Vegetable friend for my underground lair
November 11, 2010 12:20 PM   Subscribe

What's a good plant for a small basement home office with a small basement-style window?

I live in upstate New York, and the temperature in this room is usually 65-70F in the cold months, up to 80 or so in the summer. There's not a lot of fresh air this time year, or direct sunlight ever, but there is a little light from the window and occasionally the overhead lights are on. I produce plenty of carbon dioxide.
posted by swift to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Spider plant. Yessss. First.
posted by seagull.apollo at 12:31 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Maybe mother-in-law's tongue? Mine has gone from very little indirect light to being outside in daylight all summer with no apparent problems, and can go for months without water somehow. I also have some gorgeous rex begonias that actually dislike direct sunlight. They are both pretty common in garden centers, nurseries, and even grocery stores, I believe.
posted by theredpen at 12:32 PM on November 11, 2010

Almost all philodendrons and many ferns (particularly if your basement is on the humid side).
posted by Siena at 12:34 PM on November 11, 2010

posted by jquinby at 12:37 PM on November 11, 2010

oh, uh - do you have any cats? They tend to find houseplants irresistible and some of them are sort of toxic to cats.
posted by jquinby at 12:38 PM on November 11, 2010

Seconding the rex begonia suggestion. Keep water off their leaves, water them at the base. Some will even give you little white flowers in low light and they stay fairly compact.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 12:50 PM on November 11, 2010

So far, all have been good suggestions, I would particularly recommend the spider plant or a Japanese Peace Lily, since both are particularly good at filtering air.
posted by thebestsophist at 12:57 PM on November 11, 2010

Zanzibar Gem - nice shiny green leaves, don't water it very often, apparently good at converting bad office air into nice stuff. An organisation I work with has had one in a windowless office for several months, and it is very happy, putting up new shoots etc.
posted by AnnaRat at 1:26 PM on November 11, 2010

Seconding pothos as long as you don't have any pets that might eat it. I have an office pothos that gets almost no light and does great.
posted by dayintoday at 1:37 PM on November 11, 2010

I do have two cats. They are mostly not in the basement, though, and I could probably put the plant in an inaccessible spot.
posted by swift at 1:53 PM on November 11, 2010

I have had a peace lily for 8 years and a pothos for 3. Both thrive on neglect and dim indirect light.
posted by esoterrica at 1:55 PM on November 11, 2010

I also have cats. I believe the peace lilies are unsafe for cats, yet strangely attractive to them. Otherwise a good suggestion.
posted by theredpen at 3:53 PM on November 11, 2010

posted by DMelanogaster at 6:07 PM on November 11, 2010

Thanks everyone! I am strangely attracted to Pothos now.
posted by swift at 7:23 PM on November 11, 2010

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