Plants for an Office

Indoor plants are a valuable part of a healthy office environment, because they remove toxins from enclosed air spaces as they replenish oxygen. However, many offices are not plant-friendly. One reason is that the available natural light is usually low or nonexistent. Some plants actually thrive in these low-light conditions. Many will even bloom beautifully in low-light office surroundings, providing real mood enhancement to accompany their air-cleaning abilities.

Spider Plant

For an office with a small amount of natural light, a spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is an excellent choice. These plants are usually grown in a hanging pot so the grass-like leaves can cascade over the edges. Spider plant leaves will turn brown if they are exposed to too much natural light, even if it is indirect. An office with a small window and bright artificial lights is ideal for a spider plant. These conditions will also encourage new "baby" spider plants to grow. The new plants dangle from stalks over the edges of the container. Snip them from the parent plant, and put them in a new pot; they will root and grow. If the air is dry you may need to mist a spider plant occasionally. Allow the soil to become almost dry between waterings. (Ref 1, 2, 3)


Ivy (Hedera helix) tolerates the very lowest of lighting conditions. It thrives in deep shade outdoors and will grow nicely in a corner of your office. Ivy grows best with minimal care. Water it once a week and it will be happy. If you would like to have an unusual plant display in your office, try growing ivy on a small wire topiary frame. Ivy likes to climb. A wire topiary frame will give it support with style, making your plant a real conversation piece.

African Violet

African violets (Saintpaulia species) will grow in indirect light or under bright artificial light conditions. They bloom reliably and are available in many colors. The fuzzy leaves are interesting, and the velvety flowers grow in clusters that last for many days. African violets often bloom continuously for weeks, with a fading flower cluster being replaced almost immediately by the next cluster. Keep an African violet out of drafts and away from air vents. Use a quality potting mix that allows good drainage, and you can avoid problems with soggy roots. Water African violets regularly, and be sure to keep their leaves dry. African violet food will meet the specific needs of these cheerful little plants.

Peace Lily

A peace lily (Spathiphyllum) thrives under artificial light or indirect natural light. It will even grow and bloom in a dark corner. The glossy leaves of a peace lily are long ovals, sometimes pointed at the tips. The flower stalk grows from a leaf node. The flower is a white anther surrounded by a single white cupped spathe, or leaf-like petal structure. Peace lilies are native to rainforest floors, so they prefer moist soil. A peace lily will also grow in a large, clear vase of water. Allow a colorful Betta fish to live in the vase. The fish will feed on the roots, with some supplemental Betta food on the side.

Keywords: office plants, low light plants, plants in artificial light, office plants in poor light, best plants for offices

About this Author

Fern Fischer writes about quilting and sewing, and she professionally restores antique quilts to preserve these historical pieces of women's art. She also covers topics of organic gardening, health, rural lifestyle, home and family. For over 35 years, her work has been published in print and online.