10 Plants To Make Your Desk More Decorative

Your computer screen is glowing, your to-do list is staring you down with ferocity, and the air conditioning vent above your desk is freezing you out. Even a few distractions can overwhelm your senses and cause your shoulders to tighten. That is until you glance over at your adorable desk plant that is decorative and cheerful and you feel some of that tension slip away.

According to The New York Times, the desire to personalize your workspace is not uncommon. It can help you express your personality, add a comforting vibe, and even help boost productivity. Why not use plants with health benefits and beautiful blossoms to achieve those goals? Your office at work, or even just your desk can be a reflection of yourself for all your coworkers to see. If you work from home, well-placed plants can enhance your workday and give your office extra character. 

If you are considering ways to spruce up your space, check out these ten plants that are the perfect addition to your cubicle or home office. Follow these tips to find the perfect desk plant that is small, easy to keep alive, and just cute enough to be part of your decor.


Don't let the name scare you away from this luscious house plant. According to Almanac, the vibrant green color with hints of yellow and white, and the heart-shaped leaves are anything but scary. Pothos originated in a more tropical area than your desk, all the way over in the French Polynesian islands, but they are actually quite easy to care for and keep alive. This is probably why it's such a common choice for houseplants and offices. 

When this plant grows in nature, it can reach its vines all over the place, and seemingly it will keep growing and growing. However, in a small container, indoors, the plant is perfect for a desk because it will stay contained. It's important to remember those vines though. If given the space, meaning if it's draped over a shelf or is hanging below your desk where it has legroom, it will start to grow and reach for the sunlight. The vines are what makes this such an inviting decorative plant for your desk though. The long leafy vines make it feel organic and natural, whether you decide to let the vines hang over the container or stretch across your desk.

Another reason Pothos is great for an office or desk is that it isn't needy. Pothos does well in low, indirect lighting conditions and doesn't require much watering. Allow the soil to completely dry out in between watering and keep the plant in room temperature environments where it can thrive. Popular among many, Pothos can be toxic when ingested. So keep it out of the reach of any children or pets if you're using it in a home office.

Snake plants

Snake plants are another popular choice when it comes to easy-to-grow house plants, but they are also specifically a great choice for your desk corner. According to Miracle-Gro, the unique snake-like leaves are stiff and can often appear striped with lighter greens and yellows, hence the animal-inspired name. Snake plants can certainly grow into large succulents, as they are related to the tequila-making agave plant, but they can also be healthy as small desk plants. As an added bonus, these plants also purify and refresh the air.

Snake plants only require low light to stay healthy, which means a shadowy corner in your office will not be a problem. In fact, if variegated varieties soak up too much direct sunlight, their colors and stripes could fade, so keep them out of sunny windows. In addition, they are quite hearty and will forgive you if you forget to water them. You only have to water snake plants when the top two to three inches of soil becomes dry. You will want a container with good drainage though, so don't forget to put a tray or plate under your pot. Plus, you can easily propagate your snake plants. So, when they have filled their current container, pull off individual sections, plant them in new pots of cactus mix, and give them to your officemates! 

Coffea arabica

Are you a coffee lover through and through? The Coffea arabica plant displays dark green, vivid leaves, and often bright green berries. According to Leafy Life, these berries will eventually become darker in color, transform into a pod-like shape, and contain two seeds each. The seeds inside these pods are what we know and love as coffee beans. Although these plants are a beautiful addition to your desk, it would be rather unrealistic to assume you could harvest enough beans for coffee. In nature, these plants can grow into trees, which is when they are often harvested, but not so much in planters.

The coffee plant is great for your desk because it only requires indirect light, which means it will thrive on a desk near a bright window. However, they can also adapt to lower levels of light, which means a desk with less light can also be ideal. This tropical plant likes water, so make sure to give it a good soaking about once a week. Also, if you remember to pinch off the youngest leaves at the tops of the plant, it can make the plant bushier instead of taller, which is suitable for keeping open sightlines on your desk.

Christmas cactus

According to Garden Design, the Christmas cactus typically flowers in December. However, they can be an excellent desk plant for your office all year round. The colorful blooms that will sprout around the holidays are an added bonus. The Christmas cactus is often confused with the Thanksgiving cactus as they bloom at the same time. However, the leaves of the Christmas cactus have more rounded tips.

Your office desk can be the perfect new home for a Christmas cactus because they require indirect light and will thrive in the same container for a few years before they'll need to be repotted. Keep your plant at the ideal size for your desk by pruning it regularly and removing stems that are too long by snipping in between the segments. Remember that these plants are very easily propagated and can make excellent holiday gifts for co-workers.

Even though it originated in Brazil, it's a low-light plant that can withstand cooler temps. In fact, in order to get your plant to bloom, Christmas cacti require 12-14 hours of darkness each day. At the beginning of the fall, you can easily place the plant on the floor under your desk at the end of the day to coax it into blooming. You'll even have to cut back on watering at that time as well. Then, when buds form, water when the top few inches of soil feel dry, and take care not to overwater.

Lace aloe

Succulents of all types have grown in popularity as house plants because they can tolerate long periods of time without water, which is great for those who are forgetful or busy. One type of succulent stands out among the rest because of its unique appearance and easy maintenance. A potted Aloe Aristata is the perfect alternative to other species of aloe for your desk because it is a small plant that will stay small, according to Plant Care Today. The beautiful, long green leaves have intricate white or yellow spikes that give the leaves a lacey appearance in contrast to other aloe plants. Although the plant only flowers briefly with a few orange blooms once a year, the plant is a vibrant green that will look great on your desk. The plant is a slow-growing aloe species, and will only grow to an easy-to-maintain six to twelve inches.

Aloe plants in general may bring to mind hot, dusty desert climates, but they can thrive indoors as well. They love typical room temperatures and indirect sunlight, which means a desk near a window is an ideal growing condition for this little succulent. Watering this species sparingly, allowing the top half of the soil to dry out completely before giving it another drink. In the colder months, you can even cut watering back more. Although, be sure to water the plant from the bottom, or very near the base of the leaves. Pouring water over the leaves can cause them to rot or turn mushy. Pinching off dead leaves or flowers is the only necessary maintenance, but you can repot the plant each year if you'd like to encourage a larger growth size.

Bamboo plant

Bamboo plants can easily transform your dull office desk into an oasis of lush green nature with just a hint of whimsy. According to Housing.com, not only are these plants incredibly easy to care for but they are loaded with health benefits. In addition to being a beautiful and positive addition to your desk decor, bamboo plants are a healthy air purifier. They can filter out harmful toxins in the air and leave you breathing a little easier while you work.

The grass hails from southeast Asia and has a distinct tropical feeling about it. However, it can happily survive in low light and mild temperatures, which makes it an ideal addition to your corner of the office. Because bamboo does not require potting soil, you can also grow your bamboo in a clear glass container with colorful rocks. Displaying the root system can add some intrigue to our desk and be a friendly reminder of nature in an indoor setting.

Bamboo can boost your mood and even spread good vibes throughout your office. Throughout Asian cultures bamboo has been a symbol of good fortune, luck, and wealth, which is why you will often find bamboo plants in the southeast corners of a home or near the entrance. According to feng shui practices, the plant is a vibrant symbol that can bring prosperity and success to those in the home and near the plant. The stalks can be arranged in specific numbers for your desired purpose. Bundles of eight stalks are said to bring wealth and groups of nine are said to encourage fortune. Combining eleven stalks is good luck, the perfect plant to display when hoping for your next big promotion.

Chinese evergreen

According to North Carolina Extension Gardener, the Chinese evergreen plant's true name is Aglaonema and it actually originated in the Philippines and Malaysia. The Chinese evergreen will immediately upgrade your office desk with its large leaves that are shaped like spears and are marbled in beautiful silvery, soft green, and often light pinks. Although the plant is capable of blossoming, it rarely occurs. However, the gorgeous mix of colorful foliage can be as decorative as a bouquet of flowers. 

The Chinese evergreen is another plant that can not only survive indoors with low-diffused light but can flourish as well (via Lifestyle Home Garden). The plant will be quite happy in a bright room away from direct sunlight. Another hearty plant like this can handle it if you're away from the office for a few days or there's no one to water it over the weekend. Watering the plant thoroughly once a week is plenty, although that can depend on how dry or hot your office is. If the top layer of the soil is dry, then it's safe to water. Plus, this plant isn't just for looks. It can purify your office air, removing everything from formaldehyde to carbon monoxide.

Sweetheart plant

The Sweetheart plant looks just as adorable as its name sounds. As World of Succulents points out, you can recognize these plants by their distinct heart-shaped leaves, especially since they are often sold around Valentine's day and as just a single leaf. This plant can be a sweet housewarming plant, a romantic gift, or can be the small happy detail that your boring desk needs. It's ideal for your desk corner because they do best in a small container. In fact, if the roots are snug enough and the temperatures are right, this can even encourage your plant to bloom. This species of succulent is actually a climbing plant that could eventually sprout stems that want to expand. While the single leaf acclimates to its growing environment, it can be an adorable, tiny keepsake. But if it does mature, you'll have a happy bushel of hearts to cheer you up as you work.

These cute plants love well-drained soil so potting in a cactus or succulent mix is best (via Gardeners Path). Then, it will live happily on just a little bit of moisture, watering once a week or so depending on the temperature of your office. Although a Sweetheart plant will survive in low light, it prefers bright conditions but very minimal direct sunlight. Keep it away from drafty windows and at a well-maintained room temperature and you'll have a charming plant friend that thrives.

ZZ plant

The Sill recommends the ZZ plant as a champion houseplant for its beauty and simple care. The foliage can be a refreshing burst of green, either light-colored or dark emerald depending on its age. The plant is slow-growing, making it ideal for desks. In the right growing conditions, in about three to five years the plant can sprout quite tall. At that point, you may need to shift this plant baby to the floor. In either location, the bright shiny leaves are a pleasant addition to your decor and can look very elegant in a terracotta container or a simple white pot that will highlight the natural green hues.

This plant will do better across the room from a window where it will get plenty of indirect light, about six hours per day, but never in direct sunlight. It prefers typical room temperatures and a normal indoor humidity range so it's perfect for climate-controlled offices. Water ZZ plants every two to three weeks and never let the soil get soggy or oversaturated to give them the best conditions to thrive.

African violets

According to Almanac, these well-known blooms aren't technically violets. The plant is actually named after the fact that it hails from East Africa. However, the African violet does produce some vivid flowers that can be purple, blue, white, and occasionally pink. The leaves are fuzzy, giving it a soft appearance, and the foliage is a deep green that pleasantly contrasts the blossoms, making this the perfect plant for your desk.

African violets grow best in smaller containers that are just the right size for your desk.  In fact, the plants are actually more likely to produce more blooms if the roots are snuggly confined. This means repotting is likely something you won't have to worry about. Keep the soil moist but use room-temperature water and keep it around the base of the plant to avoid damaging the delicate leaves. You should also be extra careful about providing well-drained soil. The fuzzy leaves and stems can be delicate and if they stay too wet, they will quickly get mushy or rot. Simply place your plant in a bright spot away from direct sunlight and enjoy its cheerful blooms as they add color to your workday.