Indoor air can actually be as much as 12 times more polluted than outside air in some areas due to compounds in paints, furnishing, clothing and building materials. But plants can remove up to 80-90% of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including substances such as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene which can be found in things like paint and varnish, clothing, furniture, and print equipment.
Studies have also shown that people’s productivity increases when they’re working in rooms containing plants, so they’re definitely worth having in the office – for more than simple decorative reasons.
The office experts behind LondonOffices.com have compiled a list of the most beneficial plants to keep and care for in workplace environments. These are plants that are able to filter and purify the air, as well as grow indoors with limited light sources and little-to-no intervention.
1. Devil’s Ivy
This easy-to-care for plant with heart-shaped, white-splotched leaves adapts well to a variety of office conditions – from those with low light levels to brighter ones. It can be trained around a pole or cane but looks great in big pots on a desk, shelf, table or the floor.
2. Peace Lily
The peace lily is ideal for an office space that lacks big windows as it can grow in the lowest lighting. This is a large, space-filling plant that can clean the air. Image credit: ProFlowers
3. Gerber Daisy
This flowering plant – which is also known as Gerbera – is one which can filter toxins such as benzene, a substance that can be emitted by some printing systems.
4. Warneck Dracaena
Also known as Dracaena reflexa, this shrub can grow super tall which means it’s perfect for offices with high ceilings and can be great to use as a natural separation barrier for different areas of a room. It also combats pollutants commonly found in varnishes and oils, so if your office space has hardwood floors, this plant would be ideal.
5. Weeping fig
With long arching branches and large, pointed leaves, the weeping fig is an attractive indoor plant that can filter pollutants from carpets and furniture, such as formaldehyde and benzene. This is one of the most popular small indoor trees that grow quite slowly and requires little attention, however, they don’t like being moved and will drop leaves to produce new ones if there is a change in the lighting, temperature, and humidity.
Fittonia – which is sometimes referred to as the nerve plant or mosaic plant – can work well in offices because it actually thrives on fluorescent light. Without water for a few days, this plant is known to ‘faint’, but it’s easily revived with a quick watering.
7. Aloe Vera
Not only does the aloe plant purify the air, it can also serve as a first aid kit for any scrapes and burns. The variegated leaves that grow out of its centre are full of soothing aloe gel.