If your WFH desk is looking a little tired or you’re back in the office and want to jazz up your long-lost workspace, you might want to consider adding some plants. Greenery can be an easy way to breathe new life into indoor spaces, bringing the outside inside.
But, in saying that, not all plants are created equal, and some are better for office life than others. Factor in that some offices may have more natural light than others, and that some people are in five days a week to be able to water them and others are only part-time, and you’ve got a lot to consider before buying an office plant.
So, to help you take the overwhelm out of it, we enlisted the help of best mates and co-founders of The Plant Runner, Dominic Hooghuis and Duncan Hilder. While you can ask them for help in-person at the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show from Wednesday, March 30 until Sunday, April 3 at Carlton Gardens, if you can’t make it, we’ve got their picks for the best seven plants to buy for the office here.
“Air purifying? Tick. Potential to propagate? Tick. Cascading jungle plant vibes? Tick. Looks good, low maintenance and easy to find at your local plant shop? Tick, tick, tick!
“Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are one of the easiest indoor plants to grow. It’s spider-like shape, coupled with long drooping stems of pups (baby plants) means it can cover as much (or as little) desk space as you need it too. They grow well in a range of light situations (although steer clear of direct sunlight!), and require watering only when the top few centimetres of potting media has dried out.”
“The #1 fighter against plant killers, Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum) is the perfect desk plant as long as you steer clear of direct sunlight. This plant can tolerate nearly anything else you throw at it — low light, dappled light, bright light, irregular watering, extended dry spells — and better yet, it brings instant jungle vibes to any space.
“Fertilise it regularly with liquid indoor plant food or use an organic slow release fertiliser every couple of months. Be the envy of your workmates and let it trail down over the edges of your desk! The devil is in the details.”
“While you may not have heard of it, you’ve most definitely seen it. The Arrowhead Plant (Syngonium podophyllum) is a fast-growing, very rewarding, highly underrated, climbing plant that can add a real statement to your desk. These fellows can be found in a wide range of colours, from lime green to white (White Butterfly), pink (Pink Syngonium) and deep purple (Maria Allusion).
“They’re fast-growing, but also respond well to pruning so your desk can be as green or as minimal as you like. Regular watering, Aroid potting mix and fortnightly feeding will give you a real show-stopper.”
“If you are lucky enough to score a desk that receives direct sunlight, spoil yourself with a cactus or two. And if you treat them right, they’ll reward you with some of the most beautiful blooms (although often short-lived) in the Kingdom Plantae.
“Yes, they’re low maintenance, but you should still fertilise (a slow release is perfect) and water occasionally. Just remember sunlight is the key — the more of it, and the more direct, the better.”
Chinese Money Plant
“The ‘It’ Plant of 2018, the Chinese Money Plant (Pilea peperomioides) is still working its magic on desks across the country. They’re small and compact, but most of all, they’re very interesting to look at. Like little saucers balancing on fine sticks, its foliage is unmistakable. Allowing the potting media to dry out after every water and steering clear of direct sunlight will really benefit these plants.
“They’ll reward you with heaps of tiny pups (baby plants) that you can carefully cut away and propagate, meaning you’ll soon become the office plant-peddler in no time.”
“The ultimate low light, low maintenance desk plant, ZZ’s are known for their dark, fleshy green foliage. The leaflets are attached to bulbous stalks that arch out and create an architectural-looking plant. Almost waxy to touch, the leaves are smooth and shiny and the stalks grow from thick rhizomes (water-storing roots not dissimilar to a small potato). Better yet, its waxy foliage reflects light and can brighten rooms, which is made even more appealing given it can tolerate lower light conditions.
“So, if you have a desk right in the middle of the office or you drew the short straw on your WFH space, this plant is for you. Fertilise monthly with a liquid indoor plant food and pot up using a quality Aroid potting mix.”
“Better known as the ‘Mother-in-Law’s Tongue’, Snake Plants (Sansevieria species) come in a few attractive varieties and only require the occasional watering. Their architectural upright habit makes it perfect for the desk as you don’t lose much real estate, and it’s a NASA-approved air purifier so your productivity levels should soar.
“Use a quality indoor plant food once a month to see it really thrive, and try to provide it with bright, indirect light.”