Colleen Vanderlinden


Any space can be livened up with the addition of a few plants. And some spaces, such as cubicles, cramped little offices, or dark corners, are just crying out in need of a little life.

We know that plants clean the air, and that taking care of something alive, even a plant, is a definite mood-lifter. But if you're working in a cubicle or window-less office, this can be quite a challenge.

If that sounds like your workplace, you might want to check out one of these fun gardening gadgets, originally featured in a post over on Mashable about "desktop farming."

However, if you're not willing to spend fifty bucks for a plant-growing gadget, try this tip: find an inexpensive desk lamp that takes standard-size light bulbs. The best kind are those that have an adjustable, bendable arm. These are usually fairly inexpensive at most stores, and are easy to find at thrift stores or garage sales. Get a standard compact fluorescent light bulb, and you have all the plant light you'll need. A standard fluorescent bulb, left on for six to eight hours per day (conveniently enough, that's the length of most work days...) is plenty of light to grow just about any plant. Just make sure to keep the bulb a good three inches above the top of the plant.

Aside from the light, a small watering can and a spray bottle for misting are about all you'll need. Water the plant when the top inch of soil is dry (for most plants) and mist daily. Most offices are terribly dry, and the plant will appreciate the extra humidity.

To fertilize your plant (assuming it's not a flowering plant, but a plant you grow mainly for the foliage) you can simply dilute some black coffee so that it's a pale brown, and water your plant with that once a week. This solution contains trace amounts of nitrogen and other nutrients: just enough to keep your plant growing happily.

Wondering which plants will grow well in an office or cubicle? Check out this article about the best air-filtering houseplants.