For anyone that follows some of my Instagram stories or has seen any of my Facebook lives knows that I have a bit of an obsession with house plants. My office is slowly turning into a jungle and I love it! And since I’m always getting asked about which are the best plants to buy, I thought I’d write a blog post about it.
As someone who always killed every plant she was ever given, I started off with low maintenance plants and when they survived the first few months, I started to grow my little green family. Now my office is filled with all different kinds of plants, and I love sitting at my desk being surrounded by so much green.
So if you are wanting to bring some green into your office, here are my top picks for the best plants for your office with pictures of plants that I own and haven’t killed!
Sansevieria trifasciata, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, is one of the easiest plants to keep in just about any environment.
It’s slow-growing, so it won’t take over your desk space. It can grow to become quite large but I think it takes years.
It’s not fussy when it comes to how much light it needs (although it does need some light to survive) and it can get by on very little water too.
The best time to water it is when the soil feels dry.
Some people think orchids are hard to care for, but for the first few years of owning plants, these are the only things I could keep alive.
Orchids like bright, indirect light. Direct light can burn their leaves.
Instead of watering them like normal plants, I soak fill the pots full once a month with water, leave them for a few hours and then drain them. (This only works if they are planted in bark).
Don’t throw them away once all the flowers fall off. When the stem turns brown you can cut it off. The just be patient and in a few months a new one will grow and it will flower again.
My calathea plants are my absolute favourites. There are a number of different varieties and I love them all.
I was told they can be a bit tricky to care for but I don’t think so. I have three different varieteies and all three are still alive and well.
They don’t like bright light, so find somewhere that has plenty of natural but indirect sunlight.
Because these plants like to be kept fairly damp but not too wet, I fill the outer pot with gravel so that the water can drain. Leave them sitting in water and you’ll likely get root rot. If you have a water spray, the extra humidity will make them happy. And you’ll get extra points for watering them with rainwater instead of tapwater.
One thing I find really cool about them is how they fold their leaves in at night.
They really aren’t that fussy, I promise. Just look how beautiful they are…!
What isn’t there to love about this absolute beauty of a plant.
Ok, this one might be a little large for on your desk, but if you’ve got a bit of space in your office, a Monstera, also known as a Swiss cheese plant, will make you smile every time you see those large beautiful leaves.
These plants are pretty low maintenance. They prefer bright but indirect light, but they can often live in direct light too.
And when it comes to watering them, every 1-2 weeks is usually enough. When the top inch of the soil feels dry then it’s time to water it again.
Chamaedorea elegans, known commonly as the parlour palm is an extremely popular plant for indoor spaces because its easy to care for and is non-toxic to people and pets.
If you’re looking for a tall plant for your office, a tall parlour palm may be a lovely addition, as they can grow to almost 2 meters tall indoors. Or opt for a smaller version for your desk. They are very slow growers, so the size you choose won’t change too much.
They light bright, but not direct light, but can survive in lower light. Water them once a week when the soil starts to feel dry.
Pothos, also known as devil’s ivy, is one of the easiest plants to take care of.
This trailing plant is a fast grower, and thrives in almost any lighting conditions, even darker rooms that don’t get much sunlight and have lots of artificial lighting.
This plant actually likes to dry out in between watering, so when the soil feels dry, that’s you cue to give it another drink.
The vines can grow long and fast, so be prepared to trim them. Or if you’re ready for a fun project, place cuttings in water, watch them grow new roots and start a new plant.
The spider plant is another houseplant that is almost impossible to kill (although nothing is impossible).
They love bright light, but can survive in lower light. Water it regularly but don’t let it become soggy. Even if you forget to water it every now and then, it will forgive you.
Spider plants are non-toxic to humans and pets, although some forums say that they can be mildly hallucinogenic to cats, who sometimes like to play with and chew on them which can give them an upset stomach.
There are many types of philodendron, generally split into non-climbing and climbing varieties, some of which are often confused with Pothos because of their similar shaped leaves.
I’ve found them to be pretty easy to care for. They like bright shade. Too much sun and their leaves will start to burn. Too little and they will start to try and grow towards the light.
For watering, a bit like many of the other houseplants who originate from tropical climates, they like their soil moist but not too wet otherwise they will get root rot. I tend to top up the water if I notice the soil starting to get a little dry.
I couldn’t talk about houseplants and not include these little gems. (Well actually, I technically already did, as the snake plant is a succulent but because it’s much larger, it’s not what most people picture when you talk about these types of plants).
Succulents are another type of houseplant that you really have to try hard to kill, as they are really low maintenance.
They love bright sunlight, so placing them on a windowsill is the best spot. They don’t need to be watered regularly. Every 3-4 weeks should do the trick. When the soil is dry, it’s time to top them up again.
Succulents don’t love being crammed into pots with other plants, despite that being a popular way to display them (think wedding centrepieces). So if you want them to live a long time, you’re best to give them some personal space and let them have their own individual pots.
Spathiphyllum or peace lily isn’t actually a lily, but is a beautiful addition to add some tranquility to your office.
Another plant that comes in small to larger sizes, it loves shadier spots in the room with indirect light. It doesn’t like direct sun, so make sure it’s kept away from any bright window light that might burn the leaves.
You’ll know when it needs watering as it will start to droop, and you’ll notice the top of the soil will be drying up.
These are also a great plant for a bathroom, as they love the damp conditions.
Can You Buy Plants Online?
There are now a lot of companies selling plants online, and whilst the internet might seem like a strange place to buy plants, there are a number of companies who have built an amazing reputation and loyal following doing so.
Especially if you start to develop an eye for unusual or rare plants, like variegated montsera, Etsy can one of the best places to get cuttings of plants you might not find in your local garden centre.
If you’re based in the USA, The Sill is one of the best-known places to buy plants online. Not only do they have an amazing selection of plants, their website hosts online classes on how to care for them too.
For my UK based readers, Leaf Envy is one of my favourite websites for sending plant gifts. They even do a subscription box!!!
Choosing Pots For Your Plants
I keep most of my plants in the plastic nursery pots that they came in, and then find a slightly larger outer pot to put them in. The main reason for doing it this way instead of re-potting them directly into another pot is so I can easily check the health of the roots, and I can check to make sure there isn’t stagnant water sitting in the bottom of the pots. Especially for the calatheas, I put a small amount of gravel in the bottom of the outer plant pots so that any excess water can drain off.
For buying plant pots, I love to shop all around and buy mismatching ones. I especially love the selection on Made.com and if you’re in the UK, you can £30 off when you spend £300 with the code MADEFAB30 until 11/10/2020.