by Jenna Ranney, Product Specialist
As any college student can tell you, student living spaces can be a bit depressing - from on campus dorms to apartments or houses or anything in between. Budgets and space are typically pretty tight for us students, so housing can get cramped and dull pretty quickly. What’s my easy, affordable, and incredibly underrated secret that has transformed my space? Plants! Adding just a few touches of greenery to your living space can brighten it up, help clean the air, and just add a little touch of joy to the space that you'll be calling home for the next few years. It may take a bit of time and patience, but I promise it’ll pay off!
If you’re anything like me, you’ve been seeing lots of beautiful greenery and adorable potted plants in your social media feed for a while, and you’re ready to start a plant collection of your very own. Maybe you’ve even tried it out once or twice, only to have your beloved plants wither or wilt. No judgement here - I’ve been there too. But even if the only green thumb you have is green with envy over the flourishing plants in your Instagram feed or all over TikTok, don’t give up! You can be a plant parent too - no matter how busy or distracted or discouraged you are. In my experience, building a successful plant collection breaks down into two main parts - knowing yourself and knowing your plants.
The first and most important step in starting your plant family is to assess yourself. This means taking an honest look at your space, your schedule, your habits, and your preferences - all of which will shape the kind of plant collection you’ll grow. There are no wrong answers here! Even the busiest people with the least natural lighting can have a beautiful little garden, as long as they plan for it!
The main things you’ll want to pay attention to in prepping your plant home are the light available for your future plants, the air quality where you live (whether it's humid or dry or somewhere in between), and your honest commitment to watering your plants. Some other things to consider are the amount of space you have available for plants to grow, the color scheme of your living space (if you’re looking at flowering plants or those with different colored leaves), and the air clarity (did you know that many plants can actually help clean the air in your space?!). All of these factors will help you determine what kind of plants to look for when you set out to start your collection!
Know Your Plants
Now that you have a better idea of what kind of plants can work with your lifestyle, you’ll have a much easier time picking out the right ones! Most plants will be sold with tags that clearly list the light levels, watering needs, and air quality for that particular plant. Doing that extra bit of research to find plants that will fit into your life will make you a much more successful plant parent! I’ve listed some plants that I’ve had a lot of success with in my dorm space, but be sure to go out and do your own research. Finding new and exciting plants to love is half the fun!
Aloe Vera: My aloe plants have always been incredibly resilient and so easy to propagate! I started with one plant three years ago and have repotted and separated offshoots to create at least 10 new plants over the years! They like direct sunlight and consistent watering to grow bigger, but if you forget to water them for a week (or two - oops!) they’ll be just fine. Plus, if you ever get a nasty sunburn, you’ve got the remedy right on your windowsill!
Lucky Bamboo: My lucky bamboo plant doesn’t need too much light, so it’s perfect for a dorm room without a windowsill or one where you’re sharing window access with a roommate. I just keep mine consistently watered and it’s been growing nicely!
Snake Plants: I absolutely love my snake plant, because nothing seems to faze it! I’ve had mine in a pretty poorly lit corner for a couple of months now and have forgotten to water it on more than one occasion, but it’s never shown so much as a wilted leaf!
ZZ Plants: I don’t have a ZZ Plant of my own, but they’re on every list of “easy to grow dorm plants” I’ve ever searched - they do well with any light or watering level, and they’re super cute!
Adding these little touches of life to your space can make a much bigger impact than you might imagine. With just a few plants in your room, your air is cleaner, your room is brighter, and you’ve built yourself a little plant family to care for! As long as you can find the right fit between your lifestyle and the plants that work with it, anyone can be a plant parent. Good luck!