Various studies show that workplace plants fight pollutants, are a source of clean air, and may even reduce stress and improve your mood. But, we hear you saying: “I can’t take care of plants. They always die.”

If that’s the case, you’ve picked the wrong plants or you’ve put them in the wrong place. Just remember: when selecting a plant for your workspace make sure it will get enough sunlight to adapt and continue to grow. If you ask someone at a local garden center for specific tips on plants to grow in your special office situation, they’ll be glad to assist. In the meantime, here are some easy to care-for office plants to consider:

1. Cactus (cactaceae)


(Photo via Gwen’s River City Images on Flickr)

Because cacti are succulents, a species of plant that requires very little water, they are great for botanical beginners who still want to add liveliness to their workspace. The trick with cacti is that they come in a wide variety, each prickly shrub with its own specific needs. Therefore, you will need to do specific research on your particular cactus and its needs. Luckily, all cacti can go for long periods without water–though they will need plenty of it if you want them to flourish. Try watering your cactus infrequently but in large quantities.

 2. Dracaena (dracaena deremensis)


(Photo via wikimedia commons)

Another plant that places on NASA’s list, is the Dracene. The Dracene needs bright to moderate sunlight at a temperature between 75 and 65 degrees F. Brown leaf tips and spots is an indication with the dracene (and most other plants) that it is getting too much sunlight. Healthy dracenes should be repotted every year and be given fresh soil in a pot about one inch thicker than its original. Dracenes are also mildly poisonous to humans and pets, so keep them out of reach from hungry, less-picky vegetarians.

3. Rubber Tree (ficus elastica)


(Photo via wikimedia commons)

A rubber tree plant can grow up to fifty feet high, but caring for them is much less difficult than you might think. It’s best to start with a young rubber tree because it’s easier for it to adapt to the indoors before it matures. Rubber trees grow best in indirect light–near a window, but not right next to it. Because the rubber tree has a growing season and dormant season, the amount of water it requires fluctuates. During the growing season, rubber trees will need their soil to be periodically watered so that it remains moist. Also, spraying its leaves with water will prevent drooping. During the dormant season the plant will only need to be watered about twice a month. Rubber trees are also on NASA’s list for top air-filtering plants.

4. Spider plant (chlorophytum comosum)

Spider plant

(Photo via wikimedia commons)

Another top air-filtering plant featured on NASA’s list is the spider plant. Spider plants can grow almost anywhere. They tolerate temperatures as cold as 35 degrees Fahrenheit and fight pollutants such as benzene, carbon monoxide and formaldehyde. Spider plants need little water and usually grow fine in fluorescent lighting. If the plant does begin to droop or its leaves turn brown, moving it to brighter location should restore it.

5. Bamboo Palm (chamaedorea seifrizii)

bamboo palm

The bamboo palm has made NASA’s list for top clean-air plants. It requires indirect or filtered sunlight and is therefore great for the indoors.  It needs enough water for the soil to stay moist but not wet and grows best in indirect light, though it can manage in the shade as well.

6. Lemon Balm (melissa officinalis)

lemon balm (Photo via wikimedia commons)

The lemon balm is fragrant plant that tolerates any range of light from full sunlight to complete shade. Apart from being tough enough for your office cubicle, research proves that the sweet smell of the lemon balm is said to improve moods. The key to growing a healthy lemon balm is keeping it moist, so this is one plant you will need to water frequently. Trimming a lemon balm’s leaves is a great way to rejuvenate its growth if the plant begins to wilt or turn brown.

7. Peace Lily (spathiphyllum)

peace lily (Photo via starwaltdesign on deviantart)

Peace lilies are an exotic looking plant native to Southeast Asia. This plant can grow in low levels of sunlight and should be watered once a week. Peace lilies filter harmful toxins or environmental contaminants. They should be kept away from children or animals, since they are mildly toxic when ingested. Peace lilies also need to be planted in pots with loose soil that permits adequate drainage. Try to never allow the soil to dry out if you want your peace lily to bloom.

8. Umbrella Plant (cyperus alternifolius)


(Photo via wikimedia commons)

Umbrella plants are native to east Africa and therefore do best in a warm outdoor climate. They require constant moisture at the roots and will quickly die if its soil dries out. With adequate care, umbrella plants can be adapted to the indoors. The plants moisture level and consistency is the most important aspect of caring for it indoors. Adding fertilizer once a month during its growing season and making sure not to get the leaves wet (fungal diseases spread easily this way) are the keys to letting this little fellow thrive.

(Featured photo via Scott Schiller on Flickr)

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