The best house plants to add to your working-from-home space

Looking for some inspo for your home office (or the corner of your flat where you’ve managed to stash a desk)?

Our Where I Work series is a good place to start, but we all know one easy step for making our working spaces feel more zen and look super Instagrammable: adding plants.

Selecting the perfect plant for your desk isn’t as easy as just picking out whatever bit of greenery looks the prettiest.

You’ll want a plant that will survive the conditions of your indoor space, that’s easy enough to care for, and that packs the best air-purifying punch for your limited space – you still need to fit your actual work equipment on your desk along with your mini jungle, of course.

We chatted to biophilic designer and plant expert Oliver Heath, who’s working with The Joy of Plants, for his guide to the best plants to pick to transform your home-working space into a productive and calming zone.

‘Just the simple act of introducing more greenery into your home has been proven to boost productivity, Oliver says.

‘Findings from a study titled The Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace, demonstrated respondents working in places with natural features expressed feeling 6% more productive and 15% more creative at work.

‘So, wherever you set up to tackle your to-do list for the day, make sure there’s a houseplant in sight!’

Here are his recommendations for the desk plants to choose. Good news, they’re all easy to get hold of – we’ve spotted them available to order online from Patch, Crocus, Homebase, Waitrose, and Ikea.

Air plants

The most low-maintenance of the bunch, air plants are those that don’t even need soil to stay alive – just a spritz of water now and again.

You can pop them into a vase or jar or load a bunch into a tray for a mini garden.

Chinese money plants (pilea)

Oliver likes this plant’s ‘lovely round graphic shaped leaves’ – as do we.

Easy to care for and has the reputation of bringing you fortune. Handy.

Make sure you put your pilea in a pot that can drain properly, or put a pot with holes on top of a saucer and pour water into that little plate once a week.


Mini succulents and cacti are the best starter plant for your desk – they’re small enough to not take up too much space, they hardly need any care, and you can choose all sorts of styles and colours to make your own mini terrarium.

Ikea sells cute (and cheap) succulent trios and individual ones for £2 each.


A space-saving option as they’re more vertical, rather than a sprawling beast that will take up your desk space in weeks.

These need little light of water, so bamboo plants should work well no matter how poorly lit your flat or how forgetful you are with your watering schedule.


Oliver says: ‘Add some deep rich colour to your desk with these dynamic little plants whose leaves open and close by day and night’.

Devil’s ivy (pothos)

Oliver describes devil’s ivy as ‘very hardy and needs little light’ – making it ideal for office spaces with few windows or a floomy flat.

As it grows it can develop into more of a trailing plant that looks super lush and dramatic. Stick it on your desk then once it grows, pop it on a high-up shelf.

Peace lilies

These are so easy to care for because they droop oh-so-dramatically when they’re in need of a good watering – then quickly perk back up.

Snake plants

Another hardy plant that needs little light or watering, and has massive air-purifying benefits.

Get a mini one for your desk or go giant and put your snake plant – also known as mother-in-law’s tongue – in your working-from-home corner to make it instantly look more Instagram-worthy.

Areca palm

Super trendy and instantly makes your working space feel less like a flatpack desk and more like a jungle retreat.

Again, this is a type of plant that you can get as a smaller desktop version or a big option for the floor. We recommend the latter, so as it grows the leaves can sway by your computer screen (and you can pretend you’re on holiday).

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