Although green plants are not a substitute for a window, plants bring a little bit of the natural environment to a windowless office, with benefits that stretch beyond their ornamental qualities. A study by Washington State University’s Manager of Horticulture implies that plants produce a much healthier environment and increase productivity by lowering employee stress and exhaustion. Though most plants need a few hours of daily sunlight, a few hardy plants withstand low light.
Cast-iron plant (Aspidistra elatior) is a tough, reliable, low-light plant that reaches heights of 18 to 24 inches at maturity. The plant tolerates a number of conditions, including owner negligence, moist dust and leaf. Ideally, cast-iron plant is watered frequently enough to keep the potting mixture evenly moist but not soggy. Cast -iron plant thrives in normal daytime temperatures and cool nighttime temperatures of about 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema) is a showy, low-maintenance plant which adapts easily to low-light conditions. The leaves of Chinese evergreen range from light green to dark green, with grey or silvery streaks based on the range. Size of this plant from 1 to 3 feet — also varies. Chinese evergreen prefers evenly moist soil and nighttime temperatures of 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Named for its stiff, spiky leaves, snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata), also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, is an impressive plant which tolerates nearly any light level and normal room temperatures. The green leaves, together with bands of dark green, white or yellow, attain heights of up to 4 feet. Snake plant is a drought-tolerant plant which requires very little water, particularly during the winter.
Peace lily (Spathiphyllum) is a flexible plant which displays deep green, sword-like leaves, reaching adult heights of two feet. The plant blooms sometimes throughout the year, even in low-light conditions. The blooms, which continue as long as six weeks, are white when they appear, eventually turning light green. Peace lily is a low-maintenance plant that prefers evenly moist soil and normal room temperatures.
Dracaena (Dracaena marginata) is a tough, elastic plant which eventually grows a thick trunk and a tree-like shape, reaching heights of up to 8 feet. Dracaena comes in many varieties, including corn plant (Dracaena fragrans), appropriately named for its corn-like leaves; dragon tree (Dracaena marginata), with narrow, maroon-striped leaves; gold dust dracaena (Dracaena godseffiana), with rounded, gold and white speckled leaves; and striped dracaena, (Dracaena deremensis), that displays shiny leaves with grey and white stripes. Dracaena thrives in evenly moist soil and normal room temperatures.