Best plants for an office desk with no windows

We think that houseplants are an essential part of home decor. According to the Royal Horticultural Society, having houseplants around you can result in an improved mood, reduced stress levels and even improved attention span. Having plants around you in an office (whether that’s a home office or a formal setting) can increase worker productivity and speed of reaction. Being unscientific about it for a moment, they’re also very pretty to look at! If you have an office with no windows, though, tracking down the perfect plant could be a little trickier. 

Can plants survive without light from windows?

The good news is that having an office with no windows doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from having plants in the room. Low-light conditions aren’t a great mix for every houseplant, so you do have to choose your office desk plant carefully if you’re in a windowless room. However, there are plenty of popular and beautiful plants that will thrive in dry air, low light levels, artificial lighting and are low maintenance. 

One useful point to keep in mind is that office plants are best kept relatively small. Larger plants are likely to be more in need of more light and nutrients, so may prove trickier to manage on a long-term basis.

Best Plants for Offices With No Windows

If you want to introduce some low maintenance greenery potted plants into your work environment, then here’s the Cosy Home guide to the best office plants to consider in a room with no windows. Trust us, there are plenty of great office plant options that are easy to care for and will survive!

Spider plant

Image by FotoRieth/Pixabay

Called ‘spider plants’ for the little spidery shoots they send out, these Chlorophytum comosum are very easy to grow. They manage well with no natural light and prefer even moisture – not too wet or too dry. If your plant is getting too prolific, you can either prune off the spidery baby plants or pot them up to make even more!

Peace lily

Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum) make good office plants.
Image: HOerwin56/Pixabay

Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum) are pretty robust. They prefer indirect light, and are very happy being houseplants. They prefer a constant temperature, so keep them away from doorways or radiators and keep the soil moist. 

ZZ plant

Nothing to do with iconic rock band ZZ Top, the ZZ plant is named for its Latin label Zamioculcas zamiifoli. It has glossy, upright, waxy leaves and will cope very well in almost any location. It doesn’t seem to mind about tiny little details such as whether it has any natural light or even regular watering – in fact, it almost thrives on neglect. So if you’re worried you might not remember to feed or water your new office plants, then this is an excellent choice! 

Pothos plants

Pothos is a lovely low maintenance houseplant that grows well with little maintenance – perfect for office desk plants! The best types of Pothos for suriving in conditions with no natural light include Golden Pothos, Jade Pothos and Neon Pothos. Best of all, you only need to worry about watering them about once every week or two, so they’re a great choice for office buildings.


The aspidistra plant grows well on a desk in an office with no windows
Image by leoleobobeo/Pixabay

Sometimes known as cast iron plants, aspidistra (Aspidistra elatior) are renowned for being practically indestructible. Beloved of Victorian homes where there was very little light thanks to all the heavy, velvet curtains and gas lamps, they really will grow almost anywhere. Originally native to China and Japan, aspidistras are members of the lily family and have upright, glossy, dark green leaves that look very striking. If you’re a houseplant novice with a windowless office, then aspidistras are a good first choice. They need very little care, other than a little water every so often and an occasional dusting of their leaves. 

Prayer plant

The prayer plant is another good choice for an office with no windows. Even though this plant does thrive on slightly moist soil, you can get away with only watering it once a week, so it ticks all the boxes for low maintenance. As well as acting as a natural air purifier, the prayer plant is attractive to have on your desk too. It gets its name as the leaves grow slightly upwards and form an image of two hands praying.

Heartleaf Philodendron plant

Hands up who loves trailing plants? A trailing plant can look really chic sitting on a bookcase and brightening up a corner of an office and it’s useful if you don’t have room for a plant right on your desk. This one has lovely heart shaped leaves, plus it’s an excellent producer of oxygen so serves well as a natural air purifier. 

Aloe Vera plant

Photo by Monika Stawowy on Unsplash

Aloe vera plants are a type of succulent and are also ideal for growing in a windowless office. Although the plants naturally grow in direct sunlight, they cope amazingly well in low light conditions too and tend to adapt to the environment they’re in. Aloe Vera plants are drought tolerant, so don’t need too much watering. They’re useful to have around for first aid properties too as you can simply cut a leaf and squeeze out the goodness inside to help treat burns, cuts or sore skin. 

Peacock plant

The peacock plant, or Calathea White Fusion, is a tropical plant that has green leaves with white patches. This is one office plant that may require a little more time and energy, as it likes to be in a constantly stable environment – misting the peacock plant or having a dehumidifier in your office will help it thrive. Interestingly, you may notice that the leaves on this plant close at night, then open again in the morning.

Maidenhair fern

The Maidenhair fern can successfully be grown in an office with no windows
Image by Fox_and_bird/pixabay

These pretty, delicate plants love woodland, so they’re adapted to shady and moist conditions. Maidenhair ferns (Adiantum spp.) grow well with little natural light, although if you have no natural light at all you might have to take it for the odd trip to a windowsill! You also might have to work to keep it moist enough in an office environment – if the air is very dry, spritz the plant regularly from a mister bottle. 

Snake plant

Snake plants are widely available and there are lots of different varieties. They’re a good choice for an office space as they are a low-maintenance plant that’s easy to care for and looks great too. Snake plants will tolerate any light situation, from bright light and fluorescent lights, to not enough light. Plus, they like dry conditions, so don’t need much water.

Money Tree

Photo by feey on Unsplash

Most money trees go to sizeable heights, but when they’re kept indoors in pots, and especially without access to direct sunlight, a money plant can be a great small plant choice for an office desk. They need watering when the soil becomes dry, but should thrive and help boost your air quality. As a bonus, some people believe they could be lucky for attracting money too – making them even more ideal in a business situation!

Parlor Palm

One of the types of palms that can grow sucessfully in an artificially lit office with no windows is a Parlor Palm. They’re gorgeously green and leafy and help had a tropical feel to an office. A Parlor Palm does prefer to have moist soil and will tell you when it’s in need of more water by curling its leaves, developing brown tips or turning yellow. If you get into a regular habit of watering it weekly, you should be okay.

English Ivy

Another great choice if you like trailing plants in a home office, the English Ivy is a classic evergreen hardy plant that can survive growing in an office with a lack of windows. As well as trailing, they can also be encouraged to climb and produce lovely two-tone  green waxy looking leaves. Although it doesn’t require too much water and definitely doesn’t respond well to sitting in pooled water, an ivy does like damp soil, so do try and keep the topsoil moist.

Go fake?

One last option….

If you’re not green fingered, haven’t had much luck keeping plants alive or are only temporarily working in an office with no windows, it’s worth bearing in mind that modern faux plants are almost indistinguishable from the real thing. While they won’t provide any air filtration, they do carry some of the same health benefits of real plants. Psychologically, they can lift mood and moral and increase productivity and focus. Plus, no-one has to be responsible for watering them! 

Faux trailing succulent, La Residence Interiors

Put a botanical twist on your home office with this decorative faux Senecio rowleyanus (string of pearls). The delicate foliage is perfect for cascading down your bookshelves. £12, available from La Residence Interiors. 

Plants to avoid in an office with no windows

There are some popular pot plants that are best avoided if your office has no windows, as they’re unlikely to be able to survive the lack of light. These include:

  • Flowering plants – plants that are typically grown for their flowers, such as African violets, poinsettia and geraniums, are best avoided as the lack of light will dampen their blooming efforts. It takes a lot of energy for a plant to flower.
  • Cacti – these prickly plants come in many varieties, but they’re not a good grower when there’s no natural light.
  • Succulents – we love succulents, but their natural growing environment is in the desert and they need light to thrive. Sadly they won’t survive long with only artificial light and you’ll end up with some sad looking specimens.


Hopefully this has given you  good idea of the most popular indoor plants for offices with no windows. As you can see, having a lack of natural light needn’t be detrimental from a plant’s point of view and there are plenty of plant choices available for offices without windows.

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