The Best Indoor Plants For Australian Offices

A survey of 400 local workers suggests that more half of all Australian offices don’t have any plants on the premises. That’s part of the impetus for Plant Life Balance Day on March 2, which aims to encourage plants in the office. To kick off your own workplace greenery efforts, here’s 10 plants recommended for Australia.

Pictures by Ambius Indoor Plants

We’ve looked at the topic of cubicle-friendly plants before, but the listing put together by Nursery and Garden Industry Australia (NGIA) is much more specific to the Australian environment and what you might find in your local nursery. Here’s the NGIA picks and descriptions (which I haven’t edited or altered, having as I do an uncanny ability to kill plants of all types).

Desk plants

Bromeliads: Bromeliads come in a variety of shapes, sizes and foliage colours, and are hardy indoor plants which also grow well outdoors. They enjoy warmth and humidity, but must also have good air movement. The frequency of watering depends on the office climate as they need extra care and attention during hot weather or heated conditions.

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum): Peace Lilies are one of the most popular office desk decors because of their attractive, glossy foliage and frequent blooms. They prefer moist conditions and leaves will brown if the plant is not getting enough humidity. To keep your Peace Lily in top condition, keep away from direct sunlight as they prefer lower levels of light.

Mother-in-law’s Tongue (Sansevieria): Mother-in-law’s Tongue is a linear, architectural plant with stiff, upright leaves that can grow up to two metres tall. It’s the perfect desk plant for those who have little time because of its ability to withstand most conditions. If treated right, a Mother-in-law’s Tongue can last for years.

Walking Iris (Neomarica bicolour gracillis): Walking Irises, also known as Apostle Plants, are attractive, hardy indoor plants with arching, sword-like leaves that can grow up to 60cm long. They grow delicate, fragrant, orchid-like flowers at the tips of its stems which only last a day. They require plenty of moisture and look stunning as indoor plants.

Mixed Garden: These multi-grouped plantings are designed for desk tops and reception areas where lighting is usually medium to high. Ensure tables and workstations are protected from water damage or scratches by using a cork mat or velcro tape.

Floor plants

Madagascar Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata): Dragon Trees are attractive indoor plants widely used in home, office and commercial décor. They have tall snake-like trunks which can grow up to three metres high while their green and pink leaves beautify any indoor space. They perform best in a well-lit environment to maximise leaf colouring.

Zanzibar Gem (Zamioculcus zamiifolia): Zanzibar Gems are the ideal office plants for busy workers because they can grow in dry, shaded areas, tolerate an amazing amount of neglect and are virtually impossible to kill. They have an unusual, striking foliage with thick tube-like stems that will brighten up any office. Water less during winter and keep the leaves clean by wiping them with a damp cloth.

Yucca (Yucca elephantipes): Yuccas are one of the most versatile and hardy indoor foliage plants. They have long woody stems and large strappy leaves which add architectural flare to any office. They prefer high levels of light and tolerate neglect rather well.

Janet Craig (Dracaena deremensis): Janet Craigs are tall plants with dark green, glossy leaves with a tolerance to lower light conditions, making them the most popular Dracaena used indoors. Janet Craigs are ideal to place in the office corner, away from walkways where they can get damaged by passing traffic.

Fiddle-leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata): Fiddle-leaf Figs are hardy, tropical looking plants with long stems and large glossy leaves. They are among the trendiest indoor plants to have right now with office fitouts. The frequency of watering depends on the amount of light the plant gets. Plenty of light is recommended as low light conditions causes the plant to stretch.

Which plants work best in your office? Give us the benefit of your green thumb in the comments.

Have you subscribed to Lifehacker Australia's email newsletter? You can also follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.