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Best indoor plants: 6 desk plants that’ll brighten up any office

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Lauren Geall
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A desk plant

According to new research, having a plant on your desk can help to reduce your stress levels. Here’s six of the best ones that will thrive in an office environment.

Over the last couple of years, more and more of us have woken up to the benefits of living alongside plants. A quick count of the benefits houseplants have to offer is enough to convince anyone to go green: from helping our mental health to boosting our sleep, there’s plenty to love about our leafy friends.

And now, thanks to a team of scientists at the University of Hyogo in Japan, we know about one more upside to being surrounded by plants: they have the potential to reduce our stress. 

The study, which was published in the journal HortTechnology, found that having a plant on your desk at work can help to boost the mental health of employees by reducing stress levels.

As part of the study, the team of scientists asked 63 office workers in Japan to see and care for a small plant throughout an intervention period, throughout which their stress levels were measured in comparison to their levels prior to the introduction of the plants. 

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The results revealed that the anxiety of the workers decreased “significantly” when the plants were introduced – and that even having plants within close sight contributed to stress reduction “across the board”. 

With all of this considered, now is as good a time as ever to jump on the houseplant bandwagon and get yourself a leafy desk mate. Keep reading to discover six of the best houseplants to keep in the office. 

  • Cacti

    Three cacti
    Best indoor plants: cacti

    Famously hard to kill, the cactus is the perfect desk plant for anyone looking to get all the benefits with minimal effort. They thrive with good light sources (but will survive on a lot less), so it doesn’t matter if your desk isn’t close to a natural light source. 

    It’s also pretty low maintenance on the watering front: allow the compost to dry out slightly between watering and then give it a good soak through. 

  • Spider Plants

    Spider plant
    Best indoor plants: spider plants.

    Let a spider plant dry out between watering and they’ll be as happy as a clam. These guys are known as one of the most adaptable and easy-to-care-for houseplants out there, so they’re another great option for beginners. Spider plants also thrive in low light conditions, meaning they won’t mind living under the artificial light in the office.

    The only downside? These plants grow like crazy, so get ready to cut them back every so often.

  • ZZ plants

    A ZZ plant
    Best indoor plants: ZZ plants.

    If you’re a serial plant killer, a ZZ plant will give you all of the joy of a plant without requiring the attention you clearly don’t have time to give. They’ve got big, bulging roots that store a huge amount of water – perfect for those times when watering a plant comes in at the bottom of your to-do list.

  • Succulents

    Succulents
    Best indoor plants: succulents.

    These little guys come in all shapes, sizes and colours, making it easy to find a desk buddy you love to look at. Much like cacti, succulents retain a lot of water, meaning they don’t need attention more than once a week. Keep them happy by providing natural light.

  • Chinese money plants

    Chinese money plant
    Best indoor plants: Chinese money plant.

    Trick your colleagues into thinking you’re a houseplant expert by picking yourself up a Chinese money plant. These cool-looking little plants need surprisingly little care but look pretty impressive – just provide indirect light and water when the soil is dry, and you’ll have a great looking desk in no time.

  • Snake Plants

    Best indoor plants: snake plants.
    Best indoor plants: snake plants.

    A favourite of trendy coffee shops and minimalist co-working spaces alike, there’s nothing not to love about the humble snake plant. Although the ones like in the picture above are probably the most common, there are many different shapes and colours of snake plants out there, so you can take your pick.

    The best bit? They’re practically indestructible, unless you water them too much.

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Lauren Geall

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