6 reasons to add some plants. Happy Earth Day. In Vancouver we’re busy eating chocolate effigies of David Suzuki, making sacrifices to our worm bins and hopping on our soap-boxes: let’s talk about plants.
So. Littering your desk right now: mouse, stapler, phone, other phone, pens, notebooks, lists, coffee, other coffee, photos….plants? Here’s hoping. Whether you work from home, run the coolest company on earth or subsist (for now, at least) in a cubicle-cage, you need to get yourself some plants. Why? Oh, I’ll tell you why.
Plant persuasion #1 - that guy you hate
If you work near someone you hate, a mini-jungle will block your sightline and help you to forget they’re there.
“If he sprays another molecule of Axe body spray into the air that I’m trying to breathe, the world is going to end.”
Got cube rage? Cure it with plants. My aunt, a practical lady, once solved such an office-relations problem for me: buying the biggest, leafiest peace lily available.
“Put this,” she said, “directly between the two of you. It’ll block your view of him. Forget he’s there.”
Plant persuasion #2 – improved air quality
“But what about the can of Axe per day? Isopropyl Myristate! Denatured Ethanol! Hydrofluorocarbons! And butane, too! Gotta love a good neurotoxin in the morning.”
My aunt’s savvy was keener than I yet realized – and my new peace lily was a little trooper.
“The peace lily excels in the removal of alcohols, acetone, trichloroethylene, benzene and formaldehyde. Its ability to remove air pollutants and its excellent performance in all categories make it a most valuable house plant/office plant” (How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 House Plants that Purify Your Home or Office).
Until I left the job, that plant took a bullet for me every day. It coughed, spluttered and choked so I didn’t have to. Other, more universal, benefits to office-plant-love?
Plant persuasion #3 – finish faster, slack off sooner (“productivity”)
All sorts of clever Scandinavian scientists have reams and reams of proof that plants in an office environment increase productivity, lower workers’ heart rates and keep them more alert. Why? Science. Who wouldn’t want fewer ‘-enes’ in their system? Plants remove traces of common office nasties including benzene, trichloroethylene, not to mention formaldehyde and ammonia.
Plant persuasion #4 – increased humidity
We’re asking a lot of our eyeballs to stare at a blinding monitor all day. Environments sucked dry from mountains of hot office equipment don’t help. A good jungle helps increase indoor humidity to a more human level – meaning you don’t get sick as often.
Plant persuasion #5 - just like you, only prettier
Unless you work at Google, Pixar or from your sun-drenched patio, chances are your office furniture has all the character of an Albanian nuclear bunker. Add some life.Source: inhabitat
Plant persuasion #6 – legit distractions
Though “stress-balls” thankfully died with Y2K hysteria, tending to your desk plants is a valid reason to leave your computer alone for 5 minutes. So get yourself some plants.
Will they last longer than you do? The following should all thrive in cubicles or on not-so-sunny apartments desks:
- African violet - Easy to keep happy with a few ground rules. Use water that’s sat out overnight and fill up from the bottom drip tray – don’t water the plant or the soil itself.
- Bamboo - Idiot-proof. Just keep the vase or jar filled with water.
- Peace lily – not even Axe body spray will kill this hero.
- Diffenbachia – You won’t want this plant if you’ve got small kids or curious pets around – it’s toxic. Actually, slave owners used to punish slaves with diffenbachia: chewing the leaves closes your airways and makes it very hard to breathe. Then again, on ‘Office Space’ days, you’ve always got a weapon close to hand.
- And….the 2010 “Office Plant of the Year” (not kidding): Bonsai Beaucarnea, with yet more desk plant ideas here, here and here.
Psst: 2 great ways to get desk plants for free? Make friends with people who move a lot, or ask a crazy-plant-person to adopt you. It’s like crack to us.Hey, you want a s'more? Some more of what?