Top 8 Best Office Plants: Low Light and Low Maintenance

Updated on December 19, 2017
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Kate graduated from Sonoma State University with a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Biology. She currently resides in Sonoma, California.

For many people around the world, the office is like a second home. Spending eight or more hours in an office can seem like a drag, however, with a few decorations, your office can feel more like a living room than a working space. Indoor plants are one of the best ways to help with this, but how can you choose which plants will best fit into your office space? Well, we are here to help.

There are actually hundreds of different plants that can fit nicely into a work place, many of which will thrive in low lighting conditions and require very little maintenance. A few will require a bit of work, but each one is almost guaranteed to make your working space a little more comfortable. Each of these plants will be a great addition to your office whether it's a cubicle or an entire room.

Number 8 - The Spider Plant

Easy to care for with air purifying properties, the Spider Plant is always a good choice.
Easy to care for with air purifying properties, the Spider Plant is always a good choice.

One of the most popular indoor plants, the Spider Plant, is known for being a great addition to an office environment. They are extremely low-maintenance and thrive in partial light and shade. This means you won't need to waste valuable time by constantly watering and adjusting the plant for proper light exposure.

Great For the Office Because They:

  • Thrive in partial light and heavily shaded areas.
  • Can go 1-2 days without water.
  • Are easy to propagate (pinch off small sections, put in fresh soil, and your co-worker can have his own spider plant!).
  • Purify the air you breathe.

The Spider Plant is known for providing numerous health benefits. One report by the University of Hawaii at Manoa states that the Spider Plant is one of the best natural ways to remove "volatile organic chemicals/compounds" (or VOC's) and pollutants from the air."

Number 7 - The Snake Plant

The Snake Plant is easy to maintain, purifies the air, and even releases oxygen.
The Snake Plant is easy to maintain, purifies the air, and even releases oxygen.

Much like the aforementioned Spider Plant, the Snake Plant is a easy-to-maintain indoor plant that can make your office feel more like home. They are known to survive in almost any environment, even without water for days at a time.

Great For the Office Because They:

  • Are a very hardy, hard to kill, plant.
  • Can go days without water.
  • Love to grow at room temperature.
  • Will purify the air you breathe and release oxygen.

The Snake Plant is also known for its ability to clear toxins from the air. Most plants take away oxygen at night, however the Snake Plant actually gives off oxygen while also filtering out toxic substances like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and more. It's a beautiful looking plant that requires almost no sunlight, making it a perfect addition to any office.

Number 6 - Cactus

A Cleistocactus Winteri Cactus identifiable by the unique way in which it grows from its pot.
A Cleistocactus Winteri Cactus identifiable by the unique way in which it grows from its pot.

There are over 2,000 different types of cactus in the world. Luckily, almost all of them will fit great in an office. Cactus do require a considerable amount of sunlight, making them a poor option for dimly-light offices. Thanks to their size however, it's easy to fit them in places where sunlight will enter.

Great For the Office Because They:

  • Are typically small in size and can fit almost anywhere.
  • Require extremely little water and attention.
  • Come in many different styles and varieties (the above pictured Cleistocactus Winteri is a favorite for an office desk).

The reason that cactus are one of the best office plants in the world is that they require very little water to survive. Cactus actually prefer that they go a few days without water, making them one of the easiest indoor plants in terms of maintenance. Consider the Myrtillocactus, Echinocereus Schmollii, or Cleistocactus Winteri varieties as these all do well indoors.

Number 5 - Bamboo Palm

Per Chinese tradition, the more stalks of Lucky Bamboo you have, the luckier it is.
Per Chinese tradition, the more stalks of Lucky Bamboo you have, the luckier it is.

For those with a big office, the bamboo palm plant may be the perfect indoor plant. They require very little light and grow at an incredibly fast rate. This plant has long stems and large leaves to help add some bright greenery to any office environment.

For a smaller option, try Lucky Bamboo (pictured above). This smaller plant looks just like bamboo but is actually a member of the lily family. It loves to grow in small dishes of water on the work desk, and enjoys filtered natural sunlight.

Great For the Office Because They:

  • Grow great in low light situations.
  • Provide a lush green addition to your office.
  • Are said to "ward off evil spirits" (yes, even your boss).
  • Can grow very quickly, depending on the variety of bamboo.

In traditional Japanese culture, bamboo has been a symbol of prosperity due to its sturdy root structure. It has even been said to ward off evil spirits, something that many office dwellers with over bearing bosses can certainly appreciate. It's big, colorful, and doesn't require much work to keep alive.

Number 4 - Gerber Daisy

Gerber Daisies are a great option for the office if you are looking for a flowering plant.
Gerber Daisies are a great option for the office if you are looking for a flowering plant.

For those looking to add a flowering plant into their office, the Gerber Daisy may be the best option available. It's a beautiful plant that can fit in almost any office. They come in a wide variety of colors which helps to add some life into the work place, yet it's their air filtering properties that make them so popular.

Great For the Office Because They:

  • Are small and can fit almost anywhere.
  • Come in a wide range of colors so you can customize your workplace.
  • Purify the air you breathe.

Gerber Daisy plants help to filter benzene out of the air (a cancer causing carcinogen), making them a fantastic addition to an office. Some websites will claim that these plants can be difficult to grow inside, however they don't require a significant amount of sunlight to grow. If possible, place this plant in an area where light can reach, if only for a few hours a day to get the best results.

Number 3 - Lemon Balm

The Lemon Balm plant adds a subtle aroma of lemon to your workplace.
The Lemon Balm plant adds a subtle aroma of lemon to your workplace.

The Lemon Balm plant not only looks beautiful, it also gives off a wonderful fragrance that will add value to almost any office space. They can survive in both sun and shade, and are also hardy enough to be moved among different pots.

Great For the Office Because They:

  • Do well in direct sun or shaded areas.
  • Are hardy and quite difficult to kill.
  • Give off a lemon sent that can boost your mood.

Lemon Balm has been studied for its reported mood-boosting abilities. The pleasant smell of lemon that this plant releases is enough to make you feel better throughout the day, according to a study by Ohio State University. These plants to require quite a bit of moisture, so make sure to water them daily.

Number 2 - The Aloe Plant

The Aloe Plant will purify the air and can even give you straight-from-the-source aloe gel.
The Aloe Plant will purify the air and can even give you straight-from-the-source aloe gel.

The Aloe plant is known worldwide for its incredible ability to produce the healing aloe gel. Those looking to add a new plant into their office space will also be pleased to find that this plant is easy to care for and can easily survive inside as long as it receives adequate sunlight.

Great For the Office Because They:

  • Have a lush green appearance.
  • Purify the air you breathe.
  • Can produce aloe gel, which has numerous uses (it can treat sunburns, stop itching from bug bites, treat cuts/scrapes, moisturize dry hands, and kill bacteria).

Aloe will also help to purify the air in an office space. If kept in a wide container with a well-draining potting mix, it should also produce the incredible gel directly through its variegated leaves. The aloe plant may not be as aesthetically pleasing as some others, yet it's one of the most beneficial and can survive year-round.

Number 1 - The Pothos Plant

The famous Pothos Plant is beautiful, easy to maintain, and fast growing.
The famous Pothos Plant is beautiful, easy to maintain, and fast growing.

There's a good chance you've seen a Pothos plant in an office building before. This hardy but small plant grows extremely quickly and is perfect on shelves and file cabinets. It may seem like a plan that requires constant maintenance, however Phobos are easy to trim and can survive switching from pot to pot as they grow.

Great For the Office Because They:

  • Are the most popular office plant in the world (your boss probably has one).
  • Have a lush green look that is pleasing to the eye.
  • Require almost no sunlight to grow.
  • Grow extremely quickly.

Perhaps the biggest reason why Phobos are so popular in office settings is their aesthetically pleasing leaves. They grow extremely fast and require almost no sunlight to survive, making them one of the best office plants to have around.

There are hundreds of plants that are perfect for any office. Many are great simply for their aesthetically pleasing looks, and others provide some real health benefits. Make sure to take some time to learn about the specific plant that you are considering to ensure years of it's pleasing benefits. Soon your office cubical will be a more relaxing place and you'll be breathing easier, quite literally.

Sources

"Using Houseplants To Clean Indoor Air." December 2007. University of Hawaii at Manoa. Retrieved December 8, 2017

"Olfactory Influences on Mood and Autonomic, Endocine, and Immune Function." April 2008. US National Library of Medicine. Retrieved December 8, 2017

What is your reasoning for wanting an office plant?

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    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for creating the list of plants. The information is interesting and the photos are lovely.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      You know, it's weird. We have an urban farm, and do quite well with crops, but I can kill an indoor plant in the blink of an eye. I'm beginning to get a complex about it. :) Thanks for the suggestions.