Workplace Plants | A Breath of Fresh Air

Plants are making a comeback! That’s right… not only are plants becoming a staple in our homes, they have also crept their way into the office. As we discussed in our blog post on biophilic design, scientific studies have proven the positives of having more greenery in the workplace, where we spend a majority of our days. Humans have an innate desire to be connected with nature and the simple addition of plants can have a positive impact on our health and happiness. And because promoting employee health and wellness is a competitive advantage for employers, bringing the outdoors into the office has proven to be a key component to employee attraction and retention. Let’s review the many benefits of biophilic design and discuss which plants could be a fit for your workplace.

CDI Features Workplace Plants
Image Source: Office Snapshots, Australian Financial Services Company in London

A Review of Biophilic Benefits

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, where the concentration of pollutants is often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations. Indoor pollution concentrations have increased in recent decades due to factors such as insufficient mechanical ventilation and air exchange, outdoor climate, weather conditions and occupant behavior. With increasing rates of urbanization and a diminished connection to nature, the human body has less opportunity to recuperate mentally and physically.

Biophilic design brings natural elements indoors, lessening the impact of the separation we often experience. This trend is well on its way to becoming an industry standard as research solidifies the physiological and psychological impact it has on our workforce. When incorporated sufficiently throughout a space, plants can improve air quality and help with noise reduction. They can help cool indoor spaces by adding shade and serve as effective insulators, helping to keep heat out during summer and retain it during winter. For office buildings that seek LEED or WELL Building certification, adding plants and other biophilic design elements can also be a cost-effective way to add to your overall score. The simple addition of plants can also lead to lowered blood pressure and heart rate, reduced attentional fatigue and stress, sadness and aggression, as well as improved mental engagement, attitude and overall happiness. Employees are more physically, cognitively and emotionally engaged in their work, leading to a more profitable workplace.

CDI Features Workplace Plants
Image Source: Office Snapshots, The Gindi Group Offices in Or Yehuda, Israel

Best Workplace Plants

Interested in incorporating a few plants within your workspace but unsure where to start? Work Design Magazine recently voted the following eight plants as best in the office. Many of these plants are known for their easy maintenance and air purification qualities, eliminating a number of air born toxins and making your office a happier and healthier place to work. Follow the link above to read the complete article on Work Design Magazine’s website.

‘Sweetheart Vine’ – Philodendron Cordatum
  • Description: An elegant vining plant that comes in several color variations. Sweetheart Vine is one of the easiest plants to care for, withstanding a missed watering or two and tolerating high to low light levels.
  • Care: Allow to dry down completely in low to medium light between watering, but not to the point of wilting.
  • Sun: Keep out of direct sun, bright diffused light is preferable.
‘Monstera’ – Philodendron Monstera
  • Description: The perfect choice if you are looking to add large scale greenery to your workplace, as this plant can get quite big. An extremely popular choice in offices.
  • Care: The Monstera needs warm interior temps of at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer. Plant in a peaty, well-draining soil in a pot with drainage holes. Water when the top quarter-to-third of the soil feels dry to the touch.
  • Sun: Keep out of direct sun, bright diffused light is preferable.
‘Air Plant’ – Tillandsia
  • Description: Perfect for those with limited square footage, Air Plants don’t require soil and come in tiny sizes.
  • Care: Dunk in a mug full of water once per week.
  • Sun: Bright, indirect or fluorescent light. Small periods of direct sunlight are ok.
‘Snake Plant’ – Sansivieria
  • Description: This plant is one of easiest indoor plants to care for, thriving in the even the most difficult settings. It also removes toxins and releases oxygen at night, which can help to clean the air in your workspace. Upright vertical growth.
  • Care: The Snake Plant can go weeks between waterings, making it a perfect choice for frequent travelers or part-time workers.
  • Sun: Keep out of direct sun, bright diffused light is preferable.

CDI Features Workplace Plants
Clockwise from Top Left: Snake Plant, Air Plant, Sweetheart Vine, Monstera

‘ZZ Plant’ – Zanzibar Gem
  • Description: Similar to the Snake Plant, the ZZ Plant thrives on neglect and is great for those who travel frequently.
  • Care: They will do better if you leave them alone. Bulb-like roots mean these plants only need water once a month or when the soil has dried out.
  • Sun: Bright to moderate, indirect sunlight or low light.
‘Blue Star Fern’ – Phlebodium Aureum
  • Description: The Blue Star Fern boasts an unusual powdery blue color that appears as a silvery aqua. For best results, place a humidity tray under its pot or group with other plants to increase moisture levels.
  • Care: Requires low, indirect light and plenty of moisture.
  • Sun: Place in indirect light toward the center of the room.
‘Kangaroo Paw Fern’ – Osorum Diversifolium
  • Description: The Kangaroo Paw Fern provides bright, shiny emerald green fronds all year. Reaching about one foot in height, this compact variety plant is perfect for areas of limited square footage that receive any level of light.
  • Care: Water when the top half of the soil has dried.
  • Sun: Prefers medium to bright indirect light.
‘Colorama’ – Dracaena Marginata
  • Description: The Dracaena Marginata adds bright splashes of magenta, green and cream to your space. Easy to maintain, it can grow to fit spaces of virtually any size, from a 4-inch container to a 6-foot tree.
  • Care: Water when the top 2-3 inches of soil is dry.
  • Sun: Keep it in the brightest indoor areas to help maintain its saturated colors.

CDI Features Workplace Plants
Clockwise from Top Left: Colorama, ZZ Plant, Kangaroo Paw Fern, Blue Star Fern

Methods of Incorporating Workplace Plants

Organizations can transform the aesthetic of their workplace with the simple addition of plants. The most common way to achieve the aforementioned positive effects is by incorporating large potted plants or planters into the floor plan and smaller ones atop desks and tables. Varying the colors, textures and heights can help mimic the random way plants appear outdoors. CDI recently installed hanging planters into their award-winning showroom, adding to its already biophilic-rich workspace.

Living green walls, moss walls and movable dividers are also becoming popular methods of incorporating plants within the built environment. Living walls can be as small as a few square feet or as large as an atrium. A number of manufacturers displayed living walls with NeoCon showrooms last year, including BuzziSpace’s BuzziMood moss wall, which won an Interior Design HiP Award for best biophilic acoustic application.

CDI Features Workplace Plants
Shown Above: CDI’s Showroom in Waukesha, WI

Building a Greener Workplace

Investing in biophilic design elements, such as the indoor plants described here, can have substantial benefits for organizations and their employees. Not all plants are created equal, however, and it is important to take into consideration how much care they require before bringing them into your space. For more information on indoor plants and guidance in creating a greener workplace, contact the CDI team today.

CDI Features Plants in the Workplace


Image Source: Office Snapshots, Hearst Offices in London

About CDI

Corporate Design Interiors (CDI) is an industry-leading commercial furniture dealership whose award-winning product knowledge, thoughtful design coupled with strategic planning deliver functional and inspiring interiors designed to foster employee well-being, productivity and engagement. CDI’s relentless focus on delivering positive workplaces mirroring the culture and vision of companies while delivering a high value investment has earned CDI diverse clients including;  established Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits/public sector and energetic startups.

As a “Select” Kimball dealer, CDI’s excellence in sales, partnership, quality improvement, community involvement and overall business best practices earned it the 2017 Kimball Premier Partner Award.  CDI was selected among 52 other Kimball Select dealerships throughout the country for this industry-leading honor, earning additional praise for its company culture and enterprise practices.

CDI Awarded 2017 Kimball-PremierPartnerView the video below to take a further look into Corporate Design Interior’s award-winning partnership with Kimball.

Contact Us

Corporate Office & Showroom:
1711 Paramount Ct., Waukesha, WI  53186
P  262.521.1010