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Tips For Keeping Houseplants Anywhere- Even a Dorm

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at GSU chapter.

Houseplants are the ultimate decorations. They brighten the atmosphere of any room, and a healthy plant gives the impression that you have your life together (even if you totally don’t!) Here are some of my best tips for keeping plants in college, including the easiest plants to care for and how to integrate plants into your spaces.

What kind of houseplants are there that I won’t accidentally kill?

Personally, I am highly liable to forget about watering my plants for long periods of time. I forget to rotate them so that their sides get equal light, and I prefer plants that I don’t really have to think about. If you’re anything like me, there are a few very forgiving types of houseplants that will suit your needs.

My personal favorite of these plants is the snake plant. It has gorgeous, long, waxy leaves and according to HGTV.com, it thrives on being ignored. Perfect. In my experience, these plants are almost impossible to accidentally kill and only require very low maintenance. 

snake plant
Photo by Kelly Sikkema from Unsplash

Another favorite of mine is the spider plant. These also have long leaves, though they are much more suited for a hanging pot so that the leaves can drape over the sides. They sometimes produce adorable, tiny white flowers that effectively add to their decoration. Plus, spider plants consistently sprout ‘babies’ which are super easy to propagate. “Spiderettes” are fast-growing and make amazing little gifts for friends who have undoubtedly noticed how cool your spider plant is. Plus, like the snake plant, they require only minimal maintenance.

If you’re looking for a smaller plant to keep in your apartment or dorm, I recommend getting a jade plant or an aloe vera plant. These plants are both succulents with waxy leaves. Perfect for any room with a window, they thrive on moderate sunlight and minimal water. Living with high humidity in Georgia, you should only have to water these types of plants once every 2-3 weeks and even less in the Winter. 

Annie Spratt
Annie Spratt / Unsplash

Besides looking pretty, aloe vera plants are great to have around for various uses. They’re useful to soothe sunburns, heal small wounds, and improve your scalp and hair. Just make sure that your aloe plant is healthy before cutting off one of its leaves, to avoid stressing it out too much.

Where do I put a houseplant in a small space?

Don’t let living in a small space keep you from becoming a plant parent! There are many ways to manipulate your space so that adding a houseplant doesn’t get in your way or appear as clutter. 

The easiest way to integrate a plant into a small space is to put a small one on a windowsill. This is ideal because the plant can garner sunlight and also remain clear of your regularly used surfaces. However, many college dorms and apartments have few windows or windowsills that are too small to hold a plant. In this case, hanging planters and floating shelves are your best friends. 

Hanging planters are great for plants of any size, but I think they’re best for large, dangly plants like the spider plant. They serve as a way to decorate your small space without compromising floor space or shelf space. Furthermore, they’re relatively affordable for a college budget. Here’s a set of three from Amazon for only $14.80. Hanging plants are my favorite way to stylize any space, and they usually only require the installation of a single hook.  

Floating shelves are also a must for keeping plants in a small space and they’re usually simple to install. This one simply hangs from two hooks. These types of shelves are ideal because they can be put on virtually any wall space that isn’t accounted for and they will look amazing. One of the best spots for these is a few feet above a bedframe, where it is out of the way and can brighten the entire room. 

wall pocket decor

Get gardening

Living in a small space and being a busy college student doesn’t stop me from decorating with plants, and it shouldn’t stop you either! It doesn’t take much to be a successful plant parent. I highly recommend taking the plunge and getting some low maintenance plants to enhance your space and brighten your daily mood. 


Hey Everyone- call me Sam! I am a Colorado transplant and senior Exercise Science student at Georgia State. Some of my passions include traveling, birds, reality television, and rock climbing.
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