The Best Plants for an Office

Plants can add affect, color and a touch of the outdoors to any office. Large plants can provide a sense of drama to the setting, but you'll still benefit even you only have enough space to set a small plant on top of your file cabinet. In addition to their beauty, plants filter the air by using carbon dioxide to produce more oxygen. Certain plants will even benefit the air you breathe by removing specific chemicals from the environment.

English Ivy

English Ivy is a cascading plant that is attractive in a hanging basket or when allowed to trail from a pot situated high off the floor. It thrives in medium or filtered light, as too much direct sunlight may cause its leaves to become pale. English ivy lives well in peat moss, as it allows for good drainage. Fertilize every other month with a mixture of one teaspoon of a 20-20-20 fertilizer per gallon of water. Keep roots moist, but not wet. Weekly watering is sufficient.


Philodendrons come in a number of different leaf shapes and various shades of green. This plant's shiny leaves will sustain their sheen with just an occasional misting. Plant it in a container that allows thorough draining. Water it until it begins to drain, then withhold water until the soil becomes dry again. Philodendrons require low to medium light. Fertilize every four to six weeks with a soluble houseplant fertilizer.

Rubber Plant

This plant's large, thick, shiny, leaves of dark green or claret can provide a dash of color to any office. The rubber plant needs medium to dim light, but requires watering once or twice a week. The soil should be kept moist at all times. This plant helps remove formaldehyde from its environment. Fertilize your rubber plant with soluble houseplant food in the spring and fall. Keep away from drafts.

African Violet

The African violet produces dramatic pink, blue and purple flowers and the velvety leaves add texture to the modern office. African violets require little space and they will flower persistently if given the proper care. African violets flourish under fluorescent lighting during the day, but keep the office dark at night. Place 1 or 2 inches of stones at the bottom of your pot and water from the bottom to avoid getting the leaves wet. Fertilize monthly with commercially prepared African violet food or with a 20-20-20 fertilizer.

Boston Fern

In addition to its eye-catching appeal, the lacy fronds of the Boston fern will add humidity to your office space. It is also one of the best plants for removing air pollutants from its environment. The Boston fern needs lots of indirect sunlight, so it will grow well near a window. This plant requires lots of moisture so keep it away from heating vents and mist it regularly. Place 2 inches of stones on a plant saucer, fill the saucer with water, and place the potted Boston fern on the gravel, keeping the saucer filled for constant humidity. Feed the plant monthly with a 10-10-10 liquid houseplant fertilizer.

Keywords: houseplants, office plants, low light plants, environment-friendly plants

About this Author

Susan Steen graduated from the University of New Orleans, where she earned a B.A. in sociology and a certification in social work. She has been a freelance and contract writer for 22 years. Her work has been published in “Evidence Technology Magazine,” “Louisiana Bar Journal,” the Cobblestone children’s educational publications “Faces” and “Appleseeds,” the Waterford Literacy Program, and a variety of websites.