Office Plant Guide: How To Choose The Right Plants For Your Office, Where to Place Them & How to Care for Them

office plant buying guide

Step 1: Pick the Right Spot for Your Plants

One of the most common mistakes we see when buying office plants is choosing which plants you want before you decide where they will go.

The truth is, you should decide where you want your plants before you decide which plants to buy.

This is because different plants will thrive in different spots, depending on the amount of space and light available.

When choosing a good spot for your plant, the main things to keep in mind are:


Just like people, plants need a certain amount of space to really thrive.

Do not try to squeeze plants between or behind other pieces of furniture. This will block their airflow and make it difficult for them to breathe.

Good airflow is essential for a healthy, long-living plant with strong stems. It also helps your plant maintain better temperature control, replenish CO2, reduce humidity, and resist certain diseases.

With that in mind, follow these guidelines:

  • Don’t try to squeeze your plants in a corner or behind furniture. Always make sure your plant has enough room to thrive.
  • Keep at least 6” of space in between your plants and any other furniture.
  • Place your plants in a spot with good air circulation, such as near hallways, in front of windows, and on top of tables or desks.
  • For rooms with no windows and little air flow, choose a hardy plant (like the Iron plant) that can survive in this type of environment.
  • It’s also a good idea to bring your plants out to a windowed room once in a while to give them a chance to refresh.

For rooms with little airflow, like conference rooms, we recommend keeping the door open whenever the room is not in use to allow for better air circulation.

Foot Traffic

Your office probably has a few high-traffic areas such as entrances, break rooms, and restrooms.

Be very careful about putting plants in these areas. If someone bumps into a planter and knocks it over, that will create a huge mess and probably kill the plant.

If you want to add a plant to a high-traffic room, it’s a good idea to observe the room when it’s busy to see where the traffic flows. Try to keep your plants safely out of the way.


Most office environments have low humidity due to heaters in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. This kind of temperature regulation dries out the air and the soil.

For this reason, we recommend keeping your plants away from heaters, radiators, and A/C units.

Also, keep in mind that certain plants (like Bella Palm, Bird of Paradise, and other tropical plants) require more humidity than others. These plants require daily misting to make sure they have enough moisture.


Temperature is a very important factor in plant wellness. And when it comes to temperature, here is the main thing to keep in mind:

Air conditioning causes the soil to dry out more slowly. Central or radiant heat causes the soil (and the plant itself) to dry out faster.

(This is another reason why you should keep your plants away from radiators and A/C units.)

If your office is kept at a constant temperature, then this may not be an issue for your office. However, if your office turns down the heat/air during the weekends, then your plants may require extra care. Your plants will need watering and care before the office closes for longer than a couple of days.

choosing planter color

Step 2: Choose the Right Plants for Your Office

Now that you know where your plants will go, the next step is to choose a plant that will thrive in that exact spot.

What size plants should you buy?

Your first step should be to narrow down your choice based on size. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Where will the plant go? Generally, floor plants should be taller while plants that sit on a table, desk, or window should be shorter.
  • Remember that plants grow. For this reason, it’s a good idea to buy a plant that is a little smaller than the one you ultimately want.
  • What kind of look do you want? Do you want your plant to be at eye-level, or lower? Do you want an accent piece or a bold statement? The answers to these questions will have an impact on your plant size.
  • Keep in mind the size of things around the plant. A small plant on top of a giant table might look silly, while a large plant might dwarf a tiny table next to it. Try to keep your plant in proportion to the rest of the room.

Here at My City Plants, we categorize our plants into 2 size categories:

Dekstop Plants (less than 2.5’ tall)

Small plants are perfect for decorating a windowsill, table, or desk. They’re light and easy to move around so you can find the perfect spot.

Floor Plants (2.5’ to 5’ tall)

These plants work best by seating areas, entrances, or large counter services. They’re the perfect height to place next to a chair or couch. Ideal for filling up large open spaces and high empty corners. These plants make a statement in any room.

What light level does your office have?

It’s important to make sure that the plants you buy are a good fit for the light levels in your office. Otherwise, your plant’s health will suffer if they don’t get enough light.

Read our Plant Light Guide to determine your light level.

Keep in mind that the light level depends on the exact spot where you want to place your plant. (For example: a southwest-facing window will be High Light, an east- or west-facing window will be Medium Light, and a north-facing window will be Low Light.)

Once you figure out the light level for the spot where you intend to place your plant, the next step is to choose a plant that will thrive in that exact spot:

High-Light Plants

For these plants to thrive, they need strong sunlight most of the day. They are best placed near a south- or southwest-facing window.

Medium-Light Plants

These plants need partial, filtered, or indirect sunlight at least part of the day. This includes east- and west-facing windows.

Low-Light Plants

Low-light plants are able to survive in areas with minimal light. This makes them a good fit for most office settings with a lot of fluorescent light, including north-facing windows.

decide on plant size

Step 3: Caring for your plants

When you buy a plant from My City Plants, we will send you a detailed and easy-to-follow Plant Care Instructions that tells you exactly how to care for your new plant.

However, plant care is something you should also think about before you buy your plant. This is because some plants require more care than others. If you don’t have a lot of time to take care of your plants, consider choosing a hardy plant that requires less frequent care.

Watering Your Plants

Plants are very sensitive to water. If they don’t get enough, they’ll dry out and die.

But if plants receive too much water, they can also die! Surprisingly, this is one of the most common causes of death for office plants. It happens because often the responsibility of caring for the plants is spread out over several people.

For example, your maintenance staff might send different employees on different days. If these employees are not communicating with each other, then it becomes easy for them to over-water your plants.

The best advice is to have your maintenance people check the moisture level of the soil before watering to make sure the plant is ready to be watered. If the soil is still moist, wait a few days and check again.

However, when you purchase from My City Plants, we make it much easier than that.

Most of our plants come in self-watering planters that drastically reduce the watering frequency. Unlike regular plants, plants in our planters do not require weekly care.

Fertilizing Your Plants

Everyone knows they need to water their plants, but many people overlook the importance of fertilizer.

Plants will extract nutrients from soil, and over time that soil will become depleted.

Using fertilizer helps keep your soil nutrient-rich so your plants stay happy and healthy.

For specific fertilizer instructions, follow the care instructions for your specific plant and watch our video about "How To Fertilize Indoor Plants".

Wiping Your Plants

Every few weeks, you should wipe your plant’s leaves with a moist paper towel.

Dust on your plant’s leaves can cause all sorts of problems. They can block light absorption and clog the pores of the leaves, preventing transpiration from happening. This can have a negative effect on your plant’s health and cause it to look dull.

Trimming/Clipping Your Plants

It’s important to regularly cut off dead leaves and trim back overgrown stems. This will help your plant to grow to its fullest potential.

Holidays & Weekends

Does your building shut off the A/C, light, and heat during these periods? If so, the change in light and temperature could be a problem for some plants.

Make sure to keep all doors open to allow for maximum airflow. You also might want to move plants into another room with better air circulation and windows over holidays.

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