If you’ve ever fantasized about a tropical getaway while toiling away at your office job, you’re not alone. While you might not be able to leave your home or office any time you crave nature, surrounding yourself with a bit (or a lot) of greenery can be the next best thing. If you’re looking for plants that not only fit perfectly on your desk but also survive even when you forget to water them on a busy workday or neglect them over a long weekend, the options are aplenty. And if you want something a little funky, we’ve got that, too — aquaponic fish tank, anyone?
Here are some plants you’ll find to be resilient, appropriately sized, and fun as you create your own workplace oasis.
The average desk is anywhere from 48 to 70 inches wide and 30 to 36 inches deep. That’s not a massive amount of space to work with, so you’ll need to think small when it comes to your desk space.
Mini succulents, to start with, are easy to take care of, versatile, and adorable. A living stone succulent — so named because they look like actual stones — never grows beyond its tiny pot. A coffee mug succulent grows in a mug-shaped pot and fits in with stereotypical office culture. Another small plant option for your workspace is bamboo — the leafy wood stalks are resilient and come in several shapes and sizes to fit atop your desk.
In addition to succulents, there are other self-sufficient plants you could choose to decorate your desk. Air plants, for example, don’t require soil to live. They have tiny roots and spider-like leafy tendrils, and the soil-free plant receives nutrients from the dirt fibres and moisture floating in the air. It might sound like magic, but these little plants can be housed in glass bowls and do well with a simple misting two or three times a week. Plus, they love filtered and indirect sunlight, so as long as your workspace has windows, you’re set.
The informational site Small Business Trends gives other innovative ideas for workplace plants. They recommend the ecosphere, a round object filled with water, plant, and fish life. The sphere, which is about four inches wide, is a self-contained ecosystem, so it requires no maintenance.
Another out-of-the-box option is an Aquaponic fish tank, which is a fish tank that serves as a reservoir for a live plant. They come in all different shapes and sizes, and you can keep it sans-fish or you can add a beta fish to the small attached tank, combining an office plant with an office pet. As planting site Trees.com explains:
Water containing fish waste provides plants with nutrients needed for their vigorous growth. In return, the plants take up excess nitrogen, providing purified water, which goes back into the tank.
Fill out your desk landscape with leafy greens
For the most part, smaller often works better in an office environment — but if you’ve got the space, arranging your desk garden with a mix of smaller and larger plants provides a nice visual variety. Plus, larger plants with green foliage can bring a next-level lusciousness to your workplace garden.
Spider plants have green and white leaves that sprout like a bush. They love indirect light and prefer to dry out completely before their next watering. The same goes for devil’s ivy — their bright green waxy leaves are shaped like bells and overflow out of the pot, giving your workspace a tropical feel. Snake plants grow straight out of the pot with green and yellow leaves, adding a pop of colour to your office. Dividing the roots and regular pruning will keep a snake plant the perfect size for your desk.
If you don’t have time to curate the perfect selection of desk plants, you can purchase a pre-made set. If you have the means and want to go all in, you could splurge on a pre-made terrarium desk for about $US350 ($449). But for a more affordable option, plant sellers at The Sill offer a “plant parent” set for $US60 ($77). The set is specifically for new plant owners and comes with five to seven low-maintenance plants. The sizes range from three to six inches wide, which is just right for a starter desk oasis.