Picking the Perfect Plant for Your Dorm Room

For many, a college dorm is the first “home” outside of their parents’ house. It’s a place to call their own, and a place where they’ll spend much of their time as they start college. If you’re headed to college and getting ready to deck out your dorm, consider adding a houseplant to the mix.

Plants are the perfect addition to any dorm decor, adding more life, and oxygen, to your new little home. But dorms do tend to have low available light and low levels of humidity in the winter when the heat comes on. If you’re looking to add plants to your dorm, consider the following plants that can tolerate these conditions:

ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

This plant has glossy, dark green, compound leaves and thickened underground stems. It is tolerant of low light and low humidity, and tends to be free of some of the more common houseplant pests. Be sure to use a well-draining potting mix and allow the top inch of soil to dry before watering since its thickened stems can rot if kept too moist.

Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

The narrow, arching, variegated foliage of a spider plant can do wonders to brighten up a room. This plant forms tuberous roots that store water and nutrients, making it tolerant of drought. It prefers bright, indirect light but it will grow in low light.

Jade plant (Crassula ovata)

If you have a little more available light, like a sunny windowsill, a jade plant is a great plant to have. Their succulent leaves and stems store water, making them tolerant of drought and low humidity.

African violet (Saintpaulia ionantha)

A bright windowsill and regular watering are all these plants need to thrive in even the driest dorm room air. They are not too picky about light requirements, as long as they get plenty of bright, indirect light. Keeping the soil too moist can cause crown or root rot, so allow the top inch or so of soil to dry out before watering. A happy African violet will provide a display of showy blooms almost continuously, adding a beautiful splash of color to your dorm.

Vilevine (Philodendron hederaceum)

Also called heart-leaf philodendron, this vining houseplant would be right at home on a bright dorm room windowsill. You can also easily propagate this plant by cutting off a section of the vine, placing the cut end in a jar of water, and potting it up in soil when roots start to grow.

Catherine Martin
Public Information Officer

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