Biophilic workspaces: The 10 best office plants

Emily Waterston, Project Designer Biophilia

Office plants are one of the best ways to enhance workplace wellbeing. Whether you find yourself shaking off your holiday blues or seeking inspiration during the long, sunlit hours of summer, these green companions hold the key to transforming your office into a sophisticated, healthy space.

In the bustling world of work, where the demands of the office remain constant, the presence of biophilia isn’t just about aesthetics, it’s about the harmonious balance of productivity and tranquillity. Indoor plants have been found to improve productivity in workplaces by 15%. While integrating greenery into your office is always a good idea, it’s important to choose plant species that are practical to maintain. Safety is also a consideration, especially for pet-friendly workspaces where some indoor plants can be harmful to animals.

Drawing from our experiences integrating biophilic design into workspaces for clients like Brainlabs or Jacada, we’ve gathered insights on plants that can foster happiness and health in the workplace. We’ll explore the myriad of benefits of indoor office plants, and the undeniable role that they play in shaping a thriving work environment.

Benefits of Office Plants

Indoor plants have a multitude of benefits that positively impact employees and the overall workplace environment with workers reporting to be 15% more productive with indoor plants around. In between the hustle and bustle, plants can provide a workplace with the soothing presence of the natural world. Visually, they can transform an office, adding a touch of the wild to simpler spaces that makes them a more inviting and comfortable place to work.

Studies show that being around plants can reduce stress and anxiety levels and promote a sense of tranquillity. This reduction in stress is crucial for maintaining employee health and boosting productivity.

Equally, office plants play a crucial role in improving air quality. They act as natural air purifiers, removing harmful and toxic pollutants from the air and releasing oxygen. Improving the air quality in the office environment contributes to employee health and wellbeing, with studies suggesting that 40% of sickness absence can be traced to poor air quality.

Our top 10 office plants

1. Snake Plant: the low-maintenance favourite

The Snake Plant, also known as the Sansevieria is a top choice for office plants. It has a striking appearance with tall upright leaves and unique patterns. It not only adds a touch of elegance to a space, but is a natural air purifier releasing oxygen, reducing allergens and adding moisture to the air. The Snake Plant was part of the vast greenery we designed for Vitality’s office.

Plant care tips: It is perfect for an office due to its low-maintenance nature, thriving in either bright or low light and requiring infrequent watering (2-4 weeks). The Snake Plant is very resilient - to keep it healthy, avoid overwatering.

a series of snake plants underneath wall mounted lamps
a snake plant on a coffee table next to a soft navy blue soft
a snake plant on top of a communal table in an office space

2. Spider Plant: The clean air enhancer

The Spider Plant, easily recognisable by its arching green and white striped leaves, is a great choice for office decor. It is a highly adaptable plant, thriving in both low light and well lit spaces and enhances air quality. In feature wall planters, Spider Plants decorate the communal area of ClientEarth.

Plant care tips: Maintenance is a breeze with the Spider Plant, it requires moderate watering (1-2 weeks). Ensure that soil remains damp but never waterlogged.

3. ZZ Plant: The productivity booster

Characterised by its glossy dark green leaves, the ZZ Plant is a sophisticated choice for an office plant. It plays a large role in eliminating pollutants in the air, which in turn boosts health and wellbeing for employees. Nestled in the oasis of Jacada’s workspace, the ZZ Plant is the perfect addition.

Plant care tips: This office plant is exceptionally low maintenance and requires watering roughly every 4 weeks. It thrives in low light too, making it a good choice for offices with limited natural light. Take care that the soil dries between watering to prevent root rot.

4. Aloe: The health advocate

With their rosette-shaped leaves, Aloe plants of all varieties have become a popular choice for plant keepers. The Aloe is not only aesthetically appealing, but the soothing gel inside its leaves is known for skin and general health benefits.

Plant care tips: Aloe plants thrive in sun, which makes them perfect for areas that have an abundance of natural light, like windowsills. Water them sparingly and let the soil dry out in between sessions to provide this office plant with the best care. Aloe plants appear in several of the workplaces we’ve created for clients, they can be seen bringing some greenery to Total Jobs Portsmouth.

5. Money Tree: The bringer of luck

The Money Tree, with its braided trunk and vibrant green leaves, has been a protagonist in folklore for bringing good luck and prosperity to its owner. With this symbolism in mind, it could be an attractive choice for successful businesses looking to add greenery to their workspace. In ECI Partners’ London workspace, you can find a Money Tree adding variety to the space.

Plant care tips: Caring for the Money Tree is simple. It likes a bright environment, but away from direct light and needs minimal watering.

6. The Swiss Cheese Plant: The tranquil companion

The Swiss Cheese Plant, scientifically named Monstera Deliciosa, is a great low maintenance indoor plant to have in a workspace. It has a distinctive appearance, with large glossy split leaves that resemble Swiss cheese. Swiss Cheese Plants feature in many of our office designs, but most notably at Just Group’s workspace at 1 Angel Lane.

Plant care tips: One of this plant’s primary advantages is that it does not require much maintenance. It thrives in low to moderate light, which makes it suitable for most offices. It is recommended to water it when the topsoil feels dry. Its unique look and ease of care make this one of the best office plants.

7. Peace Lily: The healing flower

Boasting elegant white blooms and smooth green leaves, this flowering office plant adds a touch of beauty to your workspace. Beyond that, the Peace Lily is a symbol of healing and peace, and is one of the best plants to invest in for a healthier air quality. One of these beautiful blooms decorates the entrance space of BBS Capital.

Plant care tips: To care for a Peace Lily, it is best to keep it in moderate to low light and water it when its leaves start to droop, indicating its thirst. Its combination of elegance and air purifying qualities makes this plant a wonderful addition to your office.

8. Orchids: The colourful fragrance booster

Orchids, with their vibrant blooms, bring a splash of colour to your office space. They’re known for their symbolism of sophistication and their ability to brighten up any room with their winter-blooming flowers. This office plant can be found in Veritas Investment Partner’s reception area, creating a welcoming environment.

Plant care tips: Orchids prefer indirect sunlight and are watered sparingly. It is best to allow their roots to dry out in between.

9. English Ivy: The sunlight lover

Trailing vines and lush green leaves are characteristic of the native English Ivy. It is renowned for having air purifying qualities, helping to clear airway passages and promote lung health. These leafy tendrils can be found decorating Brainlabs central seating area is renowned for having air purifying qualities, helping to clear airway passages and promote respiratory health. These leafy tendrils can be found decorating Brainlabs central seating area.

Plant care tips: Keep the English Ivy plant’s soil damp and provide them with as much direct sunlight as possible whilst keeping them away from other sunlight-loving plants.

10. Boston Fern: The humidity hero

Boasting feathery fronds, the Boston Fern is a great choice for office bathrooms or any area that could use a boost of moisture. These plants thrive in high humidity, making them a top choice for brightening up a workspace with little fresh air. Boston Ferns appear as a splash of green in the open-plan desking area of the offices Sopra Steria.

Plant care tips: To care for a Boston Fern, keep them in a location shielded from direct sunlight and maintain consistent moisture of the soil. This plant requires a little extra care, preferring to be misted to replicate a humid atmosphere.

Any of these office plants not only beautify your workspace but enhance air quality and employee wellbeing. From the low-maintenance Snake Plant to the unique Swiss Cheese Plant, there’s an option for every type of office and every brand personality.

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