Arriving at college and moving into your new dorm room is exciting and can be a little stressful. To combat the stress, why not transform your room from a bare academic cubicle to your own comfy space? You’ll need to work a little magic. Posters, bright pillows, and pictures help a lot, but houseplants are a great way to lift your spirits, purify the air, and add an attractive and cozy touch to your room.
Here are ten houseplants that are easy to grow and hard to kill — a perfect touch for your new quarters.
These are relatively small plants that range in size from six inches to 2.5 feet tall. They are ideal for a bookcase, desk, or bureau, depending on the amount of light you have.
Aglaonema or Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema spp.) – This multicolored beauty boasts red, green, white, and pink color combinations, depending on the variety. It doesn’t like direct, hot sun — it does best in low or medium light and needs to be watered when its soil dries out.
Aloe (Aloe vera) – Aloe is a plant that likes bright, indirect light. Grow it in loose, fibrous, succulent soil that drains easily, and in a pot with drainage holes. Water it once a week and it will reward you with its beautiful succulent leaves and healing properties.
Jade plant (Crassula ovata) – Jade plant is easy to take care of. It does need full sun, so it will do best on or near a window sill, and its soil should be kept evenly moist. It is a great table plant, but unfortunately is also toxic to dogs and cats.
ZZ Plant or Zanzibar Gem (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) – ZZ plant is almost impossible to kill. It can survive splendidly in low light, and only needs to be watered twice a month. Its dark green color and exotic look make it an interesting addition to any indoor space. It is poisonous to humans and pets, however, so keep it away from food.
If you’re interested in a taller plant that can sit on the floor, these three hard-to-kill beauties can add an air of elegance to your room. They will grow anywhere from three to six feet tall indoors.
Madagascar Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata) – The dragon tree makes an intriguing statement with its thin stems and mop of narrow, spiky leaves on top. It is easy care and can live happily in low light and only needs to be watered when its soil is dry. Watch out, though, dragon tree is toxic to humans and pets.
Snake plant or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sansieveria trifasciata) – This tall plant, with its vertical, sword-like leaves, is low maintenance and doesn’t require much sun or water. It does object to overwatering, and can develop root rot if the soil is kept soggy without drainage.
Rubber plant (Ficus elastica) – The rubber plant is a classic decoration in homes, businesses, and offices, and can be a striking addition to a dorm room too! It prefers bright, indirect light such as near a window, but it is also tolerant of medium light. Water your rubber plant about once a week when the soil becomes dry, but don’t overwater. For the best effect, wipe off the flat, leathery leaves to keep them healthy and looking good.
If you’re allowed to install a plant hook or hanger in your room, here are three plants that are mostly effortless and that offer a beautiful return.
English Ivy (Hedera helix) – The ivy that creeps up the side of hallowed academic buildings can also be grown indoors. You can create a hanging plant by letting the pretty tendrils droop over the edge of the pot, or you can also train them around a decorative frame as a mini-topiary. Ivies love bright light, so keep them close to a light source and don’t overwater. They do best when the soil is kept on the dry side.
Pothos or Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum) – This beautiful vine is almost invincible. It will do well in various amounts of light and is forgiving if you forget to water it for a bit. The best rule of thumb is to water it thoroughly every one to two weeks, but more often when the heat is on in the winter.
Spider plant or Airplane plant (Chlorophytum comosum) – These are tough plants that tolerate a wide variety of conditions, so they are perfect for a dorm room. Their long arching leaves and plantlet babies gracefully hang down from the pot. They prefer bright, indirect light and need to dry out between watering. Spider plants do best when they’re pot bound, so don’t repot them into a larger sized pot — leave them in the pot that they came in.
Written by Nancy Maffia, BloomCatch Plant Expert.