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On the elaborate end of the indoor plant spectrum, a wall display of moss and live plants hangs near lobby elevators at the Hyatt Regency.

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD

Move over indoor ficus — thy days are numbered! The pros are saying that dramatic, sculptural plants like red-edged dracaena have pushed the tropical jungle look off the popularity charts for indoor plantscaping.

Yet, according to Lisa Keith, New Orleans manager of Billy Heromans Plantscaping, any indoor plant in an office or home environment is better than none.

“Studies have demonstrated that workers have a greater sense of well-being when there’s greenery in their office space,” said Keith. “That’s why we support ‘National Indoor Plant Week’ every year with a plant giveaway.”

The team from Heromans will be handing out free plants at two locations next week. Expect to find them at One Shell Square on Tuesday, Sept. 19, beginning at 8 a.m. On Thursday, Sept. 21, they’ll be in front of 400 Poydras St., (the former Texaco Building) at 8 a.m.

Slated for the week of Sept. 18, the nationwide celebration recruits nurseries, florists and growers to host giveaways of indoor plants to help spread the word about how the plants can transform interior environments, as well as boost attitudes.

“This year, we’re giving away 1,500 plants,” said Keith. “They’re 4-inch sizes so they have room to grow. And all can be potted for a desktop display.”

Along with the free plants, Heromans supplies cards touting the benefits of indoor plants in improving air quality and brightening outlooks.

“If you are in a cubicle all day long, having a living plant on your desk or in your work space connects you to the outside,” Keith said. “If you’re having a bad day, research has shown that having a living plant nearby can lift your spirits.”

And she should know. Heromans supplies plantscaping services for an astonishing number of New Orleans area companies and buildings, including Canal Place, One Shell Square, Iberia Bank, the Hyatt Hotel, the Marriott, the Renaissance Arts Hotel, individual law firms and doctor offices, and malls including the Esplanade. The family company, based in Baton Rouge, has 11 staff members locally.

Because of the wide ranging roster of clients served by the company, Keith has been able to track trends in the popularity of various indoor plant installations over the course of a few years.

“We’re finding that our clients want an ‘avant garde’ look now, with clean-cut lines and a bit of the exotic mixed in,” Keith said. “A few years ago, tastes ran toward a fuller, more jungle-like look.”

Keith said that succulents, unusual bromeliads and air plants have appeared in the mix of their designs for commercial spaces, plus orchids in every hue. Scheffeleras used to be one of the go-to office plants, but they aren’t requested as much now as they had been in the past.

The Hyatt, on Loyola Avenue, recently opted for a proposal made by Heromans designer Darlene Bigus-Doheny, who came up with the idea of installing four living “moss walls” at the hotel.

“You can see the largest one in the valet porte cochere outside, and there are three more in the hotel lobby,” said Keith. “The walls consist of various textures, types and colors of moss affixed to a flat backing with special adhesives. All the caretakers need to do is to spritz them every now and then.”

On a grand scale, the moss installations serve double duty as art, but even small desk top plants can be artful additions to the office depending on the type and color of the containers chosen for them.

“This will be our third year of doing the plant giveaway, and it’s a lot of fun for us,” said Keith. “It’s a treat to spread a little joy and make somebody's day.”