Nothing brightens a place you’d rather not be than something that needs you! Like a baby, or a kitten, or a philodendron named Steve. Every office needs that extra little something to make you feel more comfy and at home and willing to be there. Since most of us can’t pack Fluffy into our briefcase, why not get a little green office buddy?
Office environments aren’t like homes. And I’m not just talking about the soul-sucking tendency of a cubicle. Giant heating and cooling systems that dry the air, windows that don’t open, a thermostat you can’t touch and florescent lights pretending to be the sun can make it pretty hard for a little guy used to water and rain and fresh plant friends to thrive. But plants are many and varied and there are definitely some varieties out there that can be happy to make you happy in your workplace, the trick is just finding the right one for you.
One of the most common issues with an office setup is the lack of proper sunlight. For anyone not working in a corner office, lack of access to a window can make photosynthesis tricky for little Steve. In these situations you want to look for plants that require low light conditions. While artificial light can provide the proper conditions (like a grow lamp), unless you know for sure the bulbs in your office are full-spectrum and enough footcandles (who knows that?) they likely aren’t providing enough to replace the sun. So go for guys that like the shade. The peace lily and ZZ plant (zamifolia zamioculcas) are excellent candidates. While the peace lily needs a bit more water, you can still let it droop a bit between watering and it’ll bounce right back, while the ZZ is so sturdy you can go for 2-4 weeks between waters! Super easy!
Another problem is the dry air. While ferns like lower light, they love high humidity, so unless you work in a spa, they’ll probably dry up pretty quick! So tough plants used to more arid conditions, like succulents and sansevieria are wonderful. If you have the previous issue of limited light, go for the sansevieria, as they can tolerate low light conditions as well as drying out. They only need water every 2-3 weeks. If you are lucky enough to get some good bright sunlight coming in, go for a plump, happy succulent. They need direct sunlight, and as a result dry out much faster so will need water every 7-10 days.
The third common problem for the office is space. Most people have a pretty set arrangement in a fairly limited area to call their own, so it may not be feasible to bring in a pretty little pot to sit by your monitor. This is where Steve really shines! A hanging philodendron can tolerate all the terrible things and they only take up the space from the ceiling where they hang. Medium bright to low light, water when they droop (about 4-6 days) and delightfully long tentacles to grace your cubby space make these guys a big winner! They come in a variety of varieties, from bright neon to beautiful variegated streaks on dark glossy heart shaped leaves.
No matter which office buddy you choose, he’ll help get you through the day as you help him thrive. And don’t forget to name him!