Designing with Plants in Mind

Studies have proven time and time again that real foliage in the workplace improves employee mood and well-being. Maybe you are considering adding some plants to the decor, but with so many options and decisions to make, it can be hard to know where to start! Don't worry - that's why we're here! Together we'll figure out the best plants for you.

First, consider the space in which you want to add the plants. What kind of light levels are we working with? What's the temperature like? 

Let there be light!

Most offices in Manhattan have windows that allow for at least some sunlight to enter the space. As we all know with plants, natural light is key - but also pretty fickle. Unless it's a prickly pear or other cactus, too much time in a direct sunbeam will burn a plant's leaves. If it's not fixed quickly, the plant will give off little new growth and pale leaves. Too little light and you'll see thin and spindly growth instead of something lusher and fuller. The best light for most foliage is a bright, indirect light source that's not directly in the rays.

But what about those darker corners of the office? Low light doesn't mean you can't have anything, in fact - there are plenty of plants that are just as happy to avoid the brighter rays. Consider the bamboo palm or the beautiful lisa cane. You could even try a "sun bath" for some of your plants if you think the light is too low. On Friday evening, bring your plants that normally live in those low light zones into a spot that's sunny during the day. They can have a nice weekend sun soak and then can be put away on Monday morning. After your light situation is confirmed, let's look at the temperature in the office. 

Are we hot or cold?

Look around the office and take stock in how the employees look throughout the day. Are they wearing scarves and sweaters, even in the summer? Or are they installing small desk fans because they are warm in a sunny office? A cooler office can be filled with plants that come from more temperate climates: pothos, philodendrons, and ferns. A warmer space is good for tropical plants like Bird of Paradises, dracaenas, and rubber trees

If the office is full and busy, chances are the foot traffic is high. Busyness and movement are fantastic for an office, but not always the best for plants. For a busy office, look for plants that are hardier and can take a bit of shuffling. Those are plants like the ZZ plant, the Money tree, ficus trees, among others.

Next, we look at the shape of the plants. What kind of energy should the office have? Are we going with tall tropical plants or shorter, more local foliage? 

It's all about the vibes.

Consider the shape of the foliage and the growth of the plant, how much space does the plant take up? If the office has higher ceilings, consider taller plants in some areas to give the space some extra breathing room. Thinner trees take up less space have some beautiful leaves, perfect for a lobby or a higher traffic area. Meanwhile, ferns and monsteras are shorter and wider, filling the area with lush greenery. Each space is unique, with its own energy and bespoke design. Inserting the right plants and greenery into the office landscape can only add to the space.

The most popular shapes in design are the square and the rectangle. They represent simplicity and give off a solid and balanced energy. Some plants that grow is a square fashion are ferns, Danielle ficuses, lady palms, and cast iron plants.

Triangles are also common in interior design, symbolizing perseverance and achievement: the base represents a struggle while the point at the tip is reminiscent of success. If you'd like to add some triangles and angular aspects, consider a dracaena cane plant, bird of paradise, or an adonidia palm.

The next most used shape in design is a circle. Due to the smooth edges and unending lines, circles are pleasing to the eye and relaxing. To add more of a circular aspect to your plant planning, try a large 'Regal Shield' Alocasia, a fiddle leaf fig tree, or a large Fuzzy Petiole philodendron

Buying just any plant without much consideration for the space will lead to frustration and disappointment. Finding the right foliage for the office makes employees happier, healthier, and livelier!

Click here to book a consultation with one of our resident plant experts so we can find the perfect plants together.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.