There’s a really good reason why we offer free replacement plants with any office plant maintenance program.
Let’s face it: An office is probably one of the worst environments for a tropical plant to try and thrive in. Not only is light usually limited, but the plant faces other challenges such as extremely dry air, constant whacking and bumping, overwatering from well meaning employees (and the occasional left over splash of coffee 🙁 Never understood that…) moving from one area to another, etc.
So with these challenges, there’s only so much that dusting, regular fertilizer, and pruning are going to do. Many times, your plants will naturally thin out over time, and this is why you have a plant service–so that we can provide you with new, healthy replacement plants.
At EnviroGreenery, we tend to be very liberal with plant replacements. It doesn’t have to die before we give you a new one–usually our guidelines is about 40% of foliage loss and we’ll be happy to bring you a brand spanking new plant, fresh off the trucks we get from sunny Florida.
Probably the best place to think of adding interior plants to your office is your lobby.
You tend not to think about it, and why should you? 5 days a week you blow right through it on your way to your office or desk, and never consider the impression you’re making to visitors, interviewees, or even your employees.
But your lobby is where you make your all important first impression, and where you can make the most impact with some beautiful plants to help soften things up for visitors to your office.
When we first started installing live plant walls, I found myself tending to design most of them with this very organized, structured look of either all one species of plants, or two species layered perfectly together in exact slanted lines, etc.
Lately, I’ve tended to trend more to these bushy, junglely looking plant walls, such as this one we have installed in Watertown, Ma.
These types of design emphasize diversity of texture and leaf; big broad leaves, varigated shades of greenish grey and dark green, soft, rounded leaves and sharp pointed ones. Personally, I think it’s more indicative of what an actual jungle would look like–there’s not a lot of order and structure in the vegetation in the rainforest.
It’s kind of a zen thing. There is no perfection in nature because nature is perfect all by itself. I think these type of living plant walls reflect that type of thinking.
The elegant Bamboo Palm is not really bamboo, but a species called Chamaedorea that closely resembles bamboo enough to derive it’s common name from it. It has tall graceful fronds that grow vertical from a center root ball, and full size specimens of 6 feet or more are truly beautiful.
Like all indoor palms, it requires a decent amount of fresh air (lobbies are best, conference rooms are not!) and Chamaedorea is a bit more tolerant of lower light levels than most indoor palms.
They are best treated with a systemic insecticide such as Merit or their fronds misted regularly, because with the natural lack of humidity in buildings they are highly prone to spider mites–tiny little insects that build nasty webs between the fronds and will suck the nutrients from their leaves, quickly killing the plant.
Office plant service, interior plant service, interior landscapers…How do we define ourselves?
Well, in reality it is a matter of terminology–it’s whatever our customers feel comfortable with. But though we provide office plants, many times, the design services we provide are so much more.
The reason we as an industry define ourselves as primarily interior landscapers is because many times it’s about picking the right plants in the right planter for the space. You have to know how to incorporate the right plants in the space that’s available. Are they low or high light plants? Do they require a lot of airflow? Will they grow up and stay columnar, or will they grow out and eventually take over the area they’re in?
This row of rectangle planters with Sanseveria plants is a perfect example. Floor space is extremely limited here. One of the most effective ways of incorporating plants into an area like this is with rectangle planters arranged parallel along these rows of file cabinets. And what sort of plants should you use? Well, though it seems intuitive, you want to pick something with a low profile, otherwise they’ll simply be too tall and get in the way. And if they’re placed tightly in these rectangle planters, you’ll need a plant that can tolerate being placed close together like this in a hedge type configuration, which the sanseveria handles well.
The term “Interior Landscaper” has never really caught on with the public to become part of the popular vernacular, at least in the 20 or so years I’ve been involved in the industry. But it’s really the most accurate description of what we do. From choosing the right plants, to renovating indoor planters, choosing the right style and color planters to fit the area the plants are going in: All of these amount to more than just someone who comes in and waters your plants.
One of the coolest plant species we get to work with is the King Sago Palm, or Cycas Revoluta.
Cycas Revoluta, otherwise known as a King Sago Palm is a rugged, long-living plant that’s actually not a palm at all, though their foliage looks like palm fronds. Sagos are in the cycad family and are native to southern Japan. This beast of a plant goes back to the Jurassic Age and is one of the oldest species of plant on the planet, and with their rugged trunk, leathery thick leaves, and ability to withstand temperature extremes it’s easy to see why they have survived so long.
they are slow growing, and can take up to 50 years to reach maturity. They like a lot of light and indoors it’s best to mist them frequently, because they’re prone to both mealybug and scale. That said, they’re relatively low maintenance, needing maybe a drink of water every month or so, since they store a lot of water in their thick trunks and leathery leaves.
As an office plant we tend to place these directly in windows or under skylights. Occasionally the tips may get brown due to lack of humidity but otherwise they’re easy to care for. They can be hard to find as bigger specimens, though–it’s unlikely your local New England garden center will have them, though they’re common in garden centers throughout the south as an outdoor shrub.
Sometimes choosing the right plant goes beyond horticulture and you need to integrate aesthetics as well.
The picture on the left is of an office we installed plants in in Waltham, Massachusetts. We needed something to go in front of this piece of artwork that would compliment it, so we chose these Draceana Limelight Plants to go in this floor rectangle. These plants are naturally chartreuse in color and it brings out the same flashes of color in the artwork. Using a dark green plant in this situation would have gotten lost with this busy piece of artwork above, whereas these plants actually compliment it.
You obviously want the right plant for the right lighting situation, but wherever possible it’s always good to take into consideration the color of the plant itself (a dark green plant will look great against a lighter colored wall, for example, but will get completely lost against a dark grey or navy blue wall) when placing your plants around your office or home.