How to bring nature into your home office with houseplants
As we continue to work from home, one way to keep spirits lifted is to bring the outside in with house plants.
Their impact goes beyond being aesthetically pleasing as they have been found to have a whole host of psychological benefits too. According to many studies, house plants have the ability to improve mood, reduce stress and increase productivity. Even taking a few minutes to care for them can be calming.
Studies show that people in rooms with houseplants experience less anxiety, pain and fatigue. That’s a good reason to have a few in your home office space to keep things calm during a difficult zoom call or to keep us awake during an interminable, boring one!
It’s well known that being around nature and plants can provide a big boost to our mental health, so what’s stopping you from having some in your workspace? If it’s because you’re not confident about plant care, here are some pointers to get you started:
- Watering: Most people tend to water their house plants when they remember but you should really stick to a schedule. However, if the schedule is once a week, that just won’t cut it. How often you water depends on the lighting and humidity levels in the space, but a general rule of thumb is to let the soil go slightly dry to the touch before watering again.
- Humidity: For the most part, the water that is applied to the surface of your soil is only helping strengthen the roots and stems. The leaves could really use a misting or two of water every day or two. Spraying your plant leaves helps to remove dust, allowing better uptake of natural light.
- Drainage, Drainage Drainage: A layer of course gravel placed in the base of the pot cover before the soil and plant is added gives water a place to go, so it doesn’t rot your roots. Remember, most plants prefer wet feet and dry ankles! They say you should have only one cook in the kitchen and the same rule applies for watering house plants – only one person does the watering! That way you know they’re not being drowned.
- Know Your Windows: When you buy your house plant, the care tag will usually indicate full sun, partial sun or shade. Full sun is considered to be unblocked or unfiltered southern light, with western sunlight as a runner-up. If you have northern or eastern light, stick with plants that like shade or partial sun. Remember, the light needs to be bright enough to read a book by, with the lights off, for a plant to survive.
Six low-maintenance plants to perk up your home office
These six plants require minimal effort but deliver maximum positive impact in terms of aesthetics and mood.
1. Ficus Ginseng (Bonsai plant)
Bonsai are fantastic plants for the beginner enthusiast. They are very easy to grow and are a real focal point in any room.
Position: bright light, but will tolerate lower light levels.
Tips: keep the soil moist. In winter, let the soil slightly dry between waterings.
Calatheas are also known as prayer and peacock plants. These striking plants are renowned for their beautiful foliage and come in an array of beautiful colours. If Vogue had a magazine for plants, this would be on the front cover.
Position: low-to-medium light levels, perfect for north-facing windows or rooms with low light levels.
Tips: always keep the soil moist. Mist leaves with lukewarm water on a regular basis.
Also known as Kentia Palm. These plants make a statement in any room. They really do add a tropical paradise feel to the home or office. They look impressive and don’t need very much attention.
Position: anything from semi-shade to bright location, but no direct sunlight.
Tips: keep damp – do not allow the compost to dry out. They do like to be sprayed with a mister every few days as they absorb water through their leaves as well as their roots.
This fantastic plant is better known as the snake plant or Mother-in-Law’s-Tongue. This easy-care plant has really become the star of foliage plants. Not only because of its striking leaves but also for its remarkable abilities to remove toxins from the air.
Position: full light, perfect for bright rooms or south-facing rooms.
Tips: let it dry out between watering – they really can take a lot of neglect! Overwatering is its biggest enemy.
Commonly known as Spaths or Peace Lilly. A beautiful plant with shiny green leaves and brilliant white flowers. A very easy-care plant, which will tolerate low light levels and minimum care to flourish.
Position: North or East windows are perfect as they do not like direct light. They can even tolerate shady rooms, but they will not flower if light levels are very low.
Tips: Keep the soil moist but not wet. If in doubt, underwater. This plant will tell you if it needs water, as it will just droop its leaves. Water it, and it will perk right back up.
6. Phalaenopsis (Orchid)
Also known as the Moth Orchid. Many people assume these beautiful flowering plants are hard to look after. On the contrary, despite their exotic looks, they really are very easy to care for. With the minimum of care, you can have a moth orchid flowering for three months at least.
Position: Ensure they are never placed in direct light – they prefer indirect light, perfect for north or east-facing rooms.
Tips: Use tepid rainwater. Water from the top. Never allow roots to sit in water.
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