Plant for the office: This plant is so hardy, it’ll spring up even under fluorescent lighting

(That’s what she said).

One of these succulents is real. Can you guess which one?

When I started my internship in January, my desk was a blank slate: a gray cubicle with a phone, a computer and a stack of mail that wasn’t even mine. This was a quite the difference from my previous internship, where my window overlooked the office’s container garden.

The unnamed news organization I now intern at recently moved, after spending 60 years in the same building. Apparently, I missed out on a lot of free plants, victims of the move.

A few plants survived the change in address.

This Chinese money tree (correct me if I’m wrong) lives happily on the desk of one of my coworkers.
Some type of dracena looks like it’s faced nearly 60 years of office life. Spot the typewriter—maybe they were purchased around the same time?

There were two obstacles to bringing in my own office plant.

While I would have preferred to immediately transform my cubicle into an “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” overgrown jungle fortress, I had to face reality. I would be sharing a desk with two others. Also, my boss works across just a 3 foot wall, and I’m not sure she’d be too keen on working next to a Harrison Ford fantasy.

Secondly, my desk was a good 30 feet from the nearest window.

So, I had to think hardy. And shade resistant. What plant is so indestructible it will survive the onslaught of fluorescent lighting, water cooler small talk and my leftover tea when I’m too lazy to walk to the kitchen? Easy: the snake plant.

My snake plant, which I’ve named “Bunny” (because it looks like two rabbit ears), hasn’t died yet.

A staple of dentists’ office decor, the snake plant (Dracaena trifasciata) can survive it all. Seriously, I had one in a windowless bathroom for over a year and it even shot out a new leaf.

While being totally devoid of sunlight isn’t ideal for any living thing (except maybe those angler fish), the snake plant can take some abuse. My plan is to leave it on my desk during the week and every other weekend, set it on a table near the window so it receives at least a little sunlight. The guy at the plant nursery thought that wasn’t a bad idea, either. And what does he have to lose? It’s not like I won’t go back after my snake plant dies of etiolation (sun deprivation).

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