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Bring life to office space

By Richard Yeakley
July 5, 2015 at 4 a.m.

Kindell Whitley in her decorated cubicle at the Gregg County District Clerk's office Friday, June 12, 2015. (Les Hassell/News-Journal Photo)

In a small pot full of dirt sitting on her desk, Deputy District Clerk Kindell Whitley is attempting to grow a dionaea muscipula — a Venus flytrap.

If successful, the carnivorous plant would be the most recent addition to a series of plants that decorate her cubicle on the third floor of the Gregg County Courthouse.

"I think for me, it makes it a lot more cheerful and not so dull," Whitley said. "I need to have a plant or something bright and living."

Whitley's desk has Christmas Cactus and a Prayer Plant along with a beta fish in a small tank.

Her decision on which plants to add to her collection, she said, does not usually factor in how often they need to be watered.

"I actually pay more attention to the light requirements. I have plants that usually do well in low light environments," she said. "I actually research what plants oxygenate the air the most."

Laura Borens, owner of Wet Pets N Critters, said having a fish could help lift the spirits of cublicle-dwellers.

"Fish at the office are not only decorative, but they are also known to have therapeutic effects as well," she said.

Beta fish make good office pets, but are not the only species that require low interaction suited for a work space, she said

In addition to providing company, fish are relatively low maintenance and can go the weekend without being fed, she said.

Mark Cureton, the manager of the green house at Ellis Pottery, said those looking for office plants also have a variety to chose from.

"There are variety of low-light plants that are considered," he said.

Those could include the Peace Lily, Pothos Ivy, plants in the marginata family and the ZZ plant.

"Spiritually, it is just good for the soul, just having that life that is just right there for you," Cureton said.

He said it also helps balance the look of an office space.

"Visually it is soft, very organic, not straight-lined and ridged. It adds a soft touch to your surrounding," he said.

Cureton said those looking to spruce up their office space should be careful about scents the plants give off.

In general, he said, it is easier to maintain a plant than one may think.

"We tend to over-water," he said. "Most plants don't want to have wet feet. They want to have really well-drained soil. It is just important to have good drainage. ... The plant will let you know when it needs to be watered."

Whitley said her decorations include more than just living things.

During holidays, with the permission of her cubicle mates, she will string lights or put out other decorations.

She also has become an evangelist, of sorts, giving people cuttings from her plants to grow their own.

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