Adding a touch of green to your work space carries proven wellness benefits, from boosting productivity to purifying the air. But windowless cubicles and wacky watering schedules can bring most plant varieties to an early demise. Choose one of these air-cleaning, mood-boosting varieties that are also nearly impossible to kill.
1. Spider plant
Perfect for high shelves and hanging baskets, the low-maintenance spider plant thrives in partial sun or shade – making it ideal for your cubicle or windowless office. As an added bonus, spider plants carry loads of benefits for improving indoor air quality and reducing stress at work, as noted by researchers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Air-cleansing plants also boost relative humidity and decreases particulate matter (aka dust), which can have a relaxing effect on workers and reduce common allergy symptoms. Indoor air pollution is a major problem in many offices and the spider plant is highly effective in cleaning that air. This makes the spider plant our number one office plant pick!
Care instructions: Plant your spider plant in a size-appropriate pot or hanging basket with rich potting soil. This pick is resilient enough to withstand infrequent watering and thrive with little more than fluorescent light. But if you notice droopy or brown leaves, simply move your plant to a brighter location for a few days to bring it back to its full glory.
2. Lemon Balm
Super-fragrant lemon balm plants can tolerate full sun or full shade, meaning they’ll be happy even if the nearest window is all the way across the office. In addition to being seriously hardy, research suggests that having a lemon balm plant around may also improve your mood and boost workplace wellness.
An Ohio State University study showed that while the scent of lemon doesn’t carry the medicinal healing properties touted by some aromatherapy proponents, its sweet smell did show a clear mood enhancement. So, for the often stressful office environment, it certainly couldn’t hurt.
Care instructions: Plant your lemon balm in a size-appropriate pot with good drainage and rich potting soil. Your plant will thrive in almost any light conditions but it should be kept moist, so don’t forget to water it!
The lush and leafy philodendron is nearly impossible to kill and research from the University of Technology, Sydney – one of Australia’s top tech institutions – indicates this pick may also be good for your health. Researchers from the university’s Centre for Environmental Sustainability listed philodendrons as one of the top varieties for freeing indoor air of VOCs and excess carbon dioxide, which can be harmful to human health.
The study cites all-day exposure to VOCs and high CO2 levels (even at imperceptible levels) as a frequent cause of headaches, drowsiness and loss of concentration. So, adding an air-cleansing variety like this one could go a long way to boosting productivity at work, researchers concluded.
Care instructions: Plant your philodendron in a pot or hanging basket with rich, loose potting soil. Keep the soil fairly moist by watering about two times each week.
4. Peace Lily
Peace lilies love the shade, so they’ll do just fine even far away from a window. This eye-catching variety is also one of the best plants for improving indoor air quality, according to NASA research.
Care instructions: Plant your peace lilies in rich, loose potting soil, and make sure the pot provides adequate drainage. Check the soil every few days and water as necessary. To ensure healthy leaves and frequent flowering, never allow the soil to dry out.
5. Golden pothos
Golden pothos was also noted by NASA researchers as a top air-cleaning plant, and it’s famously low-maintenance to boot, one of the best indoor plants for low-light situations – making it perfect for your desk.
Care instructions: Plant your golden pothos in a size-appropriate pot or hanging basket, and keep the soil slightly on the dry side. Don’t worry about re-potting as the plant grows. This pick actually enjoys being slightly root-bound.