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Populate Your Office with Plants

office-plantThere’s no doubt that work can be stressful and that we each need to do what we can to mitigate that stress as much as possible.

While having nap-pods and phone booths are great for those of us who’re lucky enough to have them installed, there are times when you have to be at your desk and you can’t seek a more peaceful environment.

So why not bring a peaceful environment to your desk? Why not bring the outside in? ‘Greening’ an office space is within everyone’s ability and the benefits are way out of proportion to the miniscule budget required.

We’re big advocates for bringing the outside inside because it’s by far the quickest, simplest and easiest way to way to relax you, lower stress, increase productivity, enhance well being, create focus, clean the air and reduce ambient noise.

In fact, there are really no reasons we can think of that argue against populating your personal office space with plants!

Although we’ve written this topic before, we felt that some new information from Lindsay Holmes and Alissa Scheller explained the process so well that we wanted to pass on their advice to you.

According to Holmes and Scheller, you need to do a little assessment before simply putting a pretty plant on your desk. They point out that there are specific plants that work best in specific places. Figuring out which plants to use where will ensure that you get the most benefit from the exercise.

How to decide which plants to use:

Begin by assessing the area where the plant is going to live.  areca palm

  • Is there a lot of natural light, or is it low light?
  • Will it get any sun?
  • Are you a green thumb who loves to garden, or are you all thumbs?
  • Will you remember to water your plants regularly or will your plants suffer periodic droughts when you get busy?
  • Are you looking for something that’s small and low profile
  • Do you want to create a visual wall between you and your co-worker with that uncomfortable habit of watching your every move?

Holmes and Scheller have created an infographic that will help you decide:

Plants in the office




Once you’ve made a list of all the criteria affecting the plant placement and care, you’re almost ready to begin choosing which will work best for you. 

The next step is to decide just how hard you want those plants to work!

If you combine the information above with the research done by Kamal Meattle, Delhi based researcher and popular TED presenter, you’ll find that some plants are actually better than others when it comes to purifying the air we breathe indoors.

For instance, Meattle says that if you put Areca Palm, Mother-in-Law’s-Tongue and the Money Plant in your office space, these plants will work together to create fresh air all day and all night.

They’re so good at doing this that even if you put them in an airtight dome, then removed all the oxygen, these plants would create fresh, oxygenated air for you to breath!

Creating fresh air isn’t all that they do, though.

According to his research, Meattle says that the Money Plant not only creates fresh air, but it also removes very harmful  toxins such as formaldehyde from the indoor environment.  The plant acts as a cleaning and purifying agent making the office air healthier. In Meattle’s experiments, he found that the building they used as a test case ended up being the cleanest  building in the city.  Pretty amazing, don’t you think?

If only all our indoor environmental issues were so easy to solve!

When you think about it, plants could be considered one of the most vital pieces of equipment in your office. They certainly contribute to a much more pleasant and appealing work space.

mother-in-laws tongueBoth the Areca Palm and the Mother-in-Law’s Tongue are suitable for creating a visual wall while the Money Plant can be trained to grow into whatever shape you desire as it is a creeper of sorts. They’re all also fairly low maintenance.

Deby Barnhart of Cornell Farm references NASA research by Dr. B.C. Wolverton, which substantiates Meattle’s findings. Barnhart says that there are plants that can remove not only formaldehyde, but also benzine and trichloroethylene amongst other pollutants. The plants she suggests for removal of formaldehyde are Pathos, Philodendron, Boston Ferns and Spider plant

In case you thought that your environment didn’t have any formaldehyde off gassing, remember that this will be produced by many carpets, cleaners, foam insulation, some furniture, paper products, plywood and particle board… just your everyday, common place office components!

Adhesives, dry cleaning, inks and dyes, lacquers, paints and varnishes produce trichloroethylene. Gerbera Daisies and potted Mums help to eliminate this chemical.

If you need to clean up benzine in your office atmosphere, try Draecena, Gerbera Daisies and potted Mums. Benzine is produced by detergents, inks and dyes, petroleum products, plastics, rubber, synthetic fibres and tobacco smoke. Once again, some of these are commonly found in offices.

The NASA study suggests using 1 plant for every 100 square feet of space to maximize absorption.

Now you have all the information you need to green your office, clear the air and enjoy what happens when you bring the outside in!

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