Bringing a bit of the outdoors in can have some great health benefits, both physical and mental. One easy, affordable way to do this is by adding a potted plant or two to your office space. After all, the average person spends more than 13 years at work during their lifetime. Why not experience lowered stress, boosted productivity and cleaner air during that time, with just one simple move? Here are five plants suited to the typical office environment -- and the basics on how not to kill them.
In the tough-to-kill category for their hardiness and their low water requirements, cacti can make for attractive decorative pieces. However, bear in mind that cacti need just the right amount when it comes to sunlight: exposure, but not direct. When it comes to watering, once a week suffices. But make sure it's a good drenching that lets the pot's drainage holes get a bit of a workout.
Also known as 'Dumb Cane' for its ability to numb the mouth and vocal cords of those unfortunate enough to ingest it, the dieffenbachia, while poisonous, is a thick-stalked, tropical-looking plant that's downright hard to knock off. It requires only medium amounts of sunlight (so if you've yet to land that corner office, no problem) and needs fertilizer only every two months. Water once a week or when the soil becomes dry to the touch.
Be forewarned, though, that this plant is a grower. Be prepared to give cuttings to your friends and family members if you don't want your workspace to end up looking like the bedroom in "Where the Wild Things Are."
If you're looking for a plant that's both easy to look after and beautiful, look no further than the peace lily. With its white, arrowhead-shaped spathes and rich green leaves, this plant is elegance in a pot. Though not truly a member of the lily family, the Spathiphyllum wallisii is low-maintenance, thriving in shade. Even better? It 'tells' you when it needs watering, and some experts even suggest waiting to water it until you see the plant begin to sag. If you're not sure your thumb's green enough to go that course, though, stick to a once-a-week watering schedule just to be safe.
This isn't the most gorgeous potted plant on our list, but it's incredibly resilient, easy to care for and has NASA-approved air-purifying powers. It only requires fertilizing every three months and watering approximately every 10 to 14 days. Because it's a 'trailing' plant, it does well hanging, as it needs a bit of room to spread out. It's adaptable in its sunlight needs; though it prefers bright light, it also does well in lower-light conditions, including artificial.
Though the money tree, the Pachira Aquatica, can grow up to 60 feet tall outdoors in its native Central and South American swamps, it stays manageable at anywhere from 3 feet to 6 feet when grown indoors. The money tree owes its name to a legend in which a man became wealthy after growing multiple trees from a single tree, and is said to be a token of financial good luck. While it may not make you rich, switching from a high-maintenance plant to this one could save you some cash. The money tree rarely needs pruning, requires minimal watering (about once a week, but make sure it's a good one), and can thrive in anything from full sunlight to partial shade.
Need chic, centrally located and affordable office space for those potted plants? Metro Offices, the leader in shared, virtual, and temporary workspace in and around DC, has nine prime locations. Visit one today!