The 8 Best Office Plants of 2020
A low-cost way to spruce up your workspace
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Your small business office may be a long way from the Fortune 500, but that doesn’t mean you need to live with drab decor. In fact, you can easily spruce up your office space with the right combination of plants and other decorations.
Office plants may be easier to care for than you realize and offer a wide range of benefits. From visual appeal to cleaner air, the best office plants offer big benefits for a relatively low price tag. But don't just head to the store and pick up a plant without doing a little research. You might accidentally buy a plant that needs more sunlight than your office has to offer or requires more care than you care to provide. Besides light, another consideration is care needs (do you want to water daily or every couple of weeks?).
Some other benefits of office plants? They can reduce stress, enhance productivity, reduce sickness and filter out noise in quiet offices. They can also boost creativity and make the workspace more appealing to both current employees and applicants.
Not sure which plant will suit your workspace? Take a look below to find the best office plants to buy today.
Best for Full Sun: Aloe Plant
Aloe vera is great for sunburns and basic first aid, but it needs a lot of sunlight to survive. If you ever do find yourself on the wrong side of a coffee burn (or any type of burn or scrape) at work, you can pull off a leave and squeeze out the inside for relief.
The plants need dryer soil to thrive, which is great for anyone who can’t commit to water regularly. Despite low care requirements, the aloe plant offers a lush green appearance and purifies the air you breathe.
Aloe is not the most beautiful plant in the world, but it remains popular due to its easy care and plentiful benefits. If you can give it a good soak every week or two, you are in good shape with this great plant.
Aloe vera plants typically cost around $5 to $15 for a small sized plant.
Best for Low-Maintenance: Bamboo Palm
Bamboo palms require indirect to low light, making them great for large rooms with big windows and light that doesn’t quite reach the entire space. With more light, however, you can expect them to grow taller.
The bright green leaves add fun and flair to your office space. This variety of palm can grow quickly in the right conditions and is claimed to ward off evil spirits according to some Japanese traditions.
This variety of plant starts around $2 for small plants in a disposable pot. Larger plants can run $50 or more in some cases.
Best for Reducing Stress: Spider Plant
Spider plants are cheap and do well in partial sun or shade, so they can thrive and grow in even windowless offices or cubicles. They can get by on fluorescent lighting and an infrequent watering schedule, so they can survive long periods of neglect. Ideally, they get watered every couple of days for the best health.
According to some studies, the spider plant is ideal for improving indoor air quality and reducing stress at work. Spider plants reduce dust and other particulate matter which may even reduce allergy symptoms for some office dwellers. Even better, you can cut off a small section and plant it to grow an entirely new plant!
Spider plants cost around $5 to $10 each, so even if you do manage to kill one it won’t cost much to replace it.
Hardest to Kill: Cactus
Cacti have evolved to live in some of the harshest climates on Earth. If they can survive in a desert, they can survive pretty much anything you do outside of putting them in too much shade. Plan to water around once per week in spring and summer months and about every three weeks during the fall and winter seasons.
They range from very small plants that fit on a desktop to larger plants that require a big pot and some floor space. But as long as they have plenty of sunlight, they do fine in most offices. If the pointy spikes scare you off, consider related succulent plants that require similar care.
Because cacti come in a range of varieties and sizes, you can expect a range of prices when shopping. For a little extra fun, consider a cactus garden that includes several varieties for more color and fun.
Most Unique: Air Plants
Air plants are interesting looking vegetation that does not need a soil potted home. And it doesn’t need to be watered. Instead, you dunk it into water every week or so while hammering away at the keyboard.
The spidery looking plants generally live in fun glass containers, though they can survive in most office conditions, hypothetically even on a shelf or desktop. Because they are low maintenance and fun to look at, they are perfect for an office.
These plants cost anywhere from a couple of dollars up to around $5 each, but you can get a deal buying them in bulk. Look for fun and creative pots and display ideas for this non-traditional plant that is sure to brighten up any workspace.
Best for Bigger Offices: Ficus
A ficus plant is the quintessential office plant. The big green leaves look a little like money, which makes them particularly popular in banks and finance business offices. They prefer filtered sunlight to full light, so they don’t do well in shady cubicles or windowless spaces.
For watering, ficus plants do best with several days of dry soil between waterings, so you only need to worry about watering one to two times per week. There are about 850 types of ficus, so odds are there is one that works well in your office.
Depending on the variety and size, you can expect to pay around $10 to $75 for a ficus. The ficus family includes the common fig, an edible fruit that you can grow indoors!
Best for Poor Air Circulation: English Ivy
English Ivy needs frequent water from the start, but the need for water drops as they get established. That is perfect for people enthusiastic about a new plant with waning interest over time. They also do well in cool conditions, perfect for a well air-conditioned office.
They do well in shady conditions and are known to filter airborne fecal particle and formaldehyde from the air, which is great for offices with poor circulation. Germaphobes may want to add extra plants near the bathrooms for maximum results.
English ivy plants cost around $10 to $20 potted and bring a combination of white and green colors to your work spaces.
Best for a Tropical Vibe: Areca Palm
Who doesn’t want to feel like they are in Hawaii all the time? Palm trees are great for a tropical, positive feeling around the office and the areca palm is ideal for indoor offices. Areca palms offer lots of green leaves to brighten up your office.
They require plenty of indirect sunlight and a bit of watering. In spring and summer months, you will want to keep the soil moist. In the fall and winter months, it is best to let it stay dry. You also have to repot every two or three years for continued health.
Areca palms cost around $15 to $50 depending on the size. With up to 100 leaflets per frond, they are very popular for bright, large spaces and reach a maximum height of six or seven feet in their 10-year lifespan.