We'll admit to trying everything from avoiding checking our emails in the morning to taking short five-minute walks around the office every hour in the name of boosting our productivity. So it goes without saying that we're pretty excited about our latest discovery (which is also one of our simplest yet): plants. As it turns out, bringing the outside in can do wonders for improving your office's air quality, your mental health, and your productivity, of course.
To reap all the benefits of sharing our workspace with a green deskmate, we turned to our go-to source for plant-related advice, Greg Salmeri, co-founder of Rolling Greens Nursery. From how to select low-maintenance plants that will thrive in an office environment to how to keep them alive over a long holiday weekend, we asked Salmeri all about indoor plantcare basics (and to be honest, his hack for watering plants while out of office is borderline genius).
Ahead Salmeri weighs in with his picks for the best office plants (and shares his foolproof tips for keeping them alive).
What factors should I consider when choosing a plant for the office?
"Definitely consider lighting (low versus bright), first and foremost. And keep in mind any additional environmental and spatial elements that could affect growth, like A/C vents, airflow, low water– versus high water–use plants, and the plant's growth habit (think: tall versus wide)."
What are some low-maintenance plants that will thrive on my desk?
"Our go-to recommendations for office plants are snake plants (sansevieria trifasciata), ZZ plants (zamioculcas), pepper elders (Peperomia), dumb canes (dieffenbachia), and golden pothos (epipremnum aureum)—they will all thrive on your desk."
What if I'm looking for a plant that'll clear the air?
"Popular air purifying plants (per NASA's clean air study circa 1989) include aloe vera, Chinese evergreens (aglaonema), dumb canes, English ivy, peace lilies, golden pothos, rubber plants, spider plants, and snake plants. Good air quality is so important for productivity in the office."
Do you have any tips for watering?
"Before leaving for a long weekend, make sure to give your plant a generous soak. If you plan to be gone for longer than a few days (hello, Christmas break!), consider filling a tray with water and placing it underneath the plant so that it can absorb water as needed.
"Throughout the day, it's always a smart idea to have a spray bottle handy to give your plants a mist every now and then. Even plants that don't need high humidity appreciate a shower once in awhile so they can breathe better (they 'breathe' through their leaves, after all)."
What's the number one mistake to avoid when caring for an office plant?
"Be fair to your plant. Make sure not to overwater or ignore your new 'officemate.' If it looks like your plant isn't doing so well, try moving it to a different part of the office or maybe put it outside for a few days to rejuvenate."
And now, shop pots and planters to bring the outside in.