If you’re like most people, then you spend more time at the office than at home. To make your workdays more bearable, you were thinking of getting some plants. The only problem? There’s no sun where you work, like none at all. You don’t even have access to a window. Can you still have plants? We dug around extensively to provide you the best answer to this common question.
What is the best plant for an office with no windows? There is no particular best plant for an office with no windows, but rather, many. Your options include:
- ZZ Plant
- Peacock Plant
- Peace Lily
- Maidenhair Fern
- English Ivy
- Dumb Cane
- Cast Iron Plant
Are you curious what those plants are, what they look like, and how to grow them? Then you won’t want to miss this article, as we’ll delve deep into each plant on this list that doesn’t need sun to thrive.
The Best Plants for an Office with No Windows
The first plant we recommend if you have no sunlight to work with is the ZZ plant or zamioculcasi. This plant has small leaves with a waxy texture and plenty of foliage. It’ll boost your mood when you come into the office each day, and, even better, you can’t really mess up its care. In fact, it’s one of those plants where direct light actually hurts it.
Yes, that’s right. The ZZ plant’s leaves will curl up and turn yellow if it’s getting too much light. Do keep it out of fluorescents if you can. Lower-light areas work best.
Speaking of plants you can’t kill very easily, there’s also succulents. They can handle periods of no water, but too much water can be detrimental, so tread carefully. Succulents do have certain light requirements as well, but artificial light like your office fluorescents will do just fine.
Originally found in Africa, the Sansevieria also goes by the names snake plant, snake tongue, bow string hemp, jinn’s or devil’s tongue, and amusingly, even mother-in-law’s tongue. This extremely common houseplant grows tall, light green leaves with dark green lines across them, kind of like snakeskin.
After watering your Sansevieria, ensure the soil fully dries out fully before you add anymore water again. Otherwise, the plant will rot. They are known for being extremely susceptible to root rot from overwatering. Snake plants will thrive in indirect sunlight, will be fine in low light situations but some sun won’t hurt if you can get it. To learn how to care for snake plants check out this article I recently wrote titled “Snake Plant Care 101: Everything You Need to Know“. The article has information on what to do, how to do it & when to do it.
Another great plant that will grow really well in an office with no windows is the Epipremnum aureum or Pothos. Pothos are fantastic for indoor areas where you want a plant but the area doesn’t get much natural light. If you’re into having a plant that grows long vines in your windowless office a pothos can definitely liven up the mood.
While the pothos is ideal for beginners who want a plant in their office, even though there aren’t any windows, you’ll be happy to know that if you ever end up moving to an office with more light, you can grow pothos in low or medium light so moving your pothos to another office with more light will also be fine.
Get into that tropical mindset each time you walk into work with a lovely philodendron growing in your dark cubicle. The large, distinctive leaves of this plant are called heartleaves. Those leaves not only look appealing, but they can handle various lighting situations and lots of conditions without dying.
Even if you can only provide some shade, your philodendron should continue growing normally. If you notice leaves with huge spaces between them and stems that look especially slim, then change the lighting conditions. The philodendron needs more light in that instance. Also, keep in mind this plant can get large, with a width of about six feet and a height of roughly three feet. Make sure you have the office space!
The appealing Calathea makoyana or peacock plant earned its name because of its vivid leaves. They encompass a variety of colors, including pale green, a brighter green, and a darker version of this color as well. With their unique pattern, you’d almost mistake these leaves for the delicate, awe-inspiring feathers of a peacock.
Too much direct light can alter the look of those leaves, turning them dull and pale. Lower or medium light suffices.
Despite its name, the peace lily is a plant, at least mostly. Known as the sathiphylullum, the peace lily does look like it sprouts one lonely white flower petal. What you’re actually looking at is known as the plant’s leaf bract. That surrounds what is a flower, the yellow part.
Put your peace lily away from direct light and then watch it grow. Some can get up to 24 inches high, while other peace lilies will extend 40 inches tall. If you only have fluorescent light in your office, that’s okay. Low-light areas and mid-light spaces also let the peace lily reach its full potential. If you notice the leaf bract hasn’t developed, or your peace lily is starting to turn brown or even black, it’s most likely because it’s gotten too much light. Oh, and peace lilies act as a natural air purifier, so they’re healthy, too!
The maidenhair fern, also known as the adiantum, has a look unlike the other plants we’ve covered thus far. It features tiny, sprouting leaves attached to a vine, sort of like hair. That said, as nice-looking as it is, you have to take a lot of precautions when growing maidenhair fern. For instance, don’t use hard water, only distilled water. That means filtering the water you give the plant and not just getting it straight from the tap.
Furthermore, you need to maintain soil moisture or else root rot can occur. Also, try to provide humidity for the maidenhair fern if possible. Finally, avoid bright sunlight, keeping the plant in a room where indirect light is prevalent.
Spruce up any office environment with some English ivy. These climbers can grasp onto your wall and make it look like a work of art given the time (several years). While lots of light will inspire their bright colors to appear, it’s not a necessity.
With its amusing name and its oversized, attractive leaves, dumb cane or dieffenbachia is another plant you can consider for your light challenged office space. Please note that the Dumb Cane is toxic if ingested. That being said, the Dumb Cane is a plant you want to keep far away from your pets. Even though they are dangerous if eaten, you can often find these plants in offices and homes across the country, so you’re far from alone if you grow one.
Depending on the variety of dumb cane, it’ll have different lighting requirements. Some Dumb Cane plants need low filtered light and others stronger filtered light, such as what you can find through a window or curtain. You obviously don’t want a dumb cane that only thrives in bright light, so do your homework and make sure you choose the best one for your “lack of light” situation.
Cast Iron Plant
Like the metal it’s named after, the Aspidistra elatior or cast iron plant is quite durable. While you’ll need some patience to get through the growing phase (since it’s not a particularly fast growing plant), once your cast iron plant sprouts its ginormous, curved green leaves, your plant should withstand almost anything.
The leaves can get dirty and dusty without cleaning them, thus preventing the cast iron plant from deriving nutrients as readily from light. With a soft cloth, you can keep this plant clean. As for the lighting to use, the less direct, the better.
Another plant with lighter green patterns on a darker green base, aglaonema or aglos has a few varieties. Some boast red and pink, both of which appears in the plant’s leaves and stems. Even with their apparent beauty, you can still grow aglaonema indoors in an office with no windows.
I forgot to water my indoor plant for a few days. Will it die?
Sometimes you get so busy with a major project at the office that you completely forget to water your plant for a day or two. Okay, maybe more like three or four days. Will it survive?
It depends on the plant you chose. Some plant species, like succulents, don’t need a lot of water. Others, like the cast iron plant and the ZZ plant, are dependable and don’t die easily. If you have concerns about a particular plant, see the section above and its growing requirements.
Does having a plant indoors bring bugs into the office?
Yes, some plants will attract bugs and insects. One such unwanted visitor you might get is the fungus gnat. These bugs flitter around the office, causing distractions and irritation. Mites and mealybugs could also invade your workspace. Mites could eat and thus destroy your growing plant, especially if you have English ivy. Mealybugs will hop around on the big leaves of some plants, noticeable because of their white color.
If you discover a critter infestation, you might want to try some bug removal products or let someone in your office know what’s going on.
Can plants trigger allergies?
While it depends on what you’re growing, indeed, plants can act as allergens for some. If an employee at your office consistently comes in itching, sneezing, coughing, and congested, it’s possible your plant is what caused it. Talk to the employee about their symptoms and then consider moving or even removing the plant.
Besides allergies, bacteria and mold can develop in plants with standing water or too much water in general (from overwatering). If you water your plant diligently but not excessively and you clean all the water up when you’re done with it, you can prevent mold. This will keep your office a healthier place for everyone.