Oh please / oh oh oh please / grow for me ( -- from "Little Shop of Horrors")
September 12, 2005 10:09 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to get a small-to-medium-sized potted plant to liven up my dreary work cubicle. It won't receive any sunlight at all and will be exposed to 24 hours a day of pinkish fluorescent lighting and the glare of several computers and TV screens. The best it can hope for is fresh water and fertilizer/nutrient supplements as needed. Other than those boring and ubiquitous bamboo sticks, what else is there? Bonus points if it flowers or smells nice.
posted by Asparagirl to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm horrible with plants, but I've been unable to kill my Snake Plant. It gets no light, I always forget to water it, but it just never dies.
posted by TurkishGolds at 10:12 AM on September 12, 2005

Pothos. Does just fine in fluorescent cube hell -- I have several. It even grows. They tolerate icky light even better than snake plants. Peace lilies flower and do fine in low/artificial light, but they do require more careful attention to a regular watering schedule.

(A lot of supposed "low light tolerant" plants will just...exist in low light, and will eventually start looking ratty when they are forced to skip several growing seasons. Also, anything with any kind of color in the leaves needs light for that color to stick around, FYI.)
posted by desuetude at 10:26 AM on September 12, 2005

Aspidistra, spathiphyllum and some good tips here about low light plant care (ignore the condescending tone, though).
posted by Lynsey at 10:31 AM on September 12, 2005

Here are some nice pictures of plants recommended for low light office situations. And here is a page about "cubicle landscaping" a term which makes me think of your raking out some nice black topsoil across your desk... You might also try switching our some of those pinkish fluorescents with fluorescent grow light tubes, which worked pretty well for keeping my plants alive when I was a windowless office dweller.
posted by LarryC at 10:36 AM on September 12, 2005

The Peace Lily is a good low-light, cubicle plant, with elegant white flowers.
posted by essexjan at 11:31 AM on September 12, 2005

yeah, keep the aspidistra flying
posted by matteo at 11:55 AM on September 12, 2005

"The aspidistra became a sort of symbol for Gordon after that. The aspidistra, flower of England".
-- Mr Blair

posted by matteo at 11:59 AM on September 12, 2005

I sent off your question to my Landscape Architect friend. Her group is stuck in a cubicle farm, nowhere near windows, yet everyone has amazing plants there.

She seconded what the other posters have suggested, and offers a few more: pothos (golden and silver), christmas cactus, african violet, and schefflera. Each of these does well in very dry air (i.e. typical office environment).
posted by luneray at 1:55 PM on September 12, 2005

philidendrons are good, but they get kind of big. Here's a link to a Sunset page with some suggestions. If you really wanted to get into it, you could start a little terrarium with some ferns, moss, African violets. If it has a lid, it will hold in moisture and be a more conductive environment than you average office. Add a little grow light and voila!
posted by slimslowslider at 7:12 PM on September 12, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone! Great suggestions all around.
posted by Asparagirl at 8:42 PM on September 13, 2005

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