Blooming Offices

Nov 9 • Green • 485 Views • Comments Off on Blooming Offices

It has been proven that living plants improve a working environment by elevating the mood of the workers and cleaning the air. The most obvious effect is that plants are nice looking when well maintained; they help people feel welcome and comfortable. As everyone passes through a lobby or other space with flowers, they feel appreciated, especially if they must sit down and wait for some time. Green Plants for Green Buildings is an organization with a web site totally devoted to this concept.

 Cut Flowers
Flower arrangements in an office provide a welcome and create a sophisticated, but relaxed atmosphere.  Firms that often entertain clients usually keep fresh flowers at least in the lobby. In addition, flowers improve office productivity by improving the working environment, which does a lot to make workers feel at ease, comfortable, stimulated, and more likely to perform their best while at work. Many firms engage a delivery service which provides new arrangements every week.  Lots of offices use silk flowers, but somehow they just don’t seem the same.

I think that sending flowers to an employee has come back into vogue, after the years when we were all afraid to make women feel like secretaries. I love having flowers in my office (even if they are from the grocery store), as do most people. A nature break is great for everyone!  Maybe they are not as good as a bonus, but they come close.  Everyone likes to be appreciated.

Plant Maintenance
Most office flowering plants belong to a worker, unlike the plantscaping scheme created and usually maintained by professional interior landscapers. In addition to any array of plants you may want to have your service deliver flowering plants and rotate them when the blooms fade. If an employee does take care of more than their own plans, they need to remember that all indoor plants require careful watering. Most soils should be kept moist but not damp or soggy. Any water collected in a saucer below the pot should be removed immediately. Plants that lean toward a light source should be relocated to a spot with stronger light.

If you are maintaining flowering plants it is a good idea to do a little research on when and how they should be fertilized. Flowering plants often require special fertilizer to maintain and produce new blooms.  Many plants can be used in office environments, but you must consider the available window space and overhead artificial lighting.

Bulbs
I force bulbs every year, but admittedly most people can’t find the time. Good nurseries provide them potted and blooming almost all winter and early spring.  (If you are going to try forcing, buy good bulbs, not those from discount stores. You can plant them in the garden the next year.) You don’t need soil to force bulbs; nurseries have other options. (Some pebbles in the bottom of a glass vase will do fine.)

The favourite in the winter, especially at holiday time, is the amaryllis. Most people buy them at Home Depot in a box with a bulb that is almost blooming. These are fine, but sometimes are too weak to be used another year. I try to get to the nursery after Christmas and find really unusual cultivars that are on sale.

I also take daffodils and hyacinths to the office.  Daffodils are really cheery in February, and hyacinths smell AMAZING.  But you may have office mates with allergies who will object.

Cyclamens
These are a great choice; I see them in almost every plant arrangement delivered to an office. The flowers last a really long time, are quite pretty, and come in a variety of colors. They take very little care—perfect for an office.  The cultivar used in these arrangements are invariably the Florist’s Cyclamen, which does not do well outside under 50 F.

Orchids
Most offices are filled with gift flowers at the holidays, and they are usually poinsettias.  (We’ve all visited offices where someone just can’t make themselves throw away a healthy but sad-looking poinsettia, even after February. After the end of January, I just bite the bullet and put them in the trash.)  I recently worked with a client whose building manager sent orchids instead.  They are unusual, absolutely gorgeous, and everyone vied to get them into their own offices after the holiday was over. Because they were healthy, established plants, they invariably bloomed the next year. (But, be patient.)

Peace Lily
Easy care, pale white flowers, and leafy foliage make the Peace Lily an excellent office plant. It blooms in the spring, and sometimes also the fall, and lasts for two months or more. Needing little care, they will flourish in most indoor environments. They do prefer to be about eight feet from a north or west facing window, and they need plenty of water to bloom. NASA put this plant on its list of Top Ten Household Air Cleaning Plants. Not a true lily, this tropical plant breaks down and neutralizes toxic gases like formaldehyde and carbon monoxide inside its pores (For guidance go to http://www.proplants.com/guide/peace-lily-care-guide)

African Violets
I have trouble with these because I always envision my great grandmother’s collection of African Violets, which looked really sad. They do make good flowers for the office because they bloom all year, with small dark purple or lavender flowers. (They seem to be available in lots more colors now.) Fertilize with food designed for them, and keep soil moist but not soggy. Don’t confuse African Violets with primroses, available everywhere in early spring. They do look similar, and function quite well in the office with a sunny window, but they are really incredibly hardy small outdoor plants. They also come in some nice colors.

Blooming plants and cut flowers can be great additions to the work space, and usually require very little care. Some managers may prefer to let employees bring their own flowering plants, but a careful selection and arrangement of flowers can be a big mood lifter in a corporate environment.

Connie Williams is an information junkie who lives to ferret out fascinating ideas for her readers. She writes blog posts on a variety of topics such as interior landscaping.  She has been gardening and nurturing plants in challenging environments and is eager to share ideas with readers.  And who doesn’t love flowers?  She has uncovered some good ideas for corporate flowers.

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