So, one thing I hadn’t considered until recently was having a plant or two in the office at home. As someone who has frequently had to throw out the remains of a plant that I’d decided to purchase I had pretty much given up on having green fingers and had eventually even purchased a couple of fake plants to brighten up a corner in the house. But after a bit of research I found that even I could keep some of the easier to care for plants alive. So what are the best plants for the office and why are real plants good for you?
As nice as they are to look at, fake plants do not come with any of the positive attributes that a real plant would offer. Adding a touch of green to an otherwise bare space both increases productivity and also helps to clean the air.
Benefits of Plants in the Home Office
Its well-known that plants produce oxygen from carbon dioxide however it’s probably not so well-known that plants can actually clean the air of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). In 1973, scientists at NASA identified 107 of these VOCs in the air inside the Skylab space station. The astronauts had been complaining of breathing difficulties and burning eyes which would later be recognized as symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome. An environmental scientist tested the use of houseplants to improve air quality and discovered that growing plants indoors actually helped to get rid of VOCs from the air.
As well cleaning the air, plants have been proven to reduce stress and increase productivity. Tests conducted by Washington State University found that productivity increased by 12% when plants were present.
When you’re working away in your home office it’s easy to forget the world outside so one small benefit of having a few plants is that it reminds you of the natural world and hopefully how important it is to look after it.
Best Plants to Have in the Home Office
There’s nothing worse than buying a plant only for it to die on you after a while. So which plants should I start with to get the benefits of having plants without too much work?
1) Lemon Balm
The Lemon Balm plant is really fragrant and can handle either lots of sun or minimal sun so really suitable for those home offices where you don’t get much sun or those where you get full sun a lot of the time (pretty much all home office types then)
It’s a real hardy plant so should handle missing the odd water but prefers to be kept moist.
It’s sweet smell has been shown to enhance moods so perfect for the home office which may have the odd stressful moment and to be fair, which one doesn’t!
2) Golden Pothos
This plant is one of the best air cleaning plants around and has the added benefit of being very easy to maintain.
As part of a study by NASA this type of plant was found to remove up to 73% of VOCs from a sealed chamber so perfect for an office.
It also doesn’t need too much light so will be great for the office where you may turn the lights off at five and not return until nine the next morning.
It can be potted as normal or good for a hanging basket. It loves soil on the dry side (so won’t be too bothered if you miss the occasional water).
3) Spider Plant
This one is one of the easiest to maintain, perfect for those hard to reach shelves or in a hanging basket.
It also is great with partial sun or shade making it ideal for a home office where there’s not much sun.
It’s also one of the best plants for cleaning the air and reducing stress. It also boosts humidity as well as decreasing dust in the air which makes for a cleaner office as well as reducing common allergy symptoms.
In fact, as plants go, this is probably perfect for the home office and a great plant to start off with. It doesn’t mind infrequent watering and manages on little more than fluorescent light. If only it could type!
4) Peace Lily
If you are one of those people who prefers a bit of color and some flowers then the peace lily would be a really good choice.
They love the shade and they are also very efficient at cleaning the air.
The NASA study found that the peace lily removed more VOCs from the air than nearly all other houseplants.
Other than ensuring the soil doesn’t completely dry out these plants are hardy so ensure drainage and check the soil every few days.
The philodendron is one of the hardiest of plants and so one of the easiest to look after.
Again, one of the top varieties for ridding the air of VOCs as well as being great at reducing carbon dioxide levels, so a great plant to have around.
Continued exposure to VOCs and higher carbon dioxide levels is known to be a cause of headaches, drowsiness and loss of concentration so having one of these plants in your home office would be perfect for creating a better atmosphere at work.
All it takes is to water it a couple of times a week and it should be good.
With all the benefits that these plants it’s a surprise that there are not more offices with plants. At least in your own home office you can surround yourself with one or two of these plants and as well as being nice to look at you will know that they are helping you get through the day.
Most of these plants should be available at your local garden centre and so all you need is to add a nice pot to match your decor and you are set up.
I think it’s always nice to have some greenery in an office but I must admit, I wasn’t aware of all the additional benefits that certain plants provide, they really are wonderful.
I hope you agree with my choice of plants for the home office. If you have any others please feel free to add it in the comments below. If you have any pictures of your home office plants please feel free to post them too. I would love to see them.