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Greener on the inside

Best Plants for Your Office or Desk

Arriving at the office before the sun rises and leaving at dusk can cause a real sense of deprivation for those who love the outdoors. Adding plants may be the missing nature link needed to improve productivity and satisfaction on the job. Office plants can increase the humidity around the desk, remove toxins from the air, and add a touch of style to your workspace. Here are some plants best for your office or desk.

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Snake Plant

The tough nature of the Sansevieria, also known as snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue, means that it might continue to grow into its owner’s retirement. Not all snake plants are created equal when it comes to size. Avoid choosing a specimen that grows several feet high. Instead, look for a dwarf selection like ‘Futura Superba’ or ‘Whitney.’ Perfect for houseplant newbies, snake plants require little special attention—simply dump your water bottle on it on your way out the door on Friday and enjoy this slow-growing desk plant.

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English Ivy

Soften the hard lines of a desk with a trailing plant like English ivy. It requires only medium light and average water to thrive indoors. If the trailing nature of ivy gets too exuberant, wrap your ivy tendrils around a trellis or wire obelisk for a living piece of art.

Although you can’t go wrong with any variety of the classic Hedera helix, many new cultivars expanded the look of this office plant. ‘Silver Dollar’ and ‘Yellow Ripple’ feature grey or gold variegation. Small spaces benefit from dwarf varieties like ‘Pixie Dixie.’ For those who crave fancy foliage, try the ruffled leaves of ‘Curly Locks’ or ‘Manda’s Crested.’

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ZZ Plant

The ZZ plant is a succulent with two characteristics that have helped it rocket in popularity as a houseplant - tolerance to low light and the ability to grow with little water. The Zamioculus zamifolia is native to Africa and will do just fine with fluorescent bulbs as its only light source. The laddered leaves of the common ZZ plant are a pleasing addition to the office setting, but the new nearly black leaves of the latest ‘Raven’ cultivar look stunning against a white desktop.

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Aloe

Aloe plants are easy to grow, as long as they are supplied with one essential ingredient: lots of bright light. If a desk is near a sunny window, plant it, and forget about it, as these succulents only need watering every couple of weeks. The standard Aloe barbadensis is attractive enough for any modern desk space, or you can explore the merits of the dwarf ‘Minibelle’ or the speckled ‘Tiger Tooth’ cultivars. Grow the plants in a sandy cactus mix to ensure the excellent drainage these plants require.

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Philodendron

Whether an office is flooded with natural light or tucked in a cozy corner, the carefree philodendron will add cheer with its glossy green leaves and trailing habit. Although the philodendron is often used for hanging baskets, it works just as well growing up a small trellis or totem pole. The philodendron does need regular moisture to keep its lush look, so a self-watering pot will be a lifesaver to those specimens that don’t have a consistent caregiver. For a handsome container combination, grow the silvery mottled ‘Brandi’ cultivar with a standard green type.

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Lucky Bamboo

The common name lucky bamboo isn’t actually one of the more than one hundred genera of true bamboo; rather, the Dracaena sanderiana is related to the corn plant, another easy-to-grow houseplant. Growers sometimes shape lucky bamboo stems into fun shapes like spirals, weaves, or even hearts. Left to their own devices, the stems of lucky bamboo will eventually outgrow their trained shapes, but plants grow slowly. Lucky bamboo requires little light and can grow without soil when the stems are submerged in water, but make sure the water level doesn’t sink below the stems or the plant may not recover from this desiccation. thespruce


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