Office plants: 10 low-maintenance plants for the office

Sarah
Sarah
Sarah
Sarah

For me plants are some of the most exciting living beings, even though they live in slow motion. They have fascinating abilities and just so much potential! That's why I studied organic farming. However, since plants are rather thin on the ground in my city, I often spend time hiking in the nearby mountains at the weekend. In the future I would love to run a farm myself.

Favourite fruit: strawberries and gooseberries
Favourite vegetable: courgettes

A little greenery adds atmosphere and a more pleasant climate. We show ten low-maintenance plants that are perfect for the office.

Various plants on a desk
Plants in the office can positively influence workers [Photo: Luoxi/ Shutterstock.com]

Numerous studies have already looked at how plants positively influence people. The fact that they promote concentration and have a relaxing effect is undisputed. In combination, this leads to higher productivity and a better working atmosphere. For some people, the presence of plants even subconsciously reduces stress. Of course, the air-purifying effect of plants and their positive effect on the microclimate should not remain unnoticed. We have compiled a list here of the plants that should definitely be in your office.

Even NASA has studied certain houseplants for their effect on improving the indoor climate in space stations. One more reason why both employers and employees should insist on the presence of office plants.

1. Peace lily (Spathiphyllum)

The peace lily, also known as spath, is a low-maintenance and very beautiful houseplant. What makes it so special are its beautiful, large white flowers that it displays regularly. Upon closer inspection of the flowers, the trained observer will recognise that it is an arum (Araceae). The flowers emit a pleasant fragrance and thus doubly improve the atmosphere in the office. Originally, plants of this genus come from northern South America, where there are about fifty different species. Spathiphyllum wallisii is particularly well known as a houseplant.

Peace lily plant with white bracts
The peace lily can filter numerous toxins such as benzene and formaldehyde from the indoor air [Photo: Little honey/ Shutterstock.com]

2. Chinese money plant (Pilea peperomioides)

The Chinese money plant is somewhat alien-looking, which is probably how it got its name “ufo plant”. Due to the conspicuous around shape of its leaves, it is also known as the pancake plant. The plant, which originates from China, lives in its natural habitat in the shady mountain forest and therefore does not like direct sunlight even in the office. Nevertheless, too much shadow then becomes too dark for her. Placed on the desk, the plant becomes an interesting eye-catcher. Often older specimens eventually become bare, but new offshoots are easily planted.

Two missionary plants in pots
The missionary plant is enjoying growing popularity as a houseplant [Photo: Patrycja Nowak/ Shutterstock.com]

3. Cacti

Easy to care for and elegant, if not quite so cuddly, of course, is the cactus. Which type you choose is, of course, a matter of taste. The advantage of cacti is that they can withstand prolonged periods of drought, for example, when no one is in the office over the vacations. They are even happy to have some down time now and then. Classical cacti belong to the genus Echinocactus. On the other hand, those who prefer an eye-catcher should reach for Toumeya papyracantha with its long spines or Coryphanta cornifera with its white, flat-topped spines.

Cacti plants
No matter what variety: cacti cut a good figure on the desk [Photo: Pongsathon Ladasuwankul/ Shutterstock.com]

4. Rubber tree (Ficus elastica)

This tropical tree is known from many an office and is certainly nothing new. Nevertheless – or perhaps precisely because of this – it has a raison d’être. It is a good privacy screen, looks very decorative even in the corners of the room and is very durable. It comes in different varieties with either solid or variegated leaves with cream or reddish tones. The Asian tree belongs to the strangler figs and grows into a stately tree in the tropics and subtropics.

Rubber plant
The robust rubber tree can be found in many offices [Photo: LightField Studios/ Shutterstock.com]

5. Asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus)

The lush green asparagus fern has probably fallen into oblivion somewhat, yet the filigree pinnate leaves of the houseplant can certainly be put in the limelight. It is not only great for the pot but also in the indoor hanging baskets. Especially known and popular are the two varieties ‘Sprengen’ and ‘Meyeri’. In general, the asparagus relative prefers a bright location without direct sunlight and regular watering.

Asparagus fern plants
The delicate ornamental asparagus fern is a perfect companion at the workplace [Photo: Elizabeth Fernandez/ Shutterstock.com]

6. Jade plant (Crassula ovata)

Another South African plant that has made it into European homes is the jade plant, also known as money plant. The best known is probably the conventional form with penny-shaped leaves, but the two varieties ‘Gollum’ and ‘Hobbit’ also deserve attention – and not only because of their bizarre names. The two varieties are admittedly difficult to tell apart, as both have elongated and rounded, rather stem-shaped leaves. All money plants have the advantage of coping with adverse conditions, which makes them optimal houseplants. Although they prefer a bright location, they can survive in darker places. In addition, since the plants are very hardy, they tolerate little watering – perfect office plants.

Tip: See our overview with a list of plants for dark rooms.

A close up of the jade plant
The variety ‘Gollum’ is a special eye-catcher in the office [Photo: IURII.B/ Shutterstock.com]

7. Dracaena marginata

In open-plan offices, taller specimens of the dragon tree can be a good visual screen, with the added benefit of soundproofing due to the many leaves. If they are cut back at regular intervals, they branch out into dense branches. However, be sure to use clean, sharp scissors when trimming. Pruning should necessarily be done in the spring when the plant gets enough light. A few days before, you should water and fertilise the plant sufficiently, for example with our Plantura All Purpose Plant Food to stimulate a growth spurt. Do not head all stems at the same time but proceed stem by stem so that the plant already has sufficiently large shoots before it is the turn of the next stem. If the whole thing did not work, cut the dragon tree again a few centimetres below the old cut edge.

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Dragon tree plant in a pot
The dragon tree can be used as a privacy screen, for example [Photo: GoodMood Photo/ Shutterstock.com]

8. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

The devil’s ivy (also known as pothos) is one of the classics among houseplants and is also excellent as an office plant. Due to its rapid growth, it conquers any office in no time and likes to shimmy along trellises. Moss sticks are often used for this purpose, but why not simply create a green highlight in the office and attach a trellis to the wall or let the pothos grow up the shelf? Devil’s ivy plants bring a lot of fresh greenery, and cuttings are also quickly and easily planted. If they do get too big, they can tolerate having their tendrils shortened. However, pothos plants do not like prolonged periods of drought, otherwise they lose their leaves. Therefore, make sure that even in your absence, someone is there to water from time to time.

Golden pothos plant
With their fresh green foliage, golden pothos plant bring colour into the office [Photo: Tods/ Shutterstock.com]

9. Money tree (Pachira aquatica)

Native to Central American wetlands, the money tree is an extremely decorative tree. While it grows up to 18 metres high in its native habitat, it grows rather slowly as a houseplant. If it becomes too large, it can simply be shortened. Otherwise, the plant is very easy to care for. A distinctive feature is their thickened trunk, which is usually elegantly braided in the sold specimens. Money trees love sunlight, so they are not for dark offices, but are better off in bright, sunlit rooms.

A french peanut plant in a pot
The French peanut originally comes from Central America, but is also suitable as a houseplant here [Photo: priyadarshini_s/ Shutterstock.com]

10. Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

The spider plant has a particularly good reputation when it comes to air purification. It is also easy to clean and feels comfortable even in dark offices. However, if you notice bleached leaves, they indicate a lack of water, light, or nutrients. In the latter case, we recommend a good fertilisation, for example, with our Plantura All Purpose Plant Food. If you do not have any coffee grounds on hand, you can use them as an emergency aid. Most offices have an abundance of coffee grounds. Once the deficiency is corrected, most of the bleached leaves usually green up again fairly quickly.

A ribbon plant in a pot
The easy-care ribbon plant purifies the air in the office [Photo: Bozhena Melnyk/ Shutterstock.com]

If you are particularly interested in air purifying houseplants here are our top 10.

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