The best office plants can help brighten up the space, create a relaxing environment, and help keep your indoor air healthier. No matter if you want a closed terrarium on your desk or a large office plant in the corner, they all work well to create a productive environment. However, you don’t need high-maintenance or finicky plants in the office. You may forget to water them, or everyone may be one for a long vacation and high-maintenance plants can die before you get back. To avoid this, I’ve picked out 15 of the best office plants that are very easy to care for, maintain, and keep looking lush and green while adding a nice touch to your space.
For each plant, I’ll give you a short introduction and talk about the general maintenance needs. This way, you can pick the plant or plants that will work best with your office environment. With minimal effort, you can turn your office into a soothing green space that you can’t wait to get to each day.
Most corporate offices have a larger plant or two scattered around, especially in the entryways. Getting and keeping these plants looking great and healthy is a challenge unless you pick from the best office plants.
First up on the best office plants list is the African Violet. This is a pretty plant with deep green foliage and purple flowers. It loves bright but indirect sunlight, and the soil can be slightly moist to dry. This means it’ll forgive you if you forget to water it or if everyone is away on the weekend. All you do is place the plant in room temperature water for 30 minutes and water it from the bottom. They do well in self-watering pots, and they do best in the same temperature and humidity levels that you like. So, if you’re comfortable, your African Violet will be too. This is important for heavily-regulated office environments.
African Violets rank as one of the best office plants because of their forgiving natures, and they have cheerful purple flowers.
Aloe Vera is a slightly larger succulent-like plant that grows large, fleshy leaves. You can snap part of the leaf off and use the gel that comes out to soothe minor burns or scrapes. This plant flourishes in bright indirect light, and it can do well under fluorescent office lighting. You only need to water it once every two or three weeks deeply and let it dry out between watering sessions. The bottom of the leaves should sit directly on the soil for support, but the soil should be mostly dry to prevent rot. It needs a porous pot that allows the soil to really dry out between watering sessions.
Aloe vera plants can grow large given the correct conditions, and this best office plant is very forgiving of neglect as long as it gets enough light.
The Bamboo Palm is another best office plant that doesn’t require a lot of energy or time to keep it happy and healthy. They bring warmth and color to any room, and they look fantastic in empty corners or hallways. They need a rich potting soil, and you want to water them with room-temperature water when the soil feels dry to the touch. Add a slow-release fertilizer during the spring and summer months, and place them in a sunny location that gets indirect sunlight to keep the leaves nice and green.
Cacti are generally very low-maintenance if you pay very close attention to their water, and they handle drought very well. This makes them one of the best office plants. They love south-facing windows with very bright but indirect sunlight. You can water them once a week as long as the soil feels dry between watering sessions, and they like gritty soil. This allows you to grow several different types of cacti in one pot comfortably, and you should use a 10-10-10 fertilizer every time you water them during the summer months. Cut back in the winter because they go dormant.
Cacti provide texture to any space, and you can even get flowering ones that add splashes of pink, orange, yellow, or red when they bloom.
English Ivy is one of the best office plants available because it’s very durable, and you can grow it in hanging containers, water, or in traditional pots. They can trail or climb, and this plant likes bright filtered to low light. It needs a consistent temperature with no high or low fluctuations, and they like to be consistently moist. You can mist it weekly with a spray bottle. Add a 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer once a month to keep it thriving and growing strong, and you can take root cuttings to start another plant very easily.
English Ivy typically has deeper green centers with light green edges with trailing or climbing vines, and this makes it very popular in sunny offices.
The Ficus plant loves to have a lot of indirect but bright sunlight, and this best office plant should live in an office that doesn’t fall below 55-degrees F. They need moderate but consistent watering during the spring and summer, and they like dry spells during the winter months. You’ll have to repot this plant frequently because it’s such a fast grower, but you get an attractive bark-like stem with small green leaves that will grow several feet tall with the proper care. FIcus do drop their leaves periodically, and you should make a practice to routinely trim the plants back.
Bright and cheerful, the Gerbera Daisy is one of the best office plants if you want something to sit on your desk and provide pops of color. You should water them deeply once a week during the morning hours so they have time to dry out over night. They need full and direct sunlight for several hours each day, and you should trim the plant once it blooms to encourage multiple new blooms throughout the year. It needs a rich soil that drains very well between watering to prevent root rot. You can plant several plants in one pot, and their deep green leaves make the colors pop even more.
The Gerbera Daisy will adapt to different environments and withstand neglect. The bright colors are great in the office environment, as long as they can get bright sunlight.
When you first plant your Lemon Balm, it requires even, consistent watering to help it establish the root system. However, the fact that it can tolerate drought once it establishes itself is what puts it in the running for the best office plants. It likes compost during the growing season, and this plant is cold hardy down to 20 below zero F. It’ll grow 12 to 24-inches tall and wide, and it releases a light lemon fragrance. It likes full sun with a rich soil, and it makes an excellent companion plant. After it flowers, cut it back to encourage another growth of flowers, and you’ll need a six to eight-inch pot for it to thrive.
The white flowers offset by the dark foliage make this an attractive plant, and the light lemon scent can fill your office if it’s small enough. This plant will spread if you don’t routinely cut it back.
Anyone who wants to add a splash of royal purple coloring to their office should take a look at this best office plant. They come in an impressive range of colors too. Oxalis love bright indirect or direct sunlight with water every two weeks. The soil should dry between watering, and it does well in all humidity levels. It can get spider mites, but making your own insecticidal soap can get rid of them. The leaves tend to droop in the night or when the light lowers, but they should perk up again in the sunlight.
This is the best office plant for anyone who wants one that trails down. You can set it on top of a filing cabinet and let it cascade down the side. They like bright but indirect light, and you should let the soil dry between waterings. Water them every week or two, and make sure they have a rich and well-draining soil. You can hang them up too. Also called the Devil’s Ivy, this plant is notoriously hard to kill. It’ll withstand drought and even dark conditions. You’ll have to occasionally prune and shape it to keep it from getting away from you and getting leggy, but it has larger leaves in dark and light green.
This best office plant grows well in traditional pots or hanging baskets. It’s very easy to propagate and start a new plant, and it’s extremely forgiving if you forget to water it or leave it in the dark.
The Rubber Plant is an extremely popular plant for offices, and this best office plant will grow very large under the correct conditions. This plant has large leaves that can collect dust, so wipe them down once a week with a damp cloth to keep it looking nice and healthy. The soil should stay slightly moist but not soaked, and it likes bright but indirect sunlight that isn’t too hot because it can burn the leaves. This plant can cause mild skin irritation for some people if they brush up against it, but this is rare. It has dark green coloring with a rubber-looking sheen.
Rubber plants are immensely popular in offices due to their size and ease of care, and they can easily take up entire corners and grow several feet high with the proper care.
Also called Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, this tall, upright plant has large striped leaves with deep green and lighter green coloring. The soil should dry out between waterings, and you want to avoid getting water on the leaves. It likes indirect light, but it’ll do well in a broad range of light conditions. During the growing season, use an all-purpose plant food to encourage strong growth. Use a soilless potting mixture to ensure it drains correctly, and it’s easy to propagate with leaf cuttings. This plant is toxic to cats and dogs, so avoid if if you have these pets around.
Spider plants are one of the best office plants to have because they have long, thin, arched leaves in deep green with light green centers. They like bright and moderate indirect light, and you should water them occasionally for the first year before switching to more moderately at once a week or so. They like moderate humidity with temperatures between 55 and 80-degrees F, and you should fertilize them once or twice a month during the spring and summer months to encourage good growth. When the plant produces offshoots, you can snip them off and replant them to grow more plants.
Spider plants have long arched leaves, and they grow very quickly. You’ll find yourself repotting them a lot to prevent them from becoming root bound and dying.
The Tillandsia is a species of air plant, and they’re one of the best office plants because they’re very hardy and don’t need a lot of attention. You can plant them in glass globes without soil, and they like bright filtered light with moderate humidity. Soak your plant every one or two weeks in room temperature water for one 5 to 10 minutes to water it. You can mist it once a week to keep it happy. These plants need a few pebbles in the bottom of the terrarium, and make sure to keep them out of the direct sunlight because the sun can burn the leaves. Most air plants flower once in their lives before producing new plants that will grow and flower.
A healthy air plant remains one of the best office plants because it forms a micro-environment in the glass terrariums that encourage healthy growth and a continuous lifecycle.
If you have the correct tools, it’s easy to turn the ZZ Plant into one of the best office plants. This plant can easily grow glossy leaves that are three feet long, and they have a rubbery appearance. They do very well in low light levels, and they need a loose, well-drained potting soil. You should repot it once a year for the first three to five years, and it likes average humidity levels. The soil should become dry to the touch between watering sessions to prevent rot, and you can perform leaf cuttings if you want to propagate new plants from the main plant. This plant is toxic to kids, cats, and dogs.
Best Office Plants – Growing Tips
Now that you know what 15 of the best office plants are, we’ll go over some growing tips to ensure everyone in the office can enjoy these plants while doing their part to keep them healthy and thriving. No matter how big or small your space is, you can easily fit a small plant or two on your desk or a larger one in the corner.
Tip One – Set Up a Watering Schedule
You should start by taking note of any types of plants in the office. Find out what they like for a watering schedule, and consider getting some distilled water on-hand since some plants are very sensitive to chlorine or fluoride in the tap water. Rainwater is a good option if you have it. You could set up a spreadsheet to check every day and mark down when you last watered the plants, when they’re due to get another drink, and any special watering methods they need. For example, do you need to soak them in the water or will they prefer a light misting? This is key to making your plants happy.
Tip Two – Pick the Correct Lighting
Every plant on the list of the best office plants has slightly different lighting considerations they prefer. Try to set up your plants in areas where they get the correct amount and type of light. You don’t want to move them around a lot, but they should be places where people can look over and see them throughout the day. If the plants like lower light, they can set deeper into the office and away from the light without a problem. Plants that like bright but indirect light should sit slightly back from the windows so they don’t burn, and some plants prefer medium light. Keeping the plants in their preferred lighting will help keep them healthy and prevent them from burning.
Smaller plants can easily sit on the corner of your desk while larger ones will have to sit on the floor out of the way of anyone that walks through it. The best office plants will be easy for your coworkers to maintain, and they’ll live all year round.
Tip Three – Fertilize During the Spring and Summer
The spring and summer months are the time when the plants actively grow, and they need more fertilizer to support the new growth. Most of the plants on the list do well with liquid-based fertilizer, but you should check the individual plant’s requirements to avoid burning them. Some like 10-10-10 and some like 20-20-20. You should assign one person to fertilize the plant so they don’t get overfed because fertilizer can easily burn the leaves and roots and cause damage to the plant. Be very careful when you apply the fertilizer, and water it right after you apply it to help it reach your plant’s roots and give them a nutrient boost very quickly.
Tip Four – Don’t Let the Plants Sit in Water
Many of the best office plants like to stay moist, but they shouldn’t be soaked all of the time or sitting in water. Many plants have a saucer below them to catch the extra water so it doesn’t run all over the office, but this can also encourage root rot. Make a point to go around the office and periodically empty the water trays if you notice them not drying out. You may have to do this more than once after you water them if you give them a deep soak, but doing this allows the dirt and roots to dry out between watering.
Tip Five – Keep the Plants Away From Doors
Many times, you’ll set your plants close to the doorways in your office, but this puts them right in the way for any temperature changes or drafts that come through. If it gets cold in your office, the drafts can injure parts of your plant and cause them to die. This is especially true for plants that are used to tropical climates. The best office plants are pretty hardy, but you should do everything you can to keep them healthy. Put them in places where they don’t get a lot of drafts because this helps you regulate the temperature and humidity levels easier.
Adding the best office plants can make your space seem more open and inviting while adding texture and color to the more industrial corporate color scheme.
The best office plants can add splashes of color and deep green foliage to your space while cleaning the air. I’ve outlined 15 of the best office plants available, and you can add one or mix and match several while spreading them around your office. Set up a watering and fertilizer schedule, make sure they get the correct light, and watch them thrive year in and year out.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.