We’ve long suspected it…and now it’s been backed by science: that plants boost productivity. Yes, according to a study published last year, adding a ruffly fiddle leaf fig to your cubicle or a zamioculcas to your desktop could increase your creative output — and your happiness — by up to 15 percent.
Twist our arms! This study popped up at exactly the right time. When I got a new job at an ad agency at the beginning of this year, I scored some seriously cool coworkers and a beautiful office — one with tall northwest-facing windows, a quirky geometrical shape and a wall painted a tranquil shade of pistachio. Plant-wise, it was mostly a blank slate. So Ryan and I decided to turn my workspace into a houseplant haven.
What’s this new gig? I now work as a senior copywriter for Roni Hicks & Associates, so every day brings new ways get creative, which I love — although at times it can feel like being entrusted with catching lightning in a bottle. Taglines, subject lines, clever calls to action. So it’s kind of nice to have a fern or two to bounce ideas off of! The extra oxygen also helps.
The agency is already extremely plant-friendly, with bromeliads and ponytail palms growing throughout the suite, so they started me off with a tall dracaena. From there, Ryan and I searched for species that would thrive in bright but not direct light: ferns, wax plants, more dracaenas, even select succulents in interesting colors.
Next, we needed planters. Enter hayneedle.com, the Omaha-based retailer known for its abundance of stylish home furnishings and plant habitats. They got in touch with us and proposed a collaboration: Ryan and I do a makeover of a space using our favorite planters from the shop. Fueled by our burning love of midcentury shapes, we made a beeline for this Hip Haven bullet planter, whose turquoise curves glow against a black frame. Plus we love how the latter lifts a houseplant up to hip height. It’s the height of hip! The lushness and texture of a Boston fern turned out to be this planter’s perfect match.
I didn’t think we would get a second dracaena for my space (as they can come off as a tad too lanky), but my new table-height ‘Janet Craig’ is smaller than many of the dracaenas we’ve encountered, with darker, more compact leaves. It needed a container that was midsize and also modular so that it could nestle against my desk without blocking foot traffic. This Sunscape Steel Square Planter fit the bill — we also adore the smooth cube shape and smartly notched legs.
On the opposite side of the office, a larger black Belham Living Fiber Clay Caterina Square Planter is the yin to its yang — and a sturdy home for my office’s original dracaena.
The plant that I might be the most tickled about is my new spider plant, Chlorophytum comosum, a lucky find from our local swap meet. Claim to fame: It sends out long stems studded with plantlets, earning its alt name of hen-and-chickens. A very cool feature, but also one that made C. comosum tricky to repot.
After some experimentation we planted the spider plant inside a Playmobil USA Lechuza Classico Self-Watering Planter and positioned it at the top of my bookshelf. The cascade of pom-pom-like plantlets looked playful and vibrant against my books and tchotchkes. (The self-watering feature will come in handy when the workload gets hairy.) The planter’s color also complements the crisp variegation in the leaves.
Drawing the most compliments from coworkers is our Campania International Basic Element Cast Stone Planter. A soulful, heavy, highly textured hunk of cast stone and concrete, this design made our indoor succulent dreams come true.
We used it to create a colorblocking effect with golden sedum, Cotyledon campanulata, Pachyveria ‘Belle Blue’, and graptosedum, all succulents that do well in shallow planters like this one. (We put it up on little wooden blocks and placed petri dishes beneath to catch draining water.) The final result is spectacular: The plants’ copper, green, purple and blue tones radiate against the planter’s modern gray, which also looks quite handsome against the pale metallic teal of my windowsill.
The needs of our plants vary. For example, the fern’s soil will need to stay moist, as opposed to the succulents’ medium, which will be watered rarely, probably just once a month — especially because the window faces northwest and doesn’t get direct sun. The air plants in our DIY frame get spritzed a couple times a week with soaks every other week. The dracaenas get watered about once a week / whenever the soil feels slightly dry. In addition to sticking our fingers in the soil to guide our waterings, we’re putting together a care schedule for everything, which we recommend. We’ve already picked up a Stainless Steel Aguo Watering Can to keep everything flourishing.
How does it feel walking into this green, leafy, plant-filled office? Pure bliss. For all the times it seems like I’m adding more work to my life, it’s nice to remember that I can always add more life to my work.
This post was sponsored by hayneedle.com, whose products we thoroughly dig. Thanks for supporting companies that help the Horticult continue to grow!