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The 10 Best Plants for Your Desk at Work

Written by: phs Greenleaf

phs Greenleaf has been providing planting and landscaping services to businesses for over 25 years, including indoor and outdoor plants, artificial and live planting, living walls, grounds maintenance and Christmas trees and decorations.

The 10 Best Plants for Your Desk at Work

There’s nothing like a luscious green plant to brighten up any desk. Adding some greenery to your work environment not only looks good, it’s also proven to boost productivity, lower stress and improve air quality. It’s all part of the growing trend for ‘biophilic design’ which involves bringing the outdoors, indoors. By introducing nature into your environment, you can positively impact your mood, wellbeing and even your performance.  

If you’re all set on greening your desk, what plant should you be looking for? You may not realise it, but you have to be selective over which plant you pick as not all will thrive in a workplace environment. And if you choose a plant which needs a lot of maintenance or requires a particular temperature, humidity or level of sunlight to grow, you may be asking for trouble. Give plants the wrong conditions or treatment and you may end up with a sad, wilting or even dead plant which will not only be a waste of your time and money but will have the opposite effect than you originally intended.  

So what do you need to look for when you’re in the market for a perfect desk plant? Firstly, assess the environment it’s going to be living in. Can you offer it direct sunlight if you’re lucky enough to sit near a window or is the only light it’s going to get be artificial? Will it get any fresh air or are you sat right underneath the air conditioning? Is your workplace liable to get warm and humid or is it cooler and draughty? And how much maintenance are you willing to put into looking after your plant? Finally, think about how much space you can give it; if you’re space constrained, you may need it to stay small so it doesn’t overgrow its home on the corner of your desk. However, if you have a bit more room or can offer a shelf or an area near your desk for a large plant pot, you may be more open to a plant which can grow and flourish to fill the space.  

Now you have more of an idea about the home you can offer your plant, let’s look at 10 of the best plants for your desk, put together by our workplace landscaping and planting specialists at phs Greenleaf.  


  • Snake plant: A common office plant thanks to its hardy nature, the snake plant’s official name is the Dracaena. Snake plants vary in size and larger varieties grow to around 1.5 metres, making great feature plants. However, to be desk friendly, pick a smaller dwarf variety such as the Dracaena Fragrans which has striking white stripes running up its leaves. It’s slow to grow and requires little maintenance – just a regular drink and medium level of lighting.  


  • Sansevieria: For the ultimate in low maintenance, look for the humble Sansevieria plant which can survive for long periods even if you occasionally forget to water it, only requiring a drink every few weeks when the soil has dried out. As well as requiring little water, it isn’t fussy when it comes to light either – able to withstand direct sunlight or low light levels – and won’t flinch if it’s warm or cool. The Sansevieria has long, vertical leaves with a striking green and white pattern and scores highly for its air-purifying properties, helping to remove toxins in your workplace environment.  


  • Aglaonema: The Aglaonema plant is commonly known as the Chinese evergreen, symbolising long life. Easy to care for, the Aglaonema can tolerate low light levels and is watered sparingly – particularly in winter – making it perfect for an office desk. You can buy variations with colourful leaves but these require a bit more light and warmth. If you’re not sure, stick with the Aglaonema Jubilee variety with its green and white patterned sword-shaped glossy leaves.  


  • Guzmania: Popular due to their vivid colours, the tropical Guzmania is a prized, decorative plant. They are comparatively easy to care for, but they do require watering regularly and prefer bright, direct light, as well as some humidity so they’re not suited for dark, draughty spots. If you’re happy to give your Guzmania a little TLC, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning floral display which will brighten up your desk instantly. Colour selections include reds, yellows, pinks and purples.  


  • Anthurium: This indoor plant is characterised by its colourful heart-shaped spathes which add a stunning injection of colour amongst its dense green leaves. The Anthurium loves bright, indirect light but not direct sunlight making them ideal for window-clad offices. They need watering every one to two weeks – or whenever they dry out – with a few drops of fertiliser added fortnightly during the growing season. If your office air is particularly dry, they would benefit from a quick misting.  


  • Aspidistra:  If you struggle with plants, the Aspidistra will be right up your street. They’re often known as the Cast Iron Plant as they are near impossible to kill. With elegant, upright foliage, these plants are highly adaptable. While they’re not a fan of bright sunshine, they can tolerate any other light level – perfect if you’re in a north facing part of your building or can’t offer your plant any natural daylight. A slow grower, the Aspidistra doesn’t even mind irregular watering – in fact its biggest dislike is being over watered.  


  • Codiaeum Petra: The Petra is the most common of the Codiaeum Variegatum plant family with near-oval shaped green foliage and colourful veins. These plants are suited to warm locations with direct sunlight where they have plenty of room to grow, reaching a height of around 1.2 metres. The more bright light they get, the more colourful the leaves become.  


  • Peace Lily: The Peace Lily plant is simple but beautiful with lots of bright green leaves interspersed with white blooms. Renowned for removing toxins and improving air quality, they’re also a resilient plant for your desk. Peace Lilies are happy with medium to low light levels but bear in mind they’ll produce more flowers the more light they are exposed to. You’re more likely to overwater a Peace Lily than underwater it, so only water them if the top soil is dry – checking weekly. What’s more, they don’t even mind a draught. 


  • Spider Plant: These plants are common in homes and workplaces as they are so adaptable and easy to care for. Plus, their long thin palm-like leaves will add a tropical vibe to your desk. To look after, place in bright, indirect light and water regularly – allowing them to dry out between waterings.  


  • Cactus: If you’re prone to forget about your plants altogether, a simple Cactus might be your saviour. Slow growing and with no pruning requirements, these retain water for long periods so you don’t have to worry about regularly watering them. Simply place in a sunny spot.  

For all your workplace planting needs, from indoor desks and large planters to living walls, interior landscaping and even Christmas trees, you’ll find everything you need from phs Greenleaf. Explore our website today.

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