By Samantha Silber
Whether it is by decorating with twinkle lights, picture collages or posters, refurbishing old furniture or shopping for new, many students go to great lengths to make their college quarters feel like home. Plants can be a great way to decorate a space and improve the air quality.
For students interested in adding a little bit of greenery to the mix but are worried about the challenges and time commitment, we have some good news!
GreenHawks has compiled a list of hard-to-kill, undemanding, and fairly inexpensive indoor plants.
The easiest variety of houseplant to grow is called a succulent. Succulents come in a variety of shapes and sizes and have thick leaves that store water for long periods of time. Succulents survive best in dry, warm climates and can survive droughts. This means that they are great indoor plants and may come “back to life” even after being neglected for for some time. They can survive with varying levels of sunlight, and often change from green to beautiful shades of pink, orange, purple, black, or red when they receive enough sun.
Common succulents include Aloe Vera, which is used to prevent inflammation after burns; Jade plants, popular for its bonsai capabilities; Cacti, some that can be used for medicine; and Snake Plants/ Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, which NASA voted one of the top ten best plants for reducing smog, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. Snake Plants can survive with indirect sunlight and only needed to be watered monthly in the winter time.
The fantastic thing about Air Plants is that they don’t need soil and can grow in just about anything; glass, ceramic, porcelain, wood, or metal—you name it. Many chosoe to plant these in glass spheres or ceramic pods. Air plants survive well under florescent light and indirect sunlight. They also can go a couple weeks without being watered, which can be made possible by soaking the plant’s roots in water for 30 minutes to a couple hours before letting them endure without watering for a while.
ZZ Plants (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia) are sometimes called the Eternity Plant. They originated in Dutch nurseries, but their popularity is on the rise in the US because they are notoriously difficult to kill. ZZ plants do well in all lighting conditions aside from direct sunlight, only need to be heavily watered once a week, and are not impacted by humidity. These plants can be a nice constant in a room because they rarely grow or die.
Peace Lilies bloom regularly and are another of NASA’s top ten air cleansing plants. These flowers grow well in shade or indirect sunlight and thrive in 65-80 degrees, making them an ideal indoor plant. Peace lilies only need to be heavily watered about once a week. Their leaves will start to droop when they are dehydrated, which can be a helpful sign for somewhat negligent plant owners. The soil should be dry before watering again to keep the roots healthy. They should be kept away from children and pets because they are slightly toxic.
The Cape Primrose, or the Streptocarpus, grows well in moderate to bright light and doesn’t like to be overwatered. It has gorgeous flowers and comes in red, purple, pink, and other varieties.
Also called Pelargonium, these come in many gorgeous colors, fair well with ample sunlight, and do not need to be watered until their soil dries out.
African Violets, Saintpaulias, only require indirect sunlight, but their soil should be kept moist. They are perfect if you want to give your plants lots of love and have a tendency to overwater.
Ready to branch out?
Try planting vegetables like avocados, carrots, garlic greens, lemons, mandarin oranges, mushrooms, tomatoes, and salad greens. Herbs like basil, chives, cilantro, ginger, mint, and rosemary can do well indoors, too.