BACK in March, working from home seemed like a temporary measure, but as we near the end of October, the home office has become a more permanent feature of our lives than we might have first imagined.

This month we’re looking at how plants make the environment relaxing and healthy, and suggest some easy-care plants for the home office to create a space that helps improve concentration and effective working.

The benefits we get from greenery and plants for both our physical and mental wellbeing have been well-documented but, if proof were needed, 2020 has amply demonstrated just how important the natural environment is for our health and happiness.

With few exceptions, plants improve the quality of the atmosphere – both indoors and outdoors – by removing CO2 and air-borne pollutants and re-oxygenating the atmosphere. The important role of plants in reducing pollution is now so widely recognised that many nations are actively promoting large-scale planting of trees.

Whilst most of us would be upset to think that there might be poor air quality in our homes, the reality is that common airborne pollutants such as CO2, formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds and phthalates from new materials and furnishings are quite normal, and that is exacerbated where the building, furnishings and decoration are new.

Working from home offers an opportunity to optimise the air quality in which we work and live, ensuring best conditions. Although there’s no substitute for opening the window and circulating the air, we live in Scotland and sometimes that’s simply not possible! Cue houseplants to help improve the air quality, reduce noise pollution and generally create a more relaxed, natural environment.

Our top 5 indoor plants:


1. Chlorophytum (the spider plant)

Possibly our best-selling indoor plant, this green and white variegated plant is very simple to care for.

With research showing that the spider plant is capable of removing up to 90 per cent of household air-borne toxins in just two days, it’s easy to see why it’s a customer favourite.

The graceful arching habit of the spider plant makes it suitable as either a hanging plant or in a pot on the desk.

One interesting feature of the spider plant is that it produces little ‘plantlets’ on stems which can be easily rooted to create a new plant.


2. Spathiphyllum (the peace lily)

The peace lily is also a very easy plant to care for, and very attractive with glossy green leaves and pure white flowers. It is an excellent air purifier and is particularly good at removing mould spores and household vapours such as benzene, ammonia and acetone.

Depending on the variety, the peace lily can range in height from around 35cm to over one metre.

The peace lily is happy in medium to low light levels, making it ideal for the home office. Attractive purely as a foliage plant, you’ll encourage more flowering with better light.

The peace lily is unlikely to need watering every day and it’s best to take your cue from the plant itself. If the leaves begin to droop, it’s usually a sign that it needs some water, but be careful and check that it’s not because you have over-watered – being too generous with water is one of the most common reasons for these plants to fail!


3. Ficus benjamina (the weeping fig)

Many plants – both indoors and outdoors – can be useful in reducing noise pollution. So, if your home office is in the corner of a room that’s used by other family members, plants with lots of foliage can be a useful way to create an aesthetic room divider and separate noise.

There are many weeping fig varieties available, offering a choice of different shades of green or variegated silver/green or gold/green foliage.

Weeping figs thrive in areas where there is good light and if light is only available from one direction, growth will be primarily on the light-facing side. That’s fine if the plant is only seen from one side, for example if it’s against a wall, but for all-round foliage, you’ll need to rotate the plant occasionally.

As with most houseplants, water when the compost is dry to the touch and take care not to over-water.


4. Monstera (the Swiss cheese plant)

One of the most easily recognised indoor plants with an upright habit and large glossy leaves with cuts and holes (hence the Swiss cheese name), it’s native to the South American rainforests and it is understood that the leaves have naturally developed these holes and cuts to help the plant’s large leaves avoid damage in tropical storms.

In the home, it is often grown on a moss pole to provide an anchor for the aerial roots (roots that appear above ground) which fix into the pole for stability as the plant grows taller.

This plant doesn’t need a great deal of attention; water when the compost becomes dry, and place it in a bright room but preferably not in direct sunlight, and mist the leaves if the humidity seems low.


5. Sansevieria (mother-in-law’s tongue, snake plant)

All Sansevieria are incredibly tough and, for those who believe that they can’t keep plants, this is definitely the plant that should change their thinking!

There are many different varieties of Sansevieria, with different common names including the mother-in-law’s tongue because of its sharpness, or the snake plant because of its mottled foliage.

These striking plants have upright, rigid leaves which can be flat or cylindrical, green, variegated or even striped depending on variety. With their simple, bold, architectural structure, they are almost sculptural in appearance and requiring minimal attention, they’re tolerant of even the least green-fingered.


Of course, these are only a few of the many different indoor plants we have in the garden centre where our staff are always happy to give you help and advice on the best plants for your home office. You can also see a selection of plants and care advice on our website at