Keen to dress up your desk with a potted plant but not sure what’s practical? Here are some great low maintenance plants that thrive in an office environment.
This elegant lily is a common site on office desks. Its popularity stems from the plant’s easygoing nature - it’s tolerant of typical office conditions (low humidity, air conditioning, florescent lights). They only need to be watered once or twice a week and can be left up to two weeks without water over holidays. They produce beautiful white flowers with minimal care.
One for the boys: Devil’s Ivy
This plant has a dangerous-sounding name and doesn’t have any conspicuous flowers, so it’s a great way to oxygenate your surroundings without losing “man cred”. It can tolerate low light and dry air, and only needs to be watered about twice a week. It has long trailing vines with marbled leaves, making it a great plant to keep on top of a filing cabinet or bookshelf.
Add some colour to your work area with one of these vibrant South American jungle plants. Bromeliads grow on rain forest tree branches, so they prefer florescent office lights over natural direct sunlight. This plant needs a little more care than others on this list - it prefers frequent watering. Fill up the “urn” (the rosette of stiff leaves at the plant’s centre), changing the water about once a month.
Contrary to common belief, cacti do not need full sun to thrive - they are perfectly content with florescent office lighting. They have a very shallow root system, so can be kept in a small pot and won’t take up much space. Although you should aim to water them once a week, most cacti can survive up to a month in the office over holidays without water.
These East African beauties come in a variety of colours. They are compact and neat, making them ideal for a small, crowded desk. African Violets do well under florescent light, but aren’t suitable for offices which don’t switch lights off overnight - they need at least eight hours of darkness a night to produce flowers. Water from the bottom up by keeping the pot in a water-filled bowl or tray.
Cyclamen are short-lived flowering plants which produce stunning blooms in pink or white. They last about a month and provide an instant splash of colour and fragrance. Like African Violets, they prefer to be watered from the bottom up. Cyclamen have a fast turnover of leaves and flowers, so you'll need to regularly pick off any dead or dying bits to avoid a mess in your work area.
Where can you find these plants in your area?
Here are nurseries in Central Auckland recommended by fellow Localists.