As was discussed in parts 1 and 2 of this series, the use of plants in a commercial office has a variety of benefits. Many offices choose to enjoy bringing nature inside and yet feel it is not in their budget to have the plants professionally cared for as often as may be necessary for the type of plants involved. Each plant species has its own needs when it comes to maintenance and care, especially in the area of proper light and the right amount of moisture. The correct kind and amount of fertilizer used properly is also a concern. Whoever is responsible for the care and maintenance of plants in your office should research each type of plant and make a note as to its care and maintenance requirements. Here are some of the most common office plants and the recommendations for having them thrive in an office environment:
Philodendrons: do not have to have direct light, so they work well in inner office settings. Keep soil moist, but they will live quite a while if the soil gets dry. You can see the leaves begin to sag when the plant is thirsty.
Modern bamboo: needs moderate or indirect lighting. Water when the soil is dry to the touch but try not to overwater.
Monstera: gets quite large, so it is great for filling an area of empty floor space. It only needs a little light and a small amount of moisture.
Peace lily: Noted for cleaning up the air. It likes low light and medium moisture.
Cactus plants : are popular in offices and range from large to small. They like sunlight but not a lot of watering. Keep the soil almost dry to the touch.
English ivy: thrives in almost any light condition and looks lovely trailing from a plant hanger or climbing up a pole. Light watering twice a week keeps the soil just barely damp. This plant is known to help eliminate mold.
African violet: a favorite for desks and reception areas. Their care, however, is somewhat tricky as these lovely flowering plants require plenty of light and moisture. They don’t last long if not cared for properly.
Umbrella plant: grows tall, and its care is determined by its location and the amount of light it receives. If placed in low light, keep the soil fairly dry. If placed in bright light, give this plant more water.
ZZ plant: great for offices as it likes low light and to be kept quite dry.
Boston ferns: often used in offices as they give off a peaceful appearance. Be careful, though, as they must have moist soil and adequate lighting.
Pothos: another small plant that is easy to care for and looks attractive on desks or cabinet tops. This plant can tolerate light from low to bright and needs once a week watering.
Spider plant: Easy to grow inside and fun to watch the spiderettes develop on the hanging stems. Medium to bright light and once a week watering keeps this plant healthy.
Birds nest fern: Needs watering only every one to two weeks and requires only low light—the perfect office plant.
Enjoying plants in the office is a healthy and enjoyable way to increase the satisfaction and physical well-being of workers. It is important to remember, however, that plants like people need attention to thrive. Check with a plant specialist or online for the right kind and amount of fertilizer to use for each type of plant you are planning to keep. It is usually best to have a specific person (one who enjoys gardening) to oversee plants in the office, as like small children, plants need care and nurturing. And don’t forget to shine the leaves, especially on those plants in areas where there is a lot of foot traffic.