Take a breath of fresh air: best house plants for busy college students

By Noah Newsome
Elm Staff Writer

Decorating your dorm can be a fun endeavor, with a wide variety of objects to choose from to help liven up your living space.

 One of the best ways to add vibrancy to your room is to acquire a plant and add a much-needed splash of color to what might otherwise be a drab domicile.

Enhancing air quality is also a benefit provided by many plants, particularly those with large leaves, allowing you to freshen the air in your room as well.

Do not just run out and buy any old flower though, as there are some plants that are better suited to an indoor environment than others. Here are some of the best plants for college students to care for:


These plants are a popular choice due to both their unique look and their hardiness, as they are able to survive several weeks without being watered.

Their resilience stems from how the plant itself is structured with the thick, fleshy leaves that give these plants their unique appearance also serving to retain water during drought conditions.

They can be overwatered though, so make sure the soil surrounding the succulent is completely dried out before you add more.

Succulents can come in a variety of colors, which is helpful when you are looking to decorate with a color other than green.

Make sure you place this type of plant near a window, as while it may not need constant watering, it does need exposure to sunlight in order to thrive.


With their lanky stems and blended green and yellow leaves, the pothos plant makes for a mellow addition to one’s room.

Intense light is not necessary for this type of plant, and they can survive even in low indoor light conditions.

The tradeoff, however, is that they will require more water than the average succulent while still being relatively low maintenance.

The large leaves on this plant are also suitable conduits for air filtration, allowing you to keep the air in your room from becoming stale, especially helpful when weather or noise makes opening a window a bad idea.

Lucky Bamboo

If you are interested in cultivating a Zen atmosphere in your bedroom, then lucky bamboo may be the plant for you.

Similar to succulents, lucky bamboo is physically resilient and will not be damaged easily by rough handling.

It is more water intensive than either of the previous plants on this list however, needing water every few days so this plant is for those who are able to keep to a watering schedule more readily.

This plant also thrives in a pot filled entirely with water, removing the need for consistent watering, though the pot should still be refreshed every so often.

Low to medium light is also recommended for lucky bamboo, as extensive sun exposure can actually cause the leaves to wilt.

Snake Plant

Named for their long leaves, snake plants are another viable choice for cultivation as their water needs are similar to that of the succulent, meaning that maintaining them does not require much thought.

Their ability to purify air is also notable, owing to the large surface area of their leaves, similar to the pothos plant.

These plants do grow somewhat slowly however, so don’t expect much change from them. Stick to lucky bamboo if you want to watch something grow before your eyes.

It is best to position this type of plant near a window or lamp, as bright light serves them best, though direct sun exposure can be damaging, so take care to ensure that they have shade for at least a portion of the day.

Zanzibar Gem

More colloquially known as the ZZ plant, the Zanzibar gem is yet another drought resistant plant.

This ability is derived from a different source than that of the succulent however, with water being stored beneath the soil in structures known as rhizomes.

No matter what plant you choose, its guaranteed that it will add positively to your dorm decor.

Photo by Izze Rios

Featured Photo Caption: Plants are a great addition to any dorm room, providing necessary life and greenery to an otherwise stuffy room, while also having the added benefit of filtering the air.

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