Plant Beauty in Your Office


When this govie gal dropped off her car for repairs last week, she noticed several plants on the receptionist’s counter top. Govie Gal’s inquiring mind wanted to know more. When and why did you decide to bring plants in? How did you choose these particular ones? How do you keep them so lively?

The keeper of the plants, auto advisor Jen Jones lit up at the chance to discuss them.

“I can’t believe they’ve lasted this long,” she said. Her orchids have lasted three years already. The other plants were newer. Pointing to a pretty, leafy vine cascading the gray counter-top, she added, “Honestly, I don’t even know what this one is called. We just keep rooting it and re-planting it and it just keeps growing.”

Govie Gal here recognized the heart-leafed Philodendron because I have several of my own – rooted from one a friend on the job gave me.  Jen had received her plants from her colleagues as “Thank You” gifts over the years. She had decided to keep them in the office instead of taking them home.

“I think they’re pretty,” Jen explained. “They give the area some color because it’s pretty dark in here.” Yes, the gray walls would be a little glum, I realized, without the pops of color offered by the green leaves – and red leaves on the plants in the waiting area.

Plants add beauty in our cubicles, lobbies, and waiting rooms while offering health benefits and generating conversation. Some psychologists champion adding plants for reasons that go beyond aesthetics.

“Offices devoid of pictures, souvenirs or any other distractions are ‘the most toxic space’ you can put a human into,” according to psychologists quoted in an article in The Guardian newspaper. Luckily, it doesn’t take a Congressional mandate to “detoxify” our work spaces with pretty little plants.

Look around your office. Are there enough plants to display beauty on every side? If not, you may be the one to bring it in. It doesn’t take much to plant beauty. A $10 plant can go a long way. Go ahead and add some beauty. It’s so easy to do with plants.

French designer Christian Louboutin put it this way, “There are few plants that are ugly. It’s how you use them that may not be pretty.”

Sonsyrea Tate Montgomery is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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I work for NIH and we are not allowed to have plants in our work space!
We moved to our new building on Rockledge Drive last year and we were told plants were strictly prohibited. In our old space, many of us kept plants in our offices and we also had some in our shared space. It definitely added to the appeal of the work environment. Nobody will give us a reasonable justification for the plant prohibition. They just say the landlord makes the rules. What can we do?


I am so sorry you are not allowed to have plants in your new office space! We had a bit of a battle about plants when we moved into our new space two years ago. The landlord was concerned about water on the floors, loose dirt spilling onto surfaces, insect infestations, and allergens. We even had a plant height and width restriction! We formed a group that worked directly with the landlord to address these issues. We needed to work with our management team and Facilities people as well as the landlord to come to an agreement. We are now allowed to have plants, but they are carefully maintained, with saucers under the pots, dead leaves removed, etc. In our discussions, we mentioned not only the psychological benefits of plants, but also the environmental benefits of cleaner air. Good luck!