The most pet and children friendly home office plants you can buy

With working from home likely to continue for some time, UK workers are now balancing a house which has become an office, gym and even a pub!

Many are investing in a humble houseplant or two to update their surroundings (and create an enviable Zoom background for those weekly work catch ups.)

Known for their ability to improve mood, wellbeing and even purify the air, it’s no wonder house plants are a must-have item for every home office. With such a diverse range to choose from, picking a plant for each room offers as much variety as deciding the colour of the cushions for your sofa.

For people sharing their home with animals, children or both, there are other considerations to bear in mind; with wandering hands and a fondness for chewing, problems range from spilt soil to poorly pets when not researched properly.

Simple tips such as knowing where to position each plant, to being aware of the toxicity of each type can help to create a safe and beautiful home jungle. Ahead of UK house plant week 2021, we spoke to foliage expert Phil Gaskin of Little Plant Guys, to learn which plants are the most pet and children friendly.

Floor plants

  • Kentia Palm - this has big grass like leaves that cats love to chew on –- but don’t worry, it’s non-toxic.
  • Dwarf Banana Plant - a crowd pleaser with big luscious leaves. Should withstand a knock or two, especially when placed in a big, sturdy planter.
  • Calathea Rufibarba - these lovely soft, velvety plants are a big corner filler and super safe all rounders.
  • Parlour Palm - large floor standing plants like this one are pretty hardy. They might get their ends chewed on by the cat or a dog might knock against it, but kids are pretty safe.
  • Coconut Palm - this has a single coconut shell and a few tall grass-like leaves. It’s simple and hardy, but will spill soil all over the floor if knocked so keep it in a corner out the way, or avoid completely if you live in an energetic household…

Desk dwellers

  • Calathea Stromanthe Triostar - this plant loves a sunny spot and needs a good drink. It will happily show off its amazing coloured leaves around any spot in the home or home office. Perfect for brightening up a dull corner.
  • Chinese Money Plant (Pilea) - a lovely and compact little plant that will happily sit on your desk looking pretty. It will also occasionally send some new pups out from the soil, which makes it great for repotting and giving to your children to look after too. It’s robust and can handle a bump and a scrape. The leaves may pop off but they’ll grow back in no time.
  • Blue Star Fern - a low maintenance plant that is happy in the corner being ignored, thought it’s best in a bathroom or kitchen where it can enjoy the humidity.
  • Boston Fern - a soft and highly strokable plant with lovely fronds. It’s an easy plant that can handle a toddler’s touch every now and then.
  • Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra) - A rock solid super hardy plant that is practically impossible to kill. keep it well fed and watered and in a corner spot out of direct light and it’ll survive for years.
  • Maidenhair Fern - a light and airy plant that is great to run your hands through for some stress relief between zoom calls.
  • Pinstripe calathea - a beautiful plant that almost looks fake, but don’t forget to water it. It doesn’t like to be touched too much, so keep it out of arm’s reach of any little grabbing hands and inquisitive paws.

Plants for baskets or shelves

  • Fishbone Cactus - very easy to look after and can live up high out the way with the occasional water.
  • Spider Plant - this produces long stems with little baby plants at the end that any cat will love to reach for, so keep it up high out of the way. Alternatively, trim off the babies when they appear and watch your home garden grow.

Now we know which plants to buy, Phill shared some tips for keeping them healthy:

"Anyone with a pet or a child will know that plants love to be pushed over the second your back is turned, leaving soil all over the floor. But this isn’t the only danger for your new plant friends. Too much water is the number one killer, with most new plant parents believing they need to water them every few days or once a week. Stop!

“Pop your finger in the soil. If the top two inches are completely dry, then and only then give them a good drink. Set an alarm on your phone to repeat the process every two weeks. Then place them somewhere light and out of reach of any inquisitive little hands or paws.

“Finally, whilst this list is for houseplants that are safe for kids and pets, it is worth saying that no plants should be voluntarily ingested.”

Did reading this post inspire you to invest in some plants for your home office? Share your new, leafy Zoom backgrounds with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Plants can upgrade your new working environment, but if you’re still struggling to be productive read our blog post for more home-working tips including improving your focus, battling the blues and collaborating with your team.

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