Houseplants for Office Spaces

By Minter Country Garden


Back-to-work and back-to-school schedules will soon be upon us and, with them, we will inevitably be spending more time indoors. We do not, however, need to be in the great wide open to surround ourselves with plants! Placing several in our work and study spaces can improve the aesthetic and air quality of the area, while also improving our focus and productivity, too.

Plants in the Office

We often look to houseplants in January and February to lift our spirits, but they can really be enjoyed year round, and late summer is a great time to add to your collection. Office spaces are a bit more challenging for tropicals though, given that they often have less natural light, less humidity, and less of an opportunity to control the indoor environment. During fall and winter, houseplants appreciate as much light as possible, cooler temperatures (around 16.5-18°C), and high humidity, all of which are hard to achieve when you’re working in a large, shared space (especially when Judy from accounting is always cranking the thermostat).

Above: Spider plant
Above: Pothos; below: Snake plant

Best Plants for the Office

Given the special conditions of an office space, we’ve selected our top candidates to survive, and thrive in the working environment. They might not be the darlings of Instagram, but they’ll require little work on your part to grow well and look great!

Spider Plants: Attractive, variegated foliage and super easy to grow, Spider Plants are right at home in lower light, lower humidity locations.

Pothos: Lovely, large heart-shaped leaves that tolerate a wide spectrum of light levels. There’s a reason pothos has been a go-to indoor plant for decades!

Philodendrons: Stands up to lower light and humidity, all while offering a lush, tropical feel.

English Ivy: This tough trailer is a fantastic air cleaner and is quite happy in shady spots. And, no, it won’t take over the office.

Snake Plants (Sansevieria): This one pops up a lot online and in design magazines, and for good reason. Not only does it add a great structural element, it tolerates low light, requires little water, and is very easy to grow.

Dracaenas: A popular indoor plant. ‘Janet Craig’ does well in lower light.

Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen): While they do appreciate a bit more light and humidity, Chinese Evergreens do quite well in indoor environments.

ZZ Plants: Tolerate lower light levels and, as they store moisture in their bulging roots, they don’t require a lot of water. They also have a unique form!

Peace Lilies: One of the best air-cleaning plants! This flowering plant is happy in low light as long as it’s kept slightly moist and not left to dry out.

Anthuriums: Very long blooming and unique as they can be grown in vases with just water. Give them as much filtered light as possible and, when in a pot, keep the soil lightly moist.

Regulating Water Levels

As a general reminder and caution, watering is where most of us get into trouble. In late fall and winter the golden rule is: tropical plants must be rootbound in their pots so that you can easily moisten the soil thoroughly with warm water, but any excess water will run off quickly. Saturated soils that dry out slowly will rot roots and hasten the demise of your plants.

To get a sense of moisture levels, pick up small plants and feel their weight. If they feel heavy, they are wet, but if they feel light, they are dry. After doing this for a while, you’ll soon be just like the pros who can pick up any potted plant and tell immediately if it needs moisture. For plants in big pots, a quality moisture meter is helpful.

Remember: in winter, it may be a week, ten days or even two weeks between waterings, and that’s okay. This is a plant’s ‘slow season’, so it won’t need as much. The same rule applies to feeding. Feeding is not necessary in late fall or winter; only feed during the active growing season (usually March through to September).


Above: ZZ plant; left: peace lily

Offices with Bright Light

Should your office be bathed in lots of bright, indirect light, your options do increase, but remember that the level of light will decrease somewhat in winter, so you may wish to stick with those that don’t mind shadier conditions. As tempting as it may be to include succulents in your collection because of their low water requirements, they do need a lot of light and, as such, tend not to fare well in workspaces.

So, what are you waiting for? Stock up your window sills and desktops with some gorgeous plants and brighten up your workspace. Who knows… your next great idea may even be inspired by your new, silent partner!


We can do the potting! When you visit our store and find the perfect pot and the perfect plant, we’re happy to plant it up for you for a nominal fee. Just ask a team member for assistance!