Now that people are going back to the office here in Toronto, we wanted to highlight how to find, select and care for indoor office plants. Biophilic design elements continue to become more and more common in every workspace. Unsurprisingly, more natural elements can help with mood, productivity and focus.
Office Plants are an Easy Way to Incorporate Biophilic Design in Your Workspace
One of the most straightforward ways to start bringing biophilic design elements into your space is by integrating more indoor plants into your workplace environment. This helps bring more nature into your space and positively impacts your indoor surroundings and workplace mental health.
Indoor Plants Became A Necessary Zoom Background Accessory During The Pandemic
Over the past two years, we have seen many people add plants to their homes and home office. We've even had multiple people come in asking for Zoom background plants specifically.
We believe people started buying plants at home because they didn't realize how many plants were integrated into the common areas of their offices, retail locations, and workspaces. Indoor plants are more common in our everyday interactions with space than we sometimes realize.
Plants in the home and office are essential for our physical and mental well-being because they provide us with a touch of nature. Our brains respond to images of green and blue, signs of what's needed to support life, and in a city like Toronto, we don't see many signs of life in the winter.
Most importantly, tropical plants spark joy and make people feel good.
What are the benefits of biophilic design?
Integrating natural shapes, forms, and biophilic design patterns is about more than just the plants you add to the interior space. Biophilic design has a positive impact on mental health and mood.
The concept of biophilic design deserves a long article to do it justice, but in short, here are a few other elements you can keep in mind when designing your office.
- Use windows that face the direct sun and use mirrors to reflect the sunlight to darker areas of your office.
- Photography of nature as wall art
- Art that contains relaxing blues, greens and browns
- Incorporating natural shapes and textures - curved lines and earth tones.
Why did Interiorscaping become a common element in building design?
Over the past three decades, many buildings have added Interiorscaping as a common element and amenity. Part of this has to do with the history of Sick Building Syndrome - one of the NASA clean air study's issues.
Indoor office plants are more than just a good look.
Biophilic Design is becoming an increasingly important element of interior design in our office spaces, workspaces, and homes, whether for air purification or just beautification. Beyond these two reasons, most people are looking for plants for their offices as studies have shown that plants positively impact productivity and stress management.
Greenery can increase productivity:
We've also seen a trend in people wanting plants to help productivity. A recent study from the University of Exeter found that indoor plants could improve worker productivity by 15%. Even though many businesses believe that less is more, sometimes more is more. Plants bring more life, energy, and productivity to your employees.
"Simply enriching a previously Spartan space with plants served to increase productivity by 15% -- a figure that aligns closely with findings in previously conducted laboratory studies. This conclusion is at odds with the present economic and political zeitgeist and modern 'lean' management techniques. Yet, it nevertheless identifies a pathway to a more enjoyable, more comfortable and a more profitable form of office-based working."
Marlon Nieuwenhuis (Source)
The Air Purifying Benefits of Houseplants were Discovered to Help People Feel Better in Office Buildings
What kickstarted the millions of blog articles on best air purifying plants was a study by NASA at the end of the 1980s. It was designed to help reduce the illnesses people were experiencing in commercial and apartment buildings.
The introduction of insulating and energy-efficient building techniques in the 1970s resulted in Sick Building Syndrome, which essentially meant people were dealing with several issues due to poor air quality, circulation, and the introduction of volatile organic compounds that were ending up in the air.
NASA proved that all of the plants they tested eliminated these toxins from the air. The plants themselves played a significant role because they were in pots with soil with microbes that could also digest pollutants.
The lists of the best air purifying plants include those that are proven to help - the likely scenario is that most plants provide this benefit when added to any space.
Plants are good for mental health and can reduce levels of experienced stress:
We've all heard that taking a break to get some fresh air helps, but what if the fresh air is right there in your office? Plants have been shown to help people relax and even improve how they manage stress.
"Controlling for socio-economic and demographic characteristics, positive relationships between green space and overall health and stress reduction have been reported, and the effects are transcendent to viewing images of nature. For patients in hospitals, exposure to real plants or even posters of plants resulted in lower levels of experienced stress."
Charles Hall and Melinda Knuth
What should we consider when buying office plants in Toronto?
When buying plants for your business, the most important thing is that you want them to be long-term durable assets.
When people reach out about adding plants to their offices, we always give the same advice.
Start with the environment and pick plants that won't be too dramatic if they don't receive excellent care. Plants want to live, and most of them do just that without any specific care or watering schedule in the wild.
In many cases, people already have an idea of the plant they want - but they haven't thought about the conditions. Usually, our customers are looking for:
- Low maintenance plants
- Low light plants
Our team often asks the same three when people contact us:
- Where are the windows, and what direction do they face?
- How often will someone water them?
- Is the air dry or humid?
That last point is critical - many plants can't deal with dry air. While all plants will help improve relative humidity - some of the most popular plants requested, like The Fiddle Leaf Fig, need high humidity to perform its best and not drop leaves.
Seven Easy Indoor Plants for Your OFfice
Cacti are an excellent investment for offices because they come in various shapes, sizes, and colours. They're low maintenance and can thrive in dry environments. We call them an investment because they are one of the best appreciating assets you can purchase when it comes to plants in a lot of ways. Very rarely will your beautiful giant cactus be worth less than you paid for in the future. Over the past two years, enormous cacti have performed better than bitcoin.
The Umbrella Tree, also called the Schefflera, is one of our best-selling plants. It's an exceptionally low-maintenance tree that does well in high and low light. These are beautiful, resilient tropical plants native to Taiwan, New Guinea and Australia that you can find growing in the form of trees, hedges and bushes throughout the southern states.
Umbrella Trees are an excellent choice for an office because of their low maintenance. They don't need to be fertilized and can go months without being watered. The trick is not to over-water them as that's the number one reason people kill their Umbrella Tree. The other benefit is that they come in many shapes and sizes to give you a straightforward plant to care for in multiple locations in your workspace.
Whether it's a corn plant or a dragon tree, Dracaenas are one of the most common office and house plants for a reason. They're incredibly resilient and can handle a lot of different environments. They come in various shapes, sizes, and colours to fit any office style.
They don't require a lot of water and can handle low light conditions. If you're looking for a plant that can take a little bit of abuse and help improve the air quality in your office, Dracaena's is a great option.
With massive leaves that can grow up to a foot long and wide, ZZ plants are perfect for adding some impact to your office. They're straightforward to care for and come in various shapes and sizes.
ZZ plants do well in medium to high light conditions but can still handle low light areas. They don't need a lot of water because they have a deep root system with larger tubers underneath the soil keeping which helps them remain highly drought tolerant. Just be careful not to overwater them.
Snake plants are ubiquitous office plants for multiple reasons. They're low maintenance, come in various shapes and sizes, and improve the air quality.
Snake plants have succulent leaves, which means they store water in their leaves. This resilience makes them excellent plants for offices because they don't need water often - once every two to three weeks is typically enough.
Were you looking for a splash of colour? Well, Aglaonema's, also known as Chinese Evergreens, are perfect for adding some contrast to your space. These tropical plants come in various shapes, sizes, and colours, with some having more variegation than others.
They're a low-maintenance plant that does well in medium to low light conditions. They don't require a lot of water and can go for long periods without being watered. Chinese Evergreens are a great option if you're looking for an office plant that doesn't need a lot of attention.
This trailing vine is one of the easiest to maintain. Pothos are perfect for offices because they're low-light plants that don't require a lot of water.
Pothos are great for adding some green to your office without taking up a lot of space. Most commonly known as a hanging basket or trailing plant, Pothos can also be grown on totems. When grown on more giant totems, these plants can get quite large, so if you're looking for a more significant impact, then this is the plant for you.
Special Mention: Peace Lilly's
If you are more concerned that you have the type of team that always wants to give the plant a little bit more water, the Peace Lilly's might be your perfect pick.
They come in various shapes and sizes and do well in medium to high light conditions. They don't need to be fertilized and go for long periods without being watered.
The only downside to Peace Lilly's is that they are poisonous if ingested, so if you have pets or small children, this might not be the best plant for your office.
Thanks for reading
Hopefully, you've learned why indoor plants and biophilic design do more than improve how your office looks. Our team loves working around plants, and hopefully, yours will too. Feel free to reach out to discuss which plants would work for your space so you can start to see an increase in productivity, decrease stress and improve the working environment for your team.
Promise Supply's Office Plant Program
Our team is happy to help you figure out the best plants for your office. Click here to book a free virtual consultation and get a quote if you are interested. Our team loves to search for plants for unique spaces. We bring in plants from across Canada and the US, serving customers throughout the Greater Toronto Area every week and can currently help clients throughout Ontario.
Our services include selection, sourcing, and installation. We have third-party partners who can help with ongoing care if needed.