Advice / Lifestyle,  College Life,  Wellness

Best Plants for your Dorm or Apartment and the benefits of houseplants

Whether you’re going to be moving into your college dorms or moving into your first apartment with roommates this fall, chances are you’ve been scouring Pinterest looking for the best interior designs for your new space.

Along with considering what bedspreads, rugs, and wall decor you want to buy, you should also think about what plants you might wanna take along to liven up your space.

I’m a huge proponent of houseplants because of all the benefits that they offer to the mind and body. Here are just a few of my favorite reasons for owning a bunch of houseplants!

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

The benefits of houseplants

If you’re moving into a dorm room or an apartment with housemates, you’ll quickly find that your living space is going to get real stuffy, especially if you’re spending a lot of your time hanging out in your room with friends or roommates. Houseplants help relieve some of this stuffiness by purifying the air by filtering the air of dust particles and carbon dioxide. 

Houseplants also help add a bit of humidity to a space which benefits your sinuses as well as your skin and hair.

Photo by Windows on Unsplash

When you breathe cleaner, fresher air, your mind is more clear, sharp, and focused. Houseplants are a great way to live cleaner especially if your dorm or apartment is in the middle of a city or you’re surrounded by busy streets or roadways.

This is also another reason why I love having a gaggle of houseplants in my living space — houseplants block out noise pollution! Along with slowly filtering the air, houseplants also block out and absorb noise from the street, from the hallway, or from your apartment’s noisy next door neighbor.

If you’re trying to make your dorm room or bedroom a tranquil, quiet living space where you feel comfortable and relaxed, houseplants are a much needed addition.

Along with filtering out air and noise pollution, houseplants are also aesthetically pleasing which benefit your concentration and ability to focus and destress.

As humans, we’re visual creatures who actually thrive when among the natural world. Studies show that seeing being around nature and seeing green actually helps people feel more relaxed and calm. If you’re unable to go out and hike or take a walk in the park every day, bringing greenery into your living space is a fantastic way to take advantage of the natural high we get from being around the natural world.

So with all these things considered, what plants should you consider for your new living space?

You should first assess what kind of light you have in your bedroom. Is it low light or bright light? Are your windows facing east or west? Do you have a lot of natural light or will you need to bring along artificial light for your plants?

These are all big questions to ask and ultimately will decide which plants are right for you.

Based on my experiences of living in four different dorm rooms and a few different apartments throughout my college career, most student accommodations have low natural light. They get enough light so you don’t need the lights on during the day, but the sunlight isn’t enough to sustain big, bushy plants that thrive in bright natural sunlight.

It’s for that reason that I’ve put together a list of plants that thrive in low or part-day natural light, are forgiving to beginner mistakes or occasional neglect, and are accessible in nearly any department store around the country. Along with each of my recommendations, I’ve also included additional links for care so you know what you’re getting yourself into with each plant!

Best plants for your dorm or apartment


Succulents

Owning succulents has become quite the trend in recent years with people devoting their entire dorm rooms or living spaces to becoming succulent havens. Succulents are everywhere now!

Photo by Beatriz Moraes on Unsplash

There’s a good reason why succulents have become college students’ plant of choice — they’re cute, small, and relatively easy to care for (compared to other plants like an orchid!)

While succulents still require a great deal of care (proper pots with plenty of drainage, as much light as possible [so they may not thrive in true low light conditions], being watered consistently [but not daily], and more), they make very spunky, friendly additions to your living space. 

They’re also a really good conversation piece 😉

The nice thing about succulents is that you can usually find them at Walmarts, Targets, Home Depots, and most other large stores around the country for cheap.

Here’s a helpful video to help you decide which succulents are right for you. This channel also has a great list of resources and videos to help you with succulent care since they can be  a little finicky to raise. 

Pothos

If you’ve started venturing into the realm of indoor plant care, you’ve probably come across many people talking about the pothos, or Devil’s Ivy.

Photo by Kelsey Brown on Unsplash

Pothos plants are notorious for being easy-going and tolerable to many light conditions making them ideal for low-light bedrooms or basement apartments. They also make great hanging plants so you’ve probably seen them and their vines cascading down from a ceiling once or twice before.

Pothos are very forgiving and can tolerate going longer without being watered. This is why I highly suggest a pothos for your dorm or apartment room! They liven up the space with their green, heart-shaped vines, and they will last as long as you want them around!

Here’s a great resource on how to care for a pothos!

ZZ Plant

The ZZ plant, one of my favorite plant friends to have in my living spaces, but one that I can no longer house because it’s toxic to both cats and dogs 🙁

Sad day, but that’s what makes it so special and ideal for living in your dorm or apartment where you’re probably not allowed to have pets.

ZZ plants are great for low-light rooms because they actually don’t appreciate direct sunlight. They can also tolerate different levels of watering so you don’t need to worry about accidentally missing a watering day or two when you’re cramming for finals.

These plants can also be found in most garden centers in most stores. Recently I’ve noticed them becoming more popular so if you’re interested in their waxy leaves and easy-going nature, check out this resource from the House Plants Expert for more tips on how to successfully raise your own ZZ plant!

Spider Plants

Oh, the notorious spider plants, my favorite houseplants!

It’s my firm belief that a home is not a home unless it has a spider plant.

Photo by Abel Y Costa on Unsplash

These make great housewarming gifts as do they make great plants to tote with you as you move from dorm to apartment to house.

My family had a spider plant in my childhood kitchen for as long as I can remember. That spider plant sat in on every breakfast, lunch, and dinner that my family had, and honestly, I still think we have it in the house!

Spider plants are amazing plants for beginners who don’t have a green thumb or lack the knack for gardening. They’re tolerant to neglect and will keep growing as long as you give them indirect light and the occasional water. They can also be split into different plants so you can share the spider plant love with friends!

Check out this video for more info about how to care for my beloved spider plants!

Money tree

Oooooooooooh, yes. 

A money tree. The ultimate good luck charm. 

Take my word for it, every desk should have a money tree perched on it to bring prosperity, good luck, and to inspire you to push forward. Every time I look at my money tree, I just feel motivated to work harder. I don’t know what it is but that money tree keeps me busy.

Money trees don’t do well in super bright direct sunlight so they’re perfect for lower light dorm rooms or bedrooms. It also doesn’t need daily watering so you’re good on having to care for it every day.

Money trees can be smaller or you can buy the bigger more established plants. I’ve seen both varieties at stores around me. Either way, you’ll appreciate the green and luck that they bring to your space.

Here’s a great resource for money tree care!

Queen Fern

Most ferns make great additions to your indoor houseplant garden because they’re typically pretty flexible in terms of sunlight, watering, and humidity.

The Queen Fern is considered a low maintenance plant and is great for purifying your air. It doesn’t like super bright sunlight and will do just fine in a lower natural light living situation.

Photo by Ceci Freeman on Unsplash

The Queen Fern is super bushy and really adds luscious green volume to your houseplant collection. 

While I haven’t really found the Queen Fern in many department stores at which I typically shop, you could probably find them in garden shops or nurseries around you. They’re a popular plant so they shouldn’t be too hard to find!

Check out this website for more info about the Queen Fern!


The plants you can consider for your living spaces are endless!

There are so many easy-going, beginner friendly, dorm and apartment thriving plants out there! But based on my own experiences with these plants, these are the ones I recommend for the college student who is a bit busy and living in less than ideal dorm rooms or apartments!

While plants may seem like a lower necessity on your back to school list, I HIGHLY recommend having one or two on your desk or in your bedroom somewhere. They’ll make you feel much better and will help you stay grounded and relaxed throughout your semester.

Here are additional plants that you can consider as well!

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