THOUGHTS ON VEGETATION IN YOUR OFFICE.
Indoor plants provide numerous health benefits, not to mention they can act as the primary accent for your office and provide the palette that inspires your design choices.
Benefits of indoor plants
At the most basic level, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, refreshing the air in your office. They can effectively help to control humidity. Additionally they are shown to eliminate harmful toxins in the air. NASA research shows that indoor plants can remove up to 87% of toxins in air in 24 hours.
"The Dutch Product Board for Horticulture commissioned a workplace study that discovered that adding plants to office settings decreases fatigue, colds, headaches, coughs, sore throats and flu-like symptoms. In another study ..... sickness rates fell by more than 60 percent in offices with plants. "(https://www.bioadvanced.com/articles/5-benefits-houseplants)
Studies show that plants increase concentration and focus, improving productivity in the office environment. Additionally they lead to a reduction in experienced stress levels, and improve mood. Seeing greenery and nature induces calm helping you or our patients relax.
Utilizing plants will also help to soften and absorb sound in your office. By helping to manage the sound, they increase the sense of privacy, reduce noise and minimize it's reflections.
How many plants do you need to make an improvement in the health of your office space? Surprisingly not many. Studies show that you need only one large plant in an 8in pot for every 100sf of floor space. So for a typical therapists office, consider needing only a single 8in pot with a second 4in pot, or four 4 inch pots should satisfy your needs.
Indoor plants and what is right for you.
We have established in previous posts the benefits of indoor plants: removal of toxins, regulation of humidity, reduction in sound, increase in productivity, reduction in stress. But what are the right type of plants for you and how can you maintain them?
Living plants need maintenance: watering, trimming, and observation. In selecting your plants, you want to consider your level of commitment to maintaining them. Orchid's, while beautiful, will surely die without a significant amount of care, where as succulents can be ignored for lengths of time and still remain healthy.
First, observe the light and orientation of your office. Does is get direct sunlight, or indirect? Does your office run hot or cool?
Second, identify where you would like to have some plants? Are you looking to fill a corner? Consider a large plant or a small tree in a 12in to 18in pot. How about a few plants on your bookshelf? Hanging vines or plants from a low 8in - 12in pot may work well. Do you have a window sill? Measure it's depth to identify the best size pot. On your desk? Keep it small and manageable so that your plants don't crowd you out.
Now, consider your plants. Here are three selection criteria to keep in mind:
How much water do they need?
How much sun do they need?
How much care do they need?
Plants are objects in a space. Give them visual distance to breathe. This is an office not a greenhouse, and the jungle look doesn't really work. Identify a few areas that could use some green, and add a couple of plants in moderation. Then observe your ability to care for them. There is no shame in admitting you don't have a green thumb. Find the plant that fits your ability to care for them.
No Need to Feel Ashamed
Let's face it, we all don't have green thumbs.....We buy a plant and place it in our office. Then our stories and experiences diverge.
For some, it becomes a source of anxiety as failure slowly sets in. It's inevitable death, from over watering, or under watering, too much sun, not enough light. As it doesn't thrive we begin to panic, research, plead with it to recover, but all for not. Until our plant is dead.
For others, it's a matter of good old fashion neglect. We place it on the shelf. Days pass by, unwatered, baking in the sun. Until one day we come in and notice the spider webs in the bare branches, and all its leaves on the ground.
The last group of us thumbless wonders, the torturers, that keep their plants hanging on... neither thriving nor dying, but barely living in a state of perpetual decay. Sparse yellow leaves, drooping and sagging. It looks unhealthy, as though it's asking you to end it's suffering, but you keep it going, because, maybe, just maybe, you'll be able to turn it around.
For those of us with similar experiences, there is a better alternative; the artificial plant. Don't be embarrassed, you won't be judged. People wont even notice. The good news is they are affordable and readily available. The only maintenance they need is to make sure they are regularly dusted. Dust unfortunately is the tell tale sign that your plants are fake.
Embrace the idea of artificial plants. They will add color to your office, and induce the same level of calm in décor as real plants create.