Seedy business: five desk plants and the big-shots who should own them

It's National Plants At Work Week (yes that's a thing), everyone - so naturally, MT has compiled a list of plants that would be just right for five of the biggest names in business.

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 08 Nov 2013

So, according to the guys at National Plants at Work Week (with all the journalistic talents at MT towers we still can't work out fully whose initiative this is), there are a few things you need to know about having a potted something or other on your desk:

  • Plants keep the air clean and refresh it with oxygen for you to breathe
  • Being able to see plants or having one on your desk makes you less susceptible to stress or depression
  • They can also raise humidity levels so that you feel more comfortable
  • Amazingly we are more productive when they’re around too

Anyway, here are MT's recommended plants for some of the business people of the moment. Weirdly, the people also look a bit like the plants we've chosen for them. 


1. Flamingo Flower – Mark Carney

Araceae Anthurium

This flower is native to North America, and although it's garish (unlike the famously understated approach new Bank of England governor Mark Carney is famous for), the UK’s anticipating a  bright future under his guidance. Goodness knows the UK needs a shot in the arm, and perhaps this elegant but modest flower will be just right for Carney’s desk.


2. Pereskia Cactus – Katie Hopkins

Pereskia grandifolia

This species is not afraid to hurt members of the animal kingdom – in fact, it's its sole purpose. Where the Pereskia is totally inedible to animals, Hopkins is intolerable to anyone who sees her on TV. Where the Pereskia survives in the extreme heat of the desert, so Hopkins manages, incredibly, to continue commanding airtime six years after her turn on The Apprentice.


3. Bay Tree – Tim Geithner

Laurus nobilis

An unremarkable-looking plant that reaches remarkable heights. Like the trunk of the Bay Tree putting itself high above others, Geithner’s position former US Treasury Secretary has elevated him to the top level of after-dinner-speaking earners. He recently netted $400,000 for just three speeches at private functions. ‘Weeds’ such as UK former finance minister can only dream of such dizzying earning capacity.

4. Banana Plant - Tsuyoshi Kikukawa

Musa basjoo

This plant has huge, bright green leaves springing from the stem, perfect for covering up ugly rot at the base of the trunk. In ideal conditions, the plant will produce bananas, although (evoking former CEO Michael Woodford’s refusal to accept Olympus’ accounting fraud), it will not sprout any fruit in the UK. Ex-Olympus chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa narrowly avoided a jail sentence this month for covering up a $1.7bn black hole in the company’s finances. 


5. Phoenix Palm - Michael Birch

Phoenix dactylifera

The Phoenix Palm grows best in direct sunlight, much like Bebo founder Michael Birch, whose move to sunny California resulted in an $850m sale of the social network in 2008. He recently bought back Bebo for $1m - when he bought it last week, he tweeted that he wants to experiment and see if he can bring it back to life.

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