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Not too long ago, we talked about ways of keeping calm in the office. One of our suggestions was about keeping a desk pet – like a potted plant. In this article, we’re going to cover some of our favourite plants to grow at our desks.

We’re suggesting plants on a spectrum of how hard they are to kill. Because if there’s one concern most office dwellers have when it comes to keeping a plant, it’s:

Am I going to murder it?

To save you from guilt, here are 5 plants that require very little attention, and are resilient even in the face of a long weekend’s worth of neglect.

Spider Plant

Will you murder it? Highly unlikely
Needs: Bright (but indirect) sunlight, a good watering whenever the soil is bone dry

Spider plants are incredibly hardy, air purifying house plants. They also thrive with little attention; generously spawning off little children that you can pick off and turn into even more spider plants.

If you manage to care for your spider plant and its children, you could turn your desk into a veritable jungle.

Spider plants will purify your office air of pollutants such as formaldehyde, and xylene.

If any of your colleagues take issue with your fast spreading spider plant population, remind them you’re doing the whole office a favour. No on likes stuffy, recycled office air.

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Air Plant

Will you murder it? You’d have to be trying.
Needs: Indirect sunlight / partial shade, a good watering once a week

What could be easier to care for than a plant that doesn’t even need soil?

Air plants make fantastic office plants, as they only require fresh air, some light, and an occasional watering. If you have issues with soil in your office (for example, potted plants can attract fungus gnats which love to lay their eggs in moist, indoor soil), then an air plant is the way to go.

The air plant family grows soilessly in the wild; usually growing from trees and other plants.

They love fresh air, so you’ll want to have them close to an open window if possible. They don’t dig direct sunlight, but are good with filtered, indirect light.

Air plants can live on air and water alone, which means you need to be vigilant with watering.

Take your air plants over to the office kitchen sink once a week, maybe before you head off for the day. Rinse them thoroughly in the sink and leave them there overnight to drain off. In the morning, simply put them back in their usual place.

Because air plants don’t need soil, or even a pot, they’re perfect for hanging, and can really add to office decor.

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Lucky Bamboo

Will you murder it? Near impossible.
Needs: Frequent watering and not much else

Lucky Bamboo is a bit of a trickster, because although it resembles bamboo, it’s not a bamboo at all (it hails from the Dracaena family). However, it is by far one of the easiest plants to grow in an office space – in fact, you may have seen lucky bamboos on other office desks plenty of times before.

The reason it makes such a popular office plant is that Lucky Bamboo requires very little sunlight to thrive. You’d have to be keeping it long term in a closet under the stairs (ala Harry Potter), for the Lucky Bamboo to kick the bucket.

You can grow a Lucky Bamboo in soil, or in water alone. If growing your Lucky Bamboo in water, make sure you change the water at least once a week.

If you’re growing your Lucky Bamboo in potted soil, then make sure the pot itself has good drainage – and give it frequent watering so that the soil remains damp, but not wet to the touch.

The Lucky Bamboo is the perfect desk plant for those of you unlucky enough to be seated away from windows.

Aloe Vera

Will you murder it? Not without effort.
Needs: Lots of direct sunlight, an occasional watering

Purify the air in your office, and become the one stop station for every colleague with a sunburn, by growing Aloe right on your desk!

Aloe Vera is a very forgiving succulent; being quite drought resistant, and generally low maintenance.

Aloe Vera likes a lot of sunlight, so you’ll have to situate it near a window where it gets at least a few hours of sunlight per day.

Although Aloe can go without water for long periods of time, that’s no excuse to neglect it completely. Your Aloe plant will thrive best when watered whenever the soil is dry to the touch. Simply stick your index finger into the soil down to your knuckle; if there’s no hint of moistness, then give your aloe a thorough watering.

This plant also has plenty of health, and cosmetic applications. You can break off a leaf to use the soothing gel within as after-sun lotion. Or you can check out the countless recipes online for consuming your aloe plant (it’s anti-inflammatory and very healthy for your gut!)

Mother-In-Law's Tounge

Will you murder it? Very unlikely.
Needs: Dry conditions, bright indirect to direct sunlight

Mother-In-Law’s Tongue is one of the more fashionable indoor plants on this list. If you have one of these babies in your office, it’ll definitely garner plenty of compliments and awed gazes.

Despite looking exotic and particular; this plant requires very little attention.

Mother-In-Law’s Tongue likes dry conditions, and only needs watering (in the colder seasons) about once a month.

Otherwise, just go by the touch test. If the soil is bone dry, it needs some water. Don’t over-water though, it’s better to just moisten the top soil rather than give it a drench through.

Having said that, as this plant likes drier conditions, make sure your Mother-In-Law’s Tongue is potted into a soil that is sandier, and allows for easier drainage.

As for sunlight, Mother-In-Law’s Tongue likes plenty of it, but can be situated in a spot where it gets more indirect light than not.

Lastly, this plant is an air purifier; removing pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene from the office air.

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Grow a plant, clean the air, and bring your office space to life

Offices can be pretty sterile environments, but plants are an easy way of counteracting that problem.

Some living, breathing greenery will not only help with the air quality, but the quality of everyday office life.

It’s not only soothing to take a break from work to care for your plant, but it’s also soothing to simply have your plant near you; after all, we all need a bit of nature and beauty in our day-to-day lives.

Even if you consider your thumb to be the blackest of them all, the above 5 plants will be able to withstand a whole heap of neglect.

Who knows, you might find that with a bit of encouragement from these resilient examples of nature, that you do have a green thumb after all.

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