Plant therapy

Calasandra Spray (TheLorian)

Moving is always a big change, but it is particularly so when it is into a dorm room. Oftentimes, dorms are college students’ first time living away from home. For those who have had other apartments, dorms can be jarring due to their cramped quarters and having to share a living space. Plants can help alleviate the shoebox feel of a dorm and give it a more “homey” vibe. 

Indoor plants can lift the mood of a room through their unique ability to take in excess carbon and promote the flow of oxygen, which is good for studying. In addition, plants can be bright pops of color that can make a room feel cheerier and bring life into a base environment. To increase this effect, one can buy or paint a nice bright pot for the plant. 

Due to busy college schedules and limited window space, the following plants are low-maintenance and are perfect for dorm rooms: 

Sansevieria is a plant native to the drier regions of Africa, so it does not require a ton of watering. Once every few weeks is enough to keep this sun loving-plant alive. That said, it does require a fair amount of light so make sure it has a prime sun location in your dorm. Luckily, it grows upwards instead of sprawling out so it makes a great plant for small spaces. Its leaves have an irregular banding reminiscent of the skin of a reptile, earning it the nickname “snake-plant.” As a bonus, the name is fun to say. 

Succulents are the perfect set-and-forget plants. These plants also require full sun because, like the Sansevieria, they originate in drier climates. Because of this, they also need very little water. Their leaves store water like cacti so they can easily be watered once every other month and be fine. Unlike cacti, though, their leaves are often soft and plush. Plus, they are incredibly aesthetic and come in a variety of colors. 

Aloe is an ideal dorm room companion because of its multi-functionality. It serves as a beautiful decor piece that can be dressed up by putting it in a pot painted like a pineapple. The spindly leaves of aloe sit upright and will look like the crown of the pineapple. If one accidentally gets burned teaching themselves to cook in the dorm kitchen or while out on a sunny day, the aloe’s leaves can be sliced open and the sap within applied to soothe the burnt skin. Lastly, aloe likes to multiply, and if nurtured, will produce pups or baby aloe plants that can be transplanted into new pots and make for inexpensive gifts. Like the other plants, this one also requires very little watering. Once every three to four weeks is enough to keep aloe healthy. 

Pothos can be a good plant for the dorm room if one wants something that sprawls a little more. Its marbled white-and-green leaves are a beauty, and its quick-growing vines will amaze friends and have them believing their friend has a green thumb. Commonly called the cubicle plant, this indoor plant can survive in indirect light and only needs to be watered every few weeks. 

ZZ Plant is a good option for the dorm if one doesn’t want a plant that will take up prime window space. This plant’s small, waxy leaves are ovular in shape and grow upwards. Its rhizome roots store water and make this plant dry-tolerant on top of its ability to survive in a low-light environment. 

If one prefers a plant that requires more light, a mirror can be placed across from the window to provide more light. Additionally, if once a month watering is still too much to remember with busy schedules, one can always invest in a watering globe, which will keep plants hydrated and requires fewer fill-ups. I hope these tips help to make becoming proud plant owners an easier affair. Happy planting! 

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