The Best Office Plants to Bring Life to Your Desk


Desk plants are the perfect way to bring color and life to any workspace. Not to mention, most plants can survive in any area of the office, from a cubicle to a desk by a window in a corner office. But the key is to get the right plant for the right situation and place it in an environment conducive to it.

Indoor plants are meant to thrive inside, without the natural elements provided from Mother Nature. This makes indoor plants the best option to bring life to your desk. The amount of natural light and temperature are two important factors to consider in choosing a plant for your desk, as well as what kind of care you’ll be able to provide. 

This article breaks down the main points you need to know about each of the office plants listed, including light requirements, water requirements, and what makes each plant a good choice to bring life to your office space. Keep reading to find the best office plants to bring life to your desk. 

What Makes a Good Office Plant?

Plant LocationDurabilityUniqueness
Aim for getting an indoor plant because they thrive better indoors.Outdoor (and wild) plants may not survive indoors because they need better sunlight, etc.Some plants are able to grow in either condition (whether inside or outside).The plant should survive a certain amount of neglect, generally either from sun or water.Easy to care for – It should not wither and die because it has not received water in a few days.Plants that need a lot of soil for their roots are not good choices as office plants due to limited space.Variegation – This refers to different colored patches on the leaves of some plants that appear naturally (not as a result of any disease)Foliage – The plant’s foliage should pop and look interesting.Diverse – This characteristic refers to plants that grow in diverse shapes and patterns.Colorful – Colorful plants are just good for the aesthetics of the office.

The Best Office Plants to Bring Light to Your Desk

The following are great options as plants that can be placed on your office desk. Each plant on this list was chosen because of a unique visual appeal, durability, and ease of maintenance. Given these characteristics, these plants can bring light to your desk:

  • Cactuses
  • Air Plants
  • Devil’s Ivy
  • Jade Plants
  • ZZ Plant
  • Spider Plants 
  • Aloe Vera
  • Snake Plants
  • Hoyas
  • Lucky Bamboo
  • Peace Lilies
  • Red Aglaonemas
  • Rex Begonia
  • African Violet
  • Peperomias

Cacti

Cactuses are honestly some of the easiest plants to care for. They are usually very resilient and can adapt to the environment they find themselves in. Also, different cactus species can all grow together in the same pot so that you can have various cactuses displaying in your office at a time.

Light RequirementsWater RequirementsAdditional Care
They thrive in natural light.More sunlight is always good.Cactuses can still burn from too much heat and sunlight. Avoid overexposure to sunlight.Do not place them in hot glass windows. Your desk is the best location to place them.Water it once a week during Spring and Summer.Water it once every three weeks during Fall and Winter.Make sure that the soil dries out completely before watering the plant again.Overwatering will lead to waterlogging and rot in the roots of the plant.Trim brown stems with clean scissors

Air Plants

The main unique feature of air plants that cause us to gravitate towards having them in an office space is that they don’t need soil to survive. They are fascinating beauties, and while they may seem to require more maintenance because of their watering needs, they are not messy or difficult to take care of. 

Also, air plants can be set up in cool places. They could be hung up in a room or placed inside a container that allows air to flow freely through it and put up on a wall in the office. Alternatively, they could just be placed on a desk on top of decorative gravel.

Light RequirementsWater RequirementsAdditional Care
They do not do well in low light or direct sunlight.They like bright and indirect light the most.Spray or dunk plant in water.Water (spray or dunk as mentioned above) for 15 minutes1-2 times a week in a moderately humid climate Maintenance varies based on the specific air plant. Ask an expert about specifics for the plant you purchase.

Devil’s Ivy (Pothos)

The biggest thing these plants have going for them is the convenience they offer in acquiring one. They are affordable and easy to find. Besides this, they are low maintenance and look different from other plants, giving any space a unique look to it.

Light RequirementsWater RequirementsAdditional Care
Pothos plants can tolerate both very dark spaces and brightly illuminated spaces (any lighting)Moderate lighting is the sweet spot for this plant. This is especially true if there is variegation in the leaves of the plant.Pothos can survive not being watered frequently.As a general rule of thumb, they should be watered at least once every 7 to 10 days in the warmer monthsWater them once every 14 days in the colder months.Note that droopy leaves mean your devil’s ivy is thirsty, whereas yellow leaves mean receiving too much water. 

Jade Plants 

Jade plants have thick fleshy leaves that are pleasing to see atop your desk every day. If you are looking for something a little different for your office space, you can also bonsai these plants. These also come in a variety of shapes. They are ideal for a workspace with a lot of lighting in the office.

Light RequirementsWater RequirementsAdditional Care
Jade plants can sit anywhere in the office that is illuminated.Jades do need as much light as they can get.The optimum amount of light you can give your jade plant is 6 hours if you want it at its best.Jades do not thrive at all in low light conditions, so avoid dark corners of the plant’s office. Do not water this plant until the soil has dried out completely.You will want to water it thoroughly no more than every 2 to 3 weeks in the warmer monthsAlso, water them once every four to five weeks in the colder months (fall and winter months).As succulents, Jade plants store water in their roots, stems, and leaves, so they are subject to root rot when kept too wet.

ZZ Plant

Besides being an easy to maintain plant, the glossy foliage of the ZZ plant makes it an attractive addition to your desk and attracts the attention of onlookers when they pass by. ZZ plants are often viewed as low-light plants, but they will not thrive in this kind of lighting condition in truth.

Light RequirementsWater RequirementsAdditional Care
In low-light, if they will grow, it will not be very much at all.Instead, a ZZ plant will thrive in environments with moderate to bright lighting.  In these kinds of lighting conditions, they will look their best. The ZZ plant can survive on a thorough watering once every 2 to 3 weeks in the summer and spring seasonsIt survives one watering every 4 to 5 weeks in the fall and the winter.This plant is strong and does not need water frequently, just like a cactus plant. This is because you live in a temperate climate where there is moderate humidity most of the time.If it’s been a while since you’ve watered it and its leaves start to fall off, water it, and it should be fine. 
 

Spider Plants

Besides the popularity of these plants as being very trendy to have hung up around any indoor space, these flowers are also known for their air-purifying properties. Of course, to reap the benefits of the air purification, you would need to hang up a couple of these spider plants in the office and not just one.

Light RequirementsWater RequirementsAdditional Care
They like indirect light, so they still do well in dark, windowless offices.When your spider plantOpens in a new tab. is first growing, water it occasionally, waiting for the soil to dry out between watering. Although you want the soil to dry out, do not allow it to become completely dry before watering the plant again. After this period of initial growth, usually about a year, start watering the plant moderately instead. Keep the soil moist to encourage growth but do not allow the soil to be waterlogged. Spider plants prefer moderate temperatures between 55 degrees and 80 degrees Fahrenheit which makes them ideal for indoors.You can fertilize your spider plant one or two times in a month 

 Aloe Vera

Aloe Veras has much more to offer us than just the nice way they will look propped up on your office desk. The leaf’s gel has numerous applications, and a leaf can be cut off and used. Even in an emergency, it can treat skin irritations.

Light RequirementsWater RequirementsAdditional Care
Aloe Veras needs as much light as possible.It likes direct sunlight.So, it can be near a sunny window but should not be placed in it.Don’t place it in a window facing the sun that will be hot because of the sun’s consistent exposure; that heat will burn the plant.It does not like low light conditions at all. The leaves will droop downwards if the lighting is poor, and the plant has not received the amount that it needs. They do not like water too much. It’s worse to give it too much water than to give it too little water.Allow the Aloe Vera to dry out before watering it nearly. Water it thoroughly when you water it, and then make sure that this water drains out. It can even be watered once a month in warm climates.It can thrive on even less water in the winter. It can go for 4 to 8 weeks without being watered. Over-watering would cause the roots to rot out easily.Aloe veras prefer milder temps, usually between 60-80 degrees. 

Snake Plants

These plants can survive in low light levels and through a drought and still look stylish with the smart way in which they grow vertically within their pot on your desk. They come in a variety of colors and foliage patterns, forms, and sizes. They are just the right plants for anyone who travels a lot or tends to ignore plants. 

Light RequirementsWater RequirementsAdditional Care
Snake plants are very versatile in the area of lighting.While they prefer medium lighting, they can also survive quite well in low lighting situations and, in contrast, in very-bright, high lighting situations.The only type of lighting that snake plants do not like at all in direct sunlight. Make sure to keep these plants away from direct sunlight, easily burn their leaves, and cause the plant to wither. Snake plants frankly do not like water very much at all. Too much, and the plant will rot out.Only water this plant when the soil has completely dried out. This can take anywhere between 2 to 6 weeks, depending on the conditions of your office’s light levels, temperature and humidity.Snake plants like to have their leaves gently wiped down with a dry cloth. 

Hoyas

Hoyas are easy to maintain, long-lasting, durable, and very attractive.  They have a great leaf form and color that can make any office space looks alive. They tend to spread out and trail a little, though, so they should be given space on the desk to grow.

Light RequirementsWater RequirementsAdditional Care
These plants need sunlight and a good intensity of it: they thrive in bright natural light.It is fine to place this plant near a well-lit window but avoid placing the plant in it. Keep the plant away from hot sunny windows and away from the direct impact of the noonday sun. Hoyas behave like succulents in the watering department, but they are not succulents themselves.They prefer to be watered when they are almost dry.Like a succulent, you can usually get by on watering them weekly or once every two weeks. You can stretch out to once every three weeks in the winter.The right time to water them will depend on the soil mix in which they are planted (its ability or its inability to retain moisture), the temperature in your office, and the size of the pot (smaller pots need watering more often). If your Hoyas are getting too long, you can trim them back and propagate to make new plants. 

Lucky Bamboo

This is a trendy plant, and it is a great starter plant for a beginner. It is easy to keep these plants looking good, and they are different from the typical office plants you might commonly see. Also, lucky bamboo can be found in many forms, from straight stalks to twisty stalks, woven and intertwined with each other.

Light RequirementsWater RequirementsAdditional Care
“Lucky” bamboo, like many of the plants in this list, is not too picky about the lighting conditions in which it finds itself.It does great in bright light conditions. However, it will tolerate lower light levels without withering, though it will not grow too much.Avoid putting these plants in direct sunlight because they will definitely burn and die quickly. With lucky bamboo, the roots of the plant must remain completely covered in water.Add a bit of water whenever you notice the water level on the roots going down. This could be anywhere between 7 to 21 days, depending on the office (temperature, humidity, etc.).These plants are particular to the kind of water they are soaked in.If the water around the plant smells bad, pour it out and replace it with fresh water.Distilled water is preferred, especially if you know that your tap water has many chlorine or other minerals in it.Keep an eye out for browning or yellowing stems and cut away as soon as you notice discoloration. 

Peace Lily

This flower has a very visually pleasing dark green color to it and glossy foliage that causes this flower to pop. Above all, a plant with bloomed flowers has bright white flowers that complement the dark green beautifully.

Light RequirementsWater RequirementsAdditional Care
If you wish to see flowering in the peace lily plant, it will need brighter light to induce this.The peace lily prefers moderate or medium light and does not like direct sunlight. They can tolerate lower lighting conditions, but they experience improved growth when they are in brighter lighting. This is one of the few plants on this list that needs to be watered with some consistency.Keep the soil moist but avoid over-watering the plant because this can also be more detrimental.Wait for the plant (that which protrudes outward from the soil) to dry up before watering the plant again.On occasion, mist the leaves of the peace lily.It is advisable to purchase the plant with blooms and buds already formed because it is tricky to get them to bloom again indoors.

Red Aglaonema

When it comes to coloring and patterning, the Aglaonema plant sets itself apart. It is different and adds an aesthetic touch to the office. In particular, the red aglaonema with its unique pink stems and reddish-pink leaf tips is a unique addition to an office space that is also not high-maintenance.

Light RequirementsWater RequirementsAdditional Care
Most Aglaonemas have a high tolerance for low light conditions.The ones that have more color and pattering in their foliage, such as the red aglaonema, prefer a bright light source, although they can still survive in lower light settings.They should still be kept away from direct sunlight, though, as this will burn the plant’s leaves.Water these plants when their soil becomes dry.This will be anywhere between 7 and 10 days in the warmer months and every 2 to 3 weeks during colder months.If your office is consistently cold (which many offices tend to be), you are usually safe to go with the latter.These plants love a little extra humidity. If your office is particularly dry, use a tray with rocks to provide some extra dampness in the air for your red aglaonema. 

Rex Begonia

The Begonia Rex is a bit finicky as compared to the rest of the plants on this list. It is a bit picky about the way it is watered and the nitrogen level it prefers. 

But what they lack in ease of maintenance, they make up for in visual appeal. The leaves on the Rex Begonia are so different and appealing that the flowers that bloom in the winter are often pinched off to encourage more leaf growth instead.

Light RequirementsWater RequirementsAdditional Care
The Rex Begonia is a fan of bright and indirect light.The upside to these plants is that they are not too picky about the source of light they receive. They respond well to both natural light and fluorescent light.These plants prefer high humidity, so it is more important than you are more consistent in misting the leaves than in watering the plant. About 55% humidity is ideal.Only water the plant itself when the soil the plant is in has dried out.The quality of the water is also important in that you should aim for distilled water.You also want to water the plant in a way that supports aggressive drainage. At least 20 percent of the water you put on the plant should drain out.High mineral salt content causes the edge of the Rex Begonia’s leaf to burn because the plant cannot deal with saltwater.The begonia should not be made to sit in the pot with water in it.Besides the water, it is also necessary to give the begonias plant feed occasion. Once a month, it will allow for good nitrogen production to get the leaves in full color. 

African Violet

These flowers are some of the most popular indoor plants worldwide. They thrive in the same conditions that people do, that is, average humidity and average temperatures. They flower several times a year, and they come with numerous leaf forms and colors. 

With experience, you can even get the African violet to flower the whole year and the petals to extend outward so that the flower is the size of dinner plates.

Light RequirementsWater RequirementsAdditional Care
The African violet does need sufficient lighting to bloom, but the light does not have to be a natural light source.This flower also does not have a natural light bias and will still flourish beautifully under fluorescent lighting.Keep the soil moist with warm water and aim for high humidity but, do not allow water (instead of mist) to touch the leaves to avoid damage.Besides misting the plant, if you want to water it, do it from below so that the water enters the soil directly.When the African violet goes dormant, the flowers will shrivel up and brown. Pinch these or trim them from the plant. 

Peperomias

These plants are tougher than they look and are available in a wide variety of leaf textures and colors, so they are a great pick for anyone who wants to add a little extra personality to their office space.

Light RequirementsWater requirementsAdditional Care
They do best in moderate to medium light conditions.They tolerate low light well but will not grow a lot.Water your peperomias once every two weeks in the warmer months.Water them once every 2-3 weeks in the colder months.Let it go almost dry before watering it again.These are very easy to propagate if your peperomias are getting unruly, trim, and put the cuttings in water. 

How do You Take Care of a Desk Plant

Each kind of plant has its own needs for water and light. But there are a few other things to keep in mind for taking care of a desk plant.

  • Most of these plants can exist in diverse lighting situations. However, none of these plants can take too much heat or direct sunlight without withering and dying, so keep these plants out of sun-facing glass windows that absorb the sun’s heat and become environments that are too hot.
  • If there is soil involved, aim for a soil mix that allows aeration and use a pot with drainage holes so that you do not end up drowning your plant.
  • This list mostly kept the number of blooming office plants to a minimum because many of these require extra care to experience blooms, but there are great options if you can provide good lighting for these plants.

Conclusion

Each of the plants discussed above has great characteristics, but which one you choose depends on your unique office space. Plants thrive in different environments according to their light and temperature preferences, so consider those before picking plants for your desk.

It’s hard to pass up the ones that look pretty, and you know they’ll bring life to your desk, but if they’re not just right for your office climate, they won’t survive. 

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