How to grow office plants easily

Adding a touch of green

The office environment can be hard on plants. The air tends to be warmer, drier, and draftier than in most houses. Lighting is often uneven, with sun-drenched windows and dim, fluorescent-lit interiors. Heat and air conditioners are turned off on weekends so that in winter, 5 warm days are followed by 2 cold ones; in summer it is the reverse.

If you choose plants carefully, however, they will survive to brighten and soften your workplace. Unless you have a sunny window, forget flowering plants; many foliage plants do well, though, under fluorescent lights. In general, avoid plants that need moist air or dislike warmth. For a cool spot, choose a spider plant. For a moderately warm area, try a snake plant, grape ivy,wandering Jew, dracaena, dieffenbachia, parlor palm, or spathiphyllum. For warmer spots use a ponytail plant, heart-leaf philodendron, or Chinese evergreen.

If you have a number of plants, you can simplify their watering by sinking their pots in a planter full of moist peat moss. Avoid placing plants directly under air conditioning or heating outlets.