Office plants

(Question)

Hello! I’ve been researching plants that can survive in overhead office light only, and I wanted to check in with you to make sure I’m on the right track. I’m looking for small plants to sit on shelves and I’d like a vine or cascading plant.

Considering: Ivy, Snake plant, bamboo, Cast Iron plant, Anthurium, fern, Philodendron, Rex Begonia. Any suggestions for a downtown plant shop that carries such plants? What do you think?

Thanks a bunch!
~Leah

(Answer)

Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners with your query.

Whatever plant you choose to grow indoors, you will increase your chance of success if you can simulate the plant’s original environment. You mention that you were interested in a vine or cascading plant for your office. From your list of plants you mentioned only Ivy and Philodendron are available as cascading plants.

Ivy: The key to succesfully growing Ivy indoors is light. All ivys require bright light. Without bright light the plant will become leggy and sickly looking. Indoor Ivy Plant Care  lists tips for maintaining a healthy plant.

Philodendron: Similar to Ivy Philodendron also requires a location that recieves bright, indirect light.  Without sufficient light, the plant will become quite leggy. How to Grow Philodendron gives instructions on how to maintain a healthy plant.

Cast Iron Plant, Aspidistra elatior : Even though htis plant is not a vine or cascadingplant, it is an excellent choice for an office plant. This plant grows bwell in low light and it is not finisky about regular watering. This plant thrives in temperatures from 60-80F

Antherium: Anthuriums are tropical plants native to Central and South America. These plants grow 12 to 18 inches tall with large heart shaped leaves. The flowers consist of a colorful spathe which can be red, pink, white or bicolor, and a spadix which contain the male and female flowers or reproductive parts. These plants prefer indirect sunlight. Rather than placing them on a windowsill, put them on a stand or table that is 5 to 8 feet away from the window. Like ferns, these plants require high humidity. How to Grow Antherium Plants

Ferns: These plants are relatively easy to grow, however drafts, dry air and temperature extreme are not advantageous. Ferns grow well when placed near a window that gets morning or late afternoon sun. Make sure to keep your fern away from strong sunlight, especially during the summer. Direct sunlight will make them lose their leaves or turn their fronds yellow.

Snake Plant, Sansevieria, makes an excellent houseplant. They they can survive low light levels, drought and have few insect problems.

Rex Begonia: These plants prefer bright, indirect light year-round with high humidity.

One plant that is not a cascading plant but makes an excellent house/office plant is the ZZ plant Zamioculcas zamiifoliaThis plant is virtually indestructible, it can take months of neglect and low light and still look amazing. This plant is often seen in planters in shopping malls and many office buildings. This plant does best in bright to moderate, indirect light but will do fine in extremely low levels of light making this an ideal plant for a window-less office or bathroom where it will only receive small amounts of fluorescent light.

Toronto Master Gardeners do not recommend specific nurseries however all of the above mentioned plants are readily available from any reputable nursery.