A Simple Guide to Plant Care and Keeping in College

I really like plants and think they’re a great way to make any space just a little bit better, so here’s my guide to plant care and keeping in college. They’re beautiful, alive, and have character, so here are some easy tips to get started in your dorm/apartment/house/home. Hope you enjoy!

Why Have Plants In Your Dorm?

Add Life To A Space

A great reason to add plants to any dorm space is because having another form of life there can just be sort of nice. Dorms can be bleak and boring and a healthy living plant makes it all a bit more comfortable. 

There’s research showing the positive benefits of plants in your living space. A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology showed that caring for plants helped lower stress responses in participants — and what do college students need more than stress relief?

Something Else To Care For

When you have a bunch of classes, homework, exams, and a social life to maintain, another thing to care for might not sound so appealing. 

But plants are something that need love and care at low stakes. If you forget, it’s not like killing a fish– and oftentimes a plant can be revived!

You take a few minutes to water them every few days (or weeks, depending on the plant) and they provide a small reprieve from all the other craziness in the world of college. Taking a few moments to care for something other than yourself and do something mindless is a soothing break.


There are so many different types of indoor plants, which means there’s always one for you. Whatever you’re looking to add to your space, there’s probably a plant for that. 

This variety is nice because there are also different levels of care depending on the plants. If you really don’t want that much responsibility, you get a succulent that just needs water every few weeks. But, if you want something a little more demanding (and rewarding), there are plants for that too — more on that later.

Good For The Air

There has been some research that’s shown how certain plants can actually help filter and freshen the air. Now don’t ask me to explain the science behind this, but if you’re oh-so-inclined, you can definitely find out more about this.

What Kinds of Plants Are There?


Succulents are a super popular option for dorm plants that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. There are some in super symmetrical shapes that are beautiful to look at, have very pretty coloring, and sometimes they even flower. 

They’re also common because they are super easy to care for. They are desert plants that store water in their leaves, stems, and roots. Because of this, they don’t need to be watered often and don’t need too much attention. 

Some Notes: 

  • Need clay pots with hole at bottom
  • Shallow pot
  • Note on cactuses
    • The main difference is that cactuses have spines
    • All cactuses are succulents, but not all succulents are cactuses


This is just a general term to describe plants that are popular to grow inside. They require a bit more attention than succulents, but they can also be pretty easy to keep healthy. 

I think these are pretty cool because they also have a lot of variety that can keep things interesting in your room. There’s different types that add character and mood to any room. 

You can get them for your desk, floor, or even hanging if you’re worried about space.

I Recommend:

  • ZZ plant
  • Snake plant
  • Pothos (cascading plants)


Bonsai is something I added to this list because I’ve been seeing a lot of them recently and think they’re super cool. But, they are considerably more difficult to care for and not too realistic for a dorm unless you really want to commit to these types of plants.

If you’re willing to commit, they’re pretty amazing and it’s kind of cool to have tiny little trees inside. Since they might not be so realistic, I’d just google them and check ‘em out, you won’t regret it. Look at this guy who has the coolest bonsai I’ve ever seen.

Some Notes:

  • Not too practical, but super cool
  • Just an amazing thing to look at on the internet sometimes

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    How Do I Care For Them?

    It Depends

    Your plant, climate, and conditions determine how to care for your plants. Some plants need more sun than others, some need a certain amount of water, or a particular pot. There are a lot of variables. Luckily, the next tip will prepare you to navigate the messy world of dorm plant care.


    It’s pretty easy to look up your plant and at least have a starting place on how to care for it. The internet has endless resources that will help you figure out what your plant needs based on a ton of factors. 

    Monitor and Troubleshoot

    Make sure to just keep an eye on the plant and notice any changes or differences that may come up, that way you can troubleshoot them and know if you’re doing something wrong. 

    When you see something that may seem off, do a quick google search describing the change and it’ll be pretty easy to know what went wrong and how to fix it.

    Be Patient

    This is half about caring for the plant and half about caring for yourself. Plants grow and change at a much slower rate than many of the things in our daily lives. Appreciate that. 

    There is a beauty in the small changes that add up over a period of weeks, months, and even years (if you’re that committed). The change in pace might be good to just enjoy and acknowledge.

    Where Do I Get Them?

    Grocery Store

    • Trader Joe’s sells plants (forsure); but, other grocery stores do too
    • Already potted and just need be brought home and cared for – super convenient
    • Not much variety


    • Much more variety than anywhere else
    • Knowledgeable people will be able to help you find the right plant for you
    • Have other supplies that you may want or need
    • Can also be fun to just hangout and go with a friend to see all the cool plants


    • Very popular
    • You can’t pick the exact one you want
    • Can be expensive
    • Endless options (sort of)
    • Not sure how they get shipped safely

    Grow them yourself

    • Hardest option, but also the cheapest
    • You can find local plants, but it’ll take a lot of work to get them to stay healthy
    • May not be that practical in a dorm with all the soil, water, etc. that would need to be dealt with
    • Could be a fun learning experience

    Final Thoughts

    Plants add a lot to this world. They are beautiful, unique, and symbolic. I might be biased because I have always thought they’re really cool. But… they are. You don’t always have to be thinking about it, but taking a moment every now and then to acknowledge the special place that plants hold in this world is a way to step out of the day-to-day. 

    We hope this guide was simple enough to follow, but gave you a good place to start with getting your home a little more forested. 

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