Office Plants

Naturalize Your Office Environment With Plants

Mankind was designed, created, evolved (take your pick!) to be surrounded by plants, not office equipment. However you think our species began, whether in the Garden of Eden or the plains of Africa, plants were everywhere. We ate them, used them to make tools, climbed up them and built shelters out of them.

The modern office environment is so alien to our natural origins in many ways, but the major one is lack of plant life in the close vicinity. You sometimes see the the odd splindly Spider Plant tucked away in the corner, and now and then the boss might even have a decent ficus growing in his lavish corner suite that gets plenty of natural light. But for the average pleb stuck Dilbert-like in a cubicle, grey, rather than green rules.

Where to position plants in an office

The best place to position plants would be next to a source of natural daylight such as a window or skylight but that is not always possible in modern large offices where you could be up to 30 m away from a window. If you find yourself right in the middle of the building with no natural light you can still surround yourself with beautiful plants. The key is rotating where the plants are positioned. It’s obviously best to choose types which do not need too much direct light such as ferns, Dracaena, Lucky Bamboo, spider plant, mother-in-laws’s tongue, Golden Pothos Vine, etc.

Obviously, these plants still need some natural daylight so what you would have to do is to position them next to windows or underneath skylights on a rotational basis. Ideally, you want to have twice as many plants in total rotation than you need. Half of the time half of the plants will be positioned in direct light positions or indirect light, depending on the species. The other half of the time they will be sat next to you at your desk.

It’s probably better to rotate the plants for one day at a time in each position. So one day all of your plants will be at the window, and the next those plants will be switched with the ones to occupy your desk space. Obviously this method of rotating plants in an office is for those areas that receive low light or no light at all and is not necessary for smaller offices with windowsills.

There is a second option with regard to light and that is to use grow lights. There are all sorts of types and varieties and you can even get those that look like standard desk lamps. Burpee.com make one called the ultimate grow light which would not look out of place in any office. This is a great solution if you just want to provide a few plants with enough light to keep them going and growing.

You can get grow lights mounted on stands that could provide enough energy to larger pots plants such as the ficus or rubber plant. This is a good option as long as the stand is secured as the light source is quite intense.

Watering systems for office plants

There are many great automatic watering systems available that enable you to leave plants alone for weeks on end. Some of these systems provide a drip feed system for food as well. Feeding plants in an office is vital because not only are they in a restricted environment as far as airflow is concerned, but they will also be subject to lower levels of natural light. To make up for these deficiencies a good feeding programme is advisable. Be careful to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the amount of plant food to be given as overfeeding can cause plant health problems.

Automatic watering and feeder systems come in all sizes and can accommodate small plants for the desktop to huge trees for office reception areas and atriums.

Office plants and office equipment

Be very careful not to place plants too close to electrical equipment especially when watering. You don’t want to electrocute yourself or ruin your laptop! Never placed plants on top of electrical equipment or on shelving above it if you can help it. If you really do want to have a plant above your computer then I would choose cacti which would need infrequent watering. Always make sure that you have a watertight container such as a plastic or ceramic dish to place your pot on if you’re plant container is not watertight.

Plants and oxygen in the office

one of the great things about having plants in your office is that they reduce the levels of carbon dioxide and increase the levels of oxygen. Any boss the complaints about his employees filling the office full of plants should think twice because they could actually improve productivity! Office plants can also be very valuable as they remove many harmful contaminants in the air. Modern offices are full of toxins from things such as toner cartridge dust, paper (which is impregnated with many chemicals), and various gases from the heating of electrical components inside computers, lights and other electrical equipment. No matter how good your air conditioning system in your office is, there is still not the same amount of airflow as

chlorophytum spider plant

Spider Plants Are Great For Offices

you would be accustomed to outdoors. Plants can really help this situation by creating an exchange of the air in the office environment.

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