Cactus flourish with little water, because they store a lot of it, making them ideal low-maintenance plants to keep on your desk. In fact, they can die from too much water, so if you struggle with overwatering, the distractions of a busy work day could help your cactus to thrive. These prickly succulents are great in direct sunlight and happiest in a well-lit room. However, their spines could hurt pets or small children, and most are toxic to cats. If this is a concern for you, consider the pet-safe Fishbone or Christmas cactus.
Peace lilies are very adaptable and low-maintenance, with large leaves and striking white flowers. This makes them many people’s go-to houseplant. They are also great communicators, as their leaves sag when they need water. Water it whenever it looks sad, and your Peace lily will revive itself and revitalise your workspace. This plant is also a great natural air purifier, perfect for supporting a fresh, clean and calm work environment. But pet-owners beware: it is toxic to cats and dogs, so may not be as peaceful as it seems!
Hawthoria (commonly known as the ‘zebra’ plant) is a small succulent native to South America, but perfect for your desk. Zebra plants are both low-maintenance (requiring infrequent watering) and slow growing, so they won’t take over your office if you go on holiday. This stripey succulent is also non-toxic to cats, although it is spiky, so watch out if your furry friend likes to climb onto your desk and invade your work calls! Keep your spider plant in a bright area (without direct sunlight), and it will lift your spirits when it blooms golden flowers.
Monsteras are particularly effective at removing toxins from the air, and creating an office atmosphere that you feel ready to work in. They require some pruning, but Monsteras will happily live in low light. When placed in bright sunlight, they can grow large, heart-shaped leaves with distinctive ‘holes’, giving them the nickname of the ‘Swiss cheese’ plant. Monsteras can grow very large very quickly, however, so keep yours pruned to make sure it doesn’t evict you from your office! This plant is toxic to cats and dogs, so consider keeping it in a spot that is not easily accessible for pets.
Spider plants make great office plants, as they are drought resistant and excellent at removing harmful pollutants such as carbon monoxide from the air. The spider plant has a striking silhouette of spindly, spider-like leaves, which will sit well in the background of your work calls without distracting colleagues (unlike the Monstera, which has a habit of getting so big it steals the show!).
Aloe vera, like cactus, will thrive if you forget to water it, making this plant a friend for the busy (or forgetful) worker that’s too busy to remember to take care of a plant. Although beautiful to look at, you may be disappointed to find out that your favourite succulent is toxic to cats and dogs, so keep pets away from it to avoid a trip to the vets.
For more help with creating a great home workspace, check out our article on ‘How to make your work-from-home setup greener’.
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- Publication date
- 22 September 2022
- European Labour Authority | Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
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