Office Plants That Don't Need Sunlight

Many office workers like to accent indoor spaces with live plants. There are several issues to consider for plants to thrive inside an office--it stays a constant temperature, the air is usually relatively dry from air conditioning units and there aren't many windows to let in sunlight. Most offices however are lit by fluorescent tubes that can provide ample lighting for low light-loving tropicals that do not require high humidity or day to night temperature fluctuations.

Snake Plant

Sansevieria trifasciata, commonly known as a snake plant or mother-in-law's tongue is a very adaptable houseplant that is not too picky about light. It originates in the western tropical deserts of Africa but is now commonly found in almost any floral shop or houseplant retailer. The dark green leaves are long stiff and thick, sometimes with white stripes on the edges. The leaves grow up to 5 feet tall and about two to three inches wide. They stick up straight out of the soil and are arranged in a rosette shape making the plant look similar to a vase. They like a well draining soil and can tolerate dry conditions. Small plants and dwarf varieties can be used on desktops larger plants are better on the floor in corners and in lobbies.

Chinese Evergreen

Aglaonema commutatum, commonly known as Chinese evergreen, is a compact growing plant with 9- to 12-inch long glossy green leaves that are produced on stems that can reach up to 4 feet long on well grown mature plants. Indoor low light conditions produce a smaller plant. Many different cultivars have been developed with variegated, silver or red veins in the leaves. They will tolerate almost any type of soil but do not like to be soggy. Let the plant dry out slightly before watering.

Rubber Plant

Ficus elastica, commonly known as the rubber plant or Indian rubber tree is a member of the fig family and is native to south East Asia. Growth habit is a tree that can get 6 to 10 feet tall with very dark green thick leathery leaves that are 5 to 10 inches long. Rubber plants prefer full sunlight but will do well under normal fluorescent office lighting. Use regular indoor houseplant potting soil and let the it dry out slightly between waterings. Taller specimens may need to be staked to remain upright as they get taller. Avoid placing this plant in entryways where it might receive cold drafts that will cause it to drop all of it's leaves. The white sticky sap is toxic if ingested.

Keywords: snake plant, chinese evergreen, rubber plant

About this Author

Brian Albert has been in the publishing industry since 1999. He is an expert in horticulture, with a focus on aquatics and tropical plants like orchids. He has successfully run an aquatic plant business for the last five years. Albert's writing experience includes the Greater Portland Aquarium Society newsletter and politics coverage for a variety of online journals.