The Q&A Archives: I Need Some Plants For My Office.

Question: I would like to get a few plants for my office but, I don't have any windows and florescent lighting. What will grow? We have had problems getting anything to live...Help! Thank you.

Answer: Here are some plants to try in an office lit only with fluorescent lights: Hedera helix (English ivy), peace lily (Spathiphyllum), Arrowhead plant (Syngonium podophyllum or sometimes called Nephthytis afzelii), Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema Silver Queen), snake plant or mother-in-law's tongue (Sansevieria), most types of Dracaena, dwarf schefflera ,creeping fig (Ficus pumila), and philodendrons.

When you bring the plants to the office, allow them several weeks to adjust to the lower light levels and new humidity level as opposed to the ideal greenhouse conditions they started from.

When you grow plants in low light levels, it is important not to overwater or overfertilize them because they will naturally be growing only very slowly. In other words, do not expect them to grow very fast. Keep the soil barely moist, not sopping wet and never dry. Fertilize only about once a month at the lowest dilution rate or the maintenance level.

If the humidity is low in the office, you may want to set the plants on a humidity tray. This is a tray filled with pebbles and water. Place the pots on the pebble layer and top up as needed to keep the water level just below the bottom of the pots. Also keep them away from both hot and cold drafts.

Sometimes, too, and this is just a parenthetical observation, it can happen that numerous people in an office will all try to care for the plant simultaneously -- especially if it is not looking the best-- and end up killing it with kindness as it were, by in combination overwatering and/or overfeeding it.

Good luck with your plants!

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