It’s Time for Indoor Plants!

Now that house plants are so in vogue, it seems almost boring to post about them.

So today I thought I would talk about bringing plants to work for a change. Office plants face an even more challenging environment than our homes. Our homes are usually hot and dry or perhaps like some of the homes here in New England, cold and drafty. But one real benefit homes have over offices is that they have windows. Lots of offices have very few–if any windows.

And while it is possible to grow some plants under office fluorescent lights, if you have a LEED certified office, you might not even have those–you might, instead, have LEDs. And those are not well suited for plants.

So what to do? First, as always, consider your conditions. Is you office bright or dark? And if it is bright, why? Are you blessed, as I am, to have natural light? This is what I am able to grow on my windowsills.

But most people aren’t so lucky. It is, in fact, the rare office that is sunny enough to grow cacti! I also have an anthurium in another part of my office, and way against a back wall, so it doesn’t burn, I have the air cleaning pothos plant.

So you see, I have some rather un-traditional plant choices at my workspace (except for the pothos, which I inherited).

What should you do if you are stuck in one of those interior offices without a window? I would definitely experiment.

Try plants that if they start to do poorly you wouldn’t mind taking home and living with in your house. For some good examples of low light plants, your garden center should have some suggestions to start.

But since many of us will be doing more shopping than we care for in the next few weeks, look around if you are in an enclosed mall. Yes, you’ll see more poinsettias than you’ve ever seen in your life. But beyond those, what are the “foundation” plants?

I’ll bet you see a lot of ficus (probably not a great office choice), dracenas (a much better choice), snake plants (also a fabulous choice–and there are some great varieties out there), ZZ plants (also good) and perhaps some smaller plants like diffenbachias, calatheas and aglaeonemas.

Take note of the mall conditions: hot and dry? Cold and dry? Drafty? You know it will be poorly lit (from a plant’s perspective, at least). How much like your office is it?

And different parts of the mall will have different conditions. Some may have skylights (don’t forget to look up for that, particularly if you are there at night).

Who said shopping has to be dull?

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