ISSUE 36  |  Get to Work

Want to Work Smarter? Get an Office Plant

September 06, 2012 5:00 PM

BY Michelle Slatalla

Stale, recycled air. Hermetically sealed windows. And a lovely view of … another gray worker-bee building across the street. Does this sound like your office? If so, you need to get a house plant. Eleven of them, in fact. Here’s why:

House plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and, as proved by a NASA study some years back, also filter harmful organic compounds from the air. There’s a catch: to improve ambient air quality significantly, you’ll need 11 plants per person (to handle all the carbon dioxide produced per breathing human). If you’re going to have that many plants, they’d better look attractive. We asked our friends at The Sill, a New York City house plant delivery service, for advice on plant choice and pots; here are their suggestions for styling your workspace:

Photographs via The Sill.

Above: A snake plant—a close relative to mother-in-law’s tongue—is particularly effective in an office because it will tolerate low light and benign neglect (if you forget to water it for a few days). A snake plant in a Kingdon Planter by Barbara Eigen reminiscent of black lacquerware is $58 from The Sill.

Above: A succulent in a white stoneware planter, Haworthia in Eley Pot is a diminutive five inches high (and only 2.5 inches in diameter), small enough to sit next to a stapler on a desk top; it’s $48 from The Sill.

Above: A Thorburn golden pothos in terra cotta (L) and a Geraldine jade plant (R) are low-maintenance companions that will tolerate filtered office light; they’re $42 and $32, respectively.

Above: The Will Henry Harvey trio of succulents come in bright hand-painted terra cotta pots; $48 per set from The Sill.

Above: Each Will Henry Harvey succulent is 1.5 inches in diameter and 2.5 inches high (including the pot).

Above: A Zenas Dane, a Zamioculcas zamiifolia in a Barbara Eigen pot with a mustard glaze (L), sits next to a snake plant in a Kingdon pot; they’re $82 and $58, respectively. (N.B.: For more inspiration, see images of House Plants in our Gallery of rooms and spaces.)