Table of Contents
- 10 Ideal Best Plants for Desks.
- Devil’s Iv Y (Epipremnum Aureum).
- Chinese Evergreen (Agl Aonema).
- Weeping Fig (Ficus Benjamina).
- Zz Pl Ant (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia).
- Heartleaf Philodendron (Philodendron Hederaceum).
- Peace Lily.
- Snake Pl Ant (Sansevieria Trifasciata).
- Creeping Wood Sorrel (Oxalis Cornicul Ata).
We’re talking about the best plants for desks! If you’ve never had that idea before, it’s time to give it serious thought. That’s because the best plants for desks can make your workspace feel much more tranquil, peaceful, and warm. They can make the spot feel more engaging and have a positive impact on your mood.
However, if you don’t have much of a green thumb — which, no offense, is just a nicer way to say “lazy plant parenting and a lack of relevant knowledge” — best plants for desks can wither quite easily.
Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 ideal best plants for desks you can choose from, and how to take care of each one. We’ve handpicked each one of them aiming for qualities like easy caretaking and being better suited to a workspace environment. Let’s begin!
10 Ideal Best Plants for Desks.
Devil’s Iv Y (Epipremnum Aureum).
The Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum Aureum) is also sometimes referred to as Pothos, even though that’s technically not the same plant.
Devil’s Ivy has big leaves, some of which can appear heart-shaped in different shades of green. It’s pretty easy to care for and makes for an ideal indoor houseplant to place on a wall shelf, a table, or your work desk.
✿ Lighting needs
The devil’s ivy isn’t too light-hungry. It’s actually pretty sensitive to light, and won’t tolerate being exposed to direct sunlight — or even extremely bright indirect light for the entire day. A darker space might slow the plant’s growth down, but there’s still room to adapt and it’s safer for the plant. Aggressive lighting can easily burn its leaves and hurt the plant.
✿ Watering needs
Only water your devil’s ivy when half of its soil is free of moisture in the summer, and when all of it is dry in the winter. Depending on the conditions, watering gap durations will vary but it’s generally once a week.
✿ Ideal pot size
A devil’s ivy doesn’t need much space to grow — a regular 200mm-sized nursery pot would do.
✿ Potting mix
Since it’s an easy best plant for desks to grow and take care of, many different potting mixtures can work — as long as they maintain proper aeration and drain well. A standard premium mix is probably your best bet, but you can also get away with an orchid or cacti mix if you have a bag or two lying around.
Chinese Evergreen (Agl Aonema).
Next up, we’ve got the Chinese Evergreen plant which is also called the Aglaonema. Their popularity comes from the unique color of their leaves which have a bright outline or traces of red or silver. The plant’s scientific name breakdown consists of two Greek words — aglaos and nama — meaning “bright” and “fountain” respectively.
- General Maintenance
While the Chinese Evergreen isn’t too picky about the best plants for desks, it still has its specific needs.
✿ Don’t Overwater
Check the moisture level in your Aglaonema’s soil before each watering. You can use a soil probe for it, or just your finger. Only give the best plants for desks drink when there the soil is dry at least a couple of inches down in bright conditions, and completely dry (all the way to the bottom) in lower-light conditions. These specifics are important, as you can easily overwater the plant which causes root rot and turns its leaves mushy or yellow.
✿ No Cold/Hot Air Drafts
Be careful not to have your work desk exposed to any drafts of hot or cold air, which can come from the window, electric heaters, and even air conditioning. You can still have the AC/heater on in the room, as long as there’s no wind directly blowing over the plant, and the thermostat is set to somewhere between 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (the ideal temperature range for Chinese Evergreen).
✿ How Often Should I Fertilize My Plant?
We recommend using organic fertilizer for houseplants and refreshing the potting mix with it every 6 weeks or so.
✿ How Often Do My Best plants for desks Need to Be Repotted?
Like most other small, best plants for desks — the Chinese Evergreen should be repotted at least once every 12 to 18 months.
Weeping Fig (Ficus Benjamina).
The Ficus Benjamina — widely known as the Weeping Fig — is an eye candy plant species that can effortlessly boost the decor in any workspace. It comes from the tropical Southeast Asian, Indian, and Australian forests. Its scientific name is derived from the Indian acme Ben-ja.
- General Care
Only water the plant when the top one or two inches of its soil are completely dry, with regular checks for drainage issues and waterlogging.
In the summer and late spring, a liquid feed is recommended for healthy growth.
55 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.Fahrenheit
Figs don’t need to be repotted after regular intervals unless there’s an issue like difficulty with water or waterlogged roots.
Zz Pl Ant (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia).
Next up, we’ve got the Zamioculcas Zamiifolia — commonly referred to by its abbreviation “ZZ” (understandably so). The name might be hard to pronounce, but the plant is relatively easy to look after!
The plant stores quite a bit of water in its naturally bulging and fat roots, which means you don’t have to water it every day. They’re also not super light-hungry, and can safely spend hours without any bright light exposure. So, if you’re guilty of “forgetting” to carry out essential plant care chores on time, the ZZ plant can be a perfect match for your desk.
It barely gets any pest problems and doesn’t need much fertilizer to get by — making it the dream best plant for desks for beginners!
As a bonus, it acts as an air purifier to keep your workspace fresher naturally!
- Warning: Toxic!
According to a NASA study, the ZZ plant can remove many toxins from the air like benzene, toluene, and xylene! However, every part of this plant is poisonous. Goes without saying, keep it out of the reach of pets and children, wash your hands after coming into contact with it, and don’t consume it (or any toxic plant, for that matter).
- General Care
✿ Potting soil
Any potting soil with good drainage.
Use a balanced houseplant liquid fertilizer with a 20-20-20 composition once a month.
Low to indirect light.
Very infrequent — only water the plant when it’s fully dry.
- Propagating the ZZ plant
To propagate a ZZ plant, you’ll have to separate their thick rhizomes (that look like potatoes) and replant them as the plant grows out of these. Growth is faster and more likely when several large-sized rhizomes are replanted together.
You can also snip a ZZ cutting with a bit of stem and two leaves on it and replant it.
If aesthetics matter the most to you, flowering plants like Bromeliads make the most sense! Like any other blooming plant, Bromeliads need a bit more attention. They’re also pretty late bloomers, so you’ll have to be patient, too — but their beautiful flowers and bright colors make it all worth it in the end!
You could get away with underwatering Bromeliads as they’re naturally adaptable to drought conditions. However, they’re sensitive to overwatering and can quickly develop root rot. That’s why they need smooth drainage and a regular check for waterlogging. Don’t water the plant unless its potting mix is dry at the top (at least two inches).
Ideally, bromeliads should be placed somewhere with around 60% humidity. It’s the same for both, outdoor and indoor bromeliads.
That number is a bit high to maintain indoors at all times, especially if you live in a cold place that requires furnace heating. However, you can use the following solution to boost humidity:
- Humidifier near the bromeliads.
- Placing several other plants near bromeliads to boost humidity through transpiration.
- Keeping a spray bottle near your desk to mist the plant occasionally throughout the day.
✿ Pots and Potting Media
Since bromeliads are prone to overwatering (and hence root rot), it’s important for its pot and potting mix to make up for this weakness. For instance, you shouldn’t use plastic pots as they hold moisture for a much longer time. On the other hand, clay pots are porous and let water out to keep the best plants for desks safer from excess moisture between waterings.
As for the potting media, you should never use soil for bromeliads as it’s too dense and doesn’t offer the quick drainage that this plant needs. Rather, use potting media that are particularly made for bromeliads, or make a DIY mixture using plenty of porous materials for quick drainage.
Not all bromeliads are the same when it comes to lighting tolerances and preferences. Some variations thrive in indirect, bright light — while others need to be shaded at all times.
However, bromeliads mostly prefer sunny, bright conditions. But, like most other best plants for desks, extended exposure to direct sunlight can damage the leaves.
This is one area where bromeliads aren’t as high-maintenance. They don’t need much external fertilization at all, aside from an occasional boost with a water-soluble one that’s diluted to about a half or quarter strength. Instead of the plant’s central tank, you want to fertilize around its base. Be careful not to overdo it though, as it can potentially make the leaves leggy and diminish their colors’ vibrance.
If you get all of the above conditions right, soon, bromeliads will reward you with bright red bracts with some inflorescent purple accents. The bloom lasts for a few months with gorgeous flowers that can light up your workspace!
Heartleaf Philodendron (Philodendron Hederaceum).
The Heartleaf Philodendron is one of the most popular members of the Philodendron family. They produce dark green waxy leaves generally in the shape of a heart. Like the devil’s ivy, this plant also shares many characteristics with the pothos plant.
- Steps for Planting Philodendron
- Get a pot with some drainage holes to reduce overwatering risk.
- Use a potting mix with good drainage with ingredients like perlite or sand in it.
- Find a spot with sufficient indirect bright light for your heartleaf philodendron.
- Water it every 14 days (yes, this plant is one of the least thirsty ones out there).
- Regularly snip away the dead leaves to keep your philodendron from getting leggy.
- Keep a close eye on pests since this plant is prone to infestations of aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs.
- If necessary, spray your plant with some diluted liquid dish soap or neem oil to fight pests (or prevent them).
- Fertilize it monthly, using a suitable water-soluble fertilizer.
Heartleaf philodendrons don’t need repotting after a certain interval. Instead, you can do it as needed if the plant outgrows its container or simply gets waterlogged.
The peace lilies are one of the prettiest houseplants out there, and they surely deserve a spot on your desk — especially if you’re looking to elevate the aesthetic of your workspace. The plant has broad, wide, dark green leaves with gorgeous white flowers during bloom.
These plants don’t need a ton of light and aren’t very sensitive to overwatering. As a bonus, they’ll also clean the air in your room and remove toxins to make your environment fresher naturally.
Note: Remember that peace lilies have calcium oxalate in all their parts — which means they can cause respiratory and stomach problems upon ingestion. This makes them mildly toxic and you should keep them well out of reach of curious children and nibbling pets!
- Planting, Transplanting, and Dividing Peace Lilies
Get an all-purpose potting soil mix with good drainage but some ingredients that help retain some moisture between waterings (as peace lilies don’t do well in soil that’s completely dry).
You should repot the plant every couple of years in the bloom period to allow it to benefit from fresh soil in the spring.
Whenever the plant outgrows its pot, you can divide it. For this, simply remove the peace lily from its container, split it into smaller sections, and replant them. As long as you leave a few leaves on each clump, each section will grow into a full-sized peace lily plant!
- Can You Grow Peace Lilies in Water?
If you’ve visited your local nursery recently, you might have seen peace lilies on display in vases with no soil! That’s because these plants can grow well in water, too.
If you want to keep them in water at home, make sure you keep the plant’s base suspended over the water using small river stones. This way, the roots can grow down into the water without getting the plant’s base constantly wet (which is the formula for root rot).
- Ideal Care for Peace Lilies
The soil should always be slightly moist to the touch. While short periods of dryness are fine, the plant lets you know when it’s thirsty as the leaves start to droop. When that happens, test the soil’s moisture level, and if dry, give it some filtered water.
This plant prefers a high humidity level that’s similar to the bromeliads discussed above. You can apply the same techniques here to maintain high humidity near the plant.
Peace lilies don’t need too much fertilizing as they aren’t heavy eaters. An occasional boost every 6 weeks is enough as it nears late winter.
60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Peace lilies prefer spots with sufficient bright, indirect light throughout the day. An east-facing window is ideal.
- How to Address Flowering Problems in Peace Lilies
If your peace lilies aren’t flowering, it most probably has to do with lighting. While these plants aren’t necessarily too needy when it comes to light, they won’t bloom desirably in complete shade throughout the day! If their current spot doesn’t get much indirect daylight, move the plant to a location that does and let it sit there for at least a few hours a day before moving it back to your desk.
Moreover, if you encounter flowering issues, you should only use a fertilizer that is specifically meant for flowering plants to avoid problems like less volume, or weak-looking, green flowers.
The dracaena, also known as the Dragon Tree, is one of the most aesthetically pleasing indoor best plants for desks out there. It has red-edged leaves with sharp edges. It’s pretty easy to look after which makes it an ideal pickup for houseplants novices with a keen eye for beauty! It’s drought tolerant (so you can get away with forgetting to water it) and it’s super hard to kill.
- General Care
This plant has a high drought tolerance. It’s also pretty easy to overwater it, so make sure that the top half of the soil in its pot is dry when you water it. The general ideal gap between waterings is a few weeks or so.
Dracaena prefers bright light but not direct (as that can easily burn the foliage).
Use a loose potting mix with great drainage to prevent overwatering.
The ideal temperature for this plant is between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Regular humidity is fine for the Dragon Tree, but you should give it an occasional mist with a spray bottle if you’ve got furnace heating going on (or just have a particularly dry environment inside the house for some reason).
The plant doesn’t rely on fertilizer for healthy growth, but you can still top it off with a balanced liquid fertilizer at the beginning of spring.
- Pruning Dracaena
Like most other best plants for desks, the dragon tree isn’t immune to shedding. Whenever you spot a dead (or dying) leaf, quickly pick it up and discard it. Give the plant an occasional trim to tidy it up and get rid of some leaves that look like they’re on the verge of falling off. Make sure to use a sterile tool to prune your plant!
- Propagating Dragon Tree
If you like to propagate your best plants for desks, the dragon tree is going to be one of your favorites as it’s super easy to propagate! All you need to do is
- Get some sharp, sterile scissors and snip off a long piece of the stem (about 8 inches).
- Get rid of the leaves attached to the stem.
- Plant the cutting in potting soil and place it in a spot that gets indirect, bright daylight. Make sure you remember which end goes into the soil and don’t make the rookie mistake of planting the cutting upside down!
- With time, you’ll see leaves sprouting out on the cutting’s upper nodes — and you’ve got a brand new Dracaena baby growing!
- Potting and Repotting Dragon Tree
You can re-pot Dracaena into a larger container if it starts to outgrow its pot. However, this is a pretty rare instance as these best plants for desks are pretty slow growers, which means you won’t have to re-pot them for at least a couple of years. However, you can still do it regularly just to refresh its potting soil right before the spring season.
Snake Pl Ant (Sansevieria Trifasciata).
The Snake plant — scientifically called Sansevieria trifasciata — possibly has one of the funniest nicknames in the entire best plants for desks realm. It’s commonly referred to as the “Mother-in-law’s tongue,” and you can make of that what you will!
Nevertheless, it’s a gorgeous-looking plant that can easily add a ton of visual value to your workspace interior. It’s also one of the hardest best plants for desks to kill, capable of surviving in low light without a month of watering. It can even handle being exposed to direct sunlight for long periods!
- General Care
Snake plants can easily survive in most lighting scenarios. However, they prefer indirect yet steady lighting with some time in direct sunlight.
Loose potting mix with good drainage.
Once a month (or whenever the soil dries out).
The best temperature range for snake plants is between 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold conditions are the plant’s weakness and can kill it.
Use mild cactus fertilizer at the start of the growing season with a 10-10-10 composition.
Use a sterile pair of scissors to cut away damaged leaves, or foliage growth near the soil line. The ideal time to do this is right before spring kicks in to prevent stressing out the plant. The plant gets quite tall if left unchecked, which isn’t ideal if you’re keeping it on your desk. You can always snip off the taller leaves to keep the plant’s height manageable.
- Propagating Snake Plant
You can easily propagate snake plants in the growing season (summer or spring). The best way to do it for this plant is division, which we’ve covered in detail in “Propagation and Repotting 101.”
- Growing Snake Plants From Seeds
You can also grow this plant from seeds, but it’s significantly tougher than propagating it by division. That’s because its seeds have a very low rate of germination and take up to a month and a half before there’s a seedling in light.
To do it, you have to:
- Fill the seed starting mix (or cactus potting mix) into a small pot.
- Sprinkle snake plant seeds on top.
- Cover it up with clear plastic.
- Keep the soil slightly moist throughout this period.
- Put the pot in a sunny spot and wait three to six weeks before you spot a seedling.
- Remove the covering and repot the seedling when it’s about four inches tall.
- Potting/Repotting Snake Plants
Make sure to pot snake plants in a container made up of sturdy material as this plant’s roots can easily break the weak ones. As mentioned above, this plant rarely needs repotting due to its slow growth but the best time to do it is spring. Always stick to cactus mix or potting media that are particularly made for snake plants for the best results.
Creeping Wood Sorrel (Oxalis Cornicul Ata).
The Oxalis make up 800 of 900 species of the Oxalidaceae family — being the largest genus in it. It contains flowering plants with over 550 species that are native to the tropical forests of South Asia and South America.
These plants are excellent houseplants because they’re colorful, grow fast, and spread like wildfire! In fact, they’re so easy to spread those greenhouse rowers and gardeners see them as invasive weeds — but that doesn’t mean you can’t light up your desk’s aesthetic with them!
- General Care
This plant prefers bright, indirect to direct daylight. It doesn’t thrive in shade or low-light conditions.
Only water them when the top half of the soil is dry, which takes about 1 to 2 weeks depending on lighting conditions.
Regular room humidity is ideal.
The plant thrives in temperatures between 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Suitable soil contains garden substrate and organic matter with good drainage.
Fertilize the plant in the fall season with a slow-release product or compost. The creeping wood sorrel doesn’t need pruning, but you might have to get your scissors out every once in a while just to keep their fast growth and spread in check! They are considered invasive plants after all. However, they’re naturally resistant to diseases and pests.
You can propagate these plants by dividing rhizomes (similar to the ZZ plants propagation discussed above) or by sewing their seeds in spring.