With winter right on our doorstep, many of us have already dug out our coats in order to battle the crisp temperatures. But with the number of hours of daylight getting lower, it’s not uncommon for workers to get the ‘winter blues’. An abundance of nature around us could help to make us feel happier at these times. Research conducted by the University of Oxford reveals that maintaining a link to plants and nature can improve our mental wellbeing. This supports the concept we often talk about called “biophilia”, which is based on the idea that humans have an innate need to connect with nature and the natural environment.
While it may appear that plant maintenance in winter is more onerous due to limited light, this is not always the case. Here are a few suggestions of potential office plants that wear winter best:
Living for darkness
Not every workplace has access to the right amount of light required for plants to grow properly. Avoid the hassle of replacing plants by selecting those that are pre-conditioned to survive in your space. Some of our favourites include the Aglaonema green lady, Dracaena massangeana-cane and Aspidistra elatior – all of which dislike being overwatered and embrace cold air conditions.
If a splash of colour is what you want, foliage such as Dracaenas, Sansevierias, and Aglaonema, keep their yellow and gold colour all year round and prosper even in light-deficient environments. Aglaonema in particular (also known as Chinese Evergreen) comes in a variety of shades including reds, pinks and yellows. To give the office a fresh, tropical feel, Zamioculcas zamiifolia is a good choice.
Don’t underestimate artificial
There are many artificial plants that look just like the real thing. Artificial maples, palms, bays and bamboo, for example, can all add a natural feel to a space without the need for much maintenance (just the occasional wipe with a wet cloth to remove any dust).
They’re also a great feature if a space lacks natural light, as they’ll continue to look their best whatever the conditions. Available in a range of sizes to suit all spaces, artificial plants work particularly well in building entrances, as they can withstand adverse weather conditions and don’t require water.
Silk flowers are an authentic-looking alternative, with floral designs often made to order, so they look bespoke, clean and fresh. These designs can even include colour combinations that match your business’ corporate colours.
It’s not just plants that can provide a biophilic environment during the darker days – interior design can too. Increasingly, organisations are expanding the scope of plant-based design features to include living walls which help transform indoor or urban spaces into something natural and beautiful, even with limited floor or wall space. It goes without saying that green walls boast the same benefits as plants in terms of helping to remove toxins from the air, increasing oxygen levels and fostering calming environments, providing wellbeing benefits for employees as well as a being easy to maintain.
Another popular feature that’s beginning to be incorporated by designers is biophilic flooring, such as natural stone, wood and forest floors, with the goal to create natural textures that have similar qualities to being outside.
While the build up to winter can often seem gloomy, it doesn’t mean the workplace has to be. Plants and nature are the perfect addition to keep spirits and productivity high amongst employees, and what better than plants that thrive in darker, colder conditions.