah!

      Our apartment only has north facing windows, so my plants really don’t get much sunlight. I’ve found that a variety of sansevieria does well without a whole lot of light, so I’d give one of those a shot. They’re super easy to care for too. 🙂 Ferns might be a good choice, too! Let us know how it goes!

      Leigha

    • Yeah, that’s a hard one. If you can get a little grow light, that could work. There are some like that on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Q1N1O1 that are affordable (seems like $20-30 is most common) and discrete enough to not be obnoxious. They’re also LED so hopefully won’t rack up an electric bill for your employer.

      As far as plants, something small and contained is probably your best bet. Succulents are a good fit, or maybe a small herb that you can keep trimmed?

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