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Dorm Friendly Houseplants to Brighten Your Space

Looking to buy a plant for your dorm/apartment/college living situation? Overwhelmed by the options? Indoor gardening is a great, low-commitment hobby that is good for you, your environment, and fairly inexpensive. Here are some great houseplants that are perfect for a college student that is looking to brighten up their space!

Peace Lily

Peace Lilies are awesome, tropical plants that do great in low light situations. Only have one window in your dorm? Not a lot of natural light in your apartment? No worries! The peace lily will do just fine. This dramatic plant is perfect for beginners, as it gives a very clear indication of when it needs to be watered! The plant begins to droop, and its leaves hang lower than usual. It’s also a humidity-loving plant, so don’t forget to put it in your bathroom the next time you take a shower.


Perfect for those who tend to forget to water their plants, the pothos is a fast-growing, lush plant that prefers its soil to be on the drier side. Pothos come in many beautiful varieties, from generic ones such as the golden pothos to interesting ones like the Snow Queen pothos. This plant is great if you’re trying to give your space a lush and green decor piece, and can be hung as a trailing plant, or staked on a moss pole for upward growth.


The sweet spot between peace lilies and pothos, philodendrons are tropical, trailing plants that love humidity. They’re fast growers, don’t need a ton of light, and look beautiful in any space. Fast-growing, easy plants like philodendron are great for those just getting into houseplants, because they show growth really quickly, which is encouraging to the new houseplant owner.

Snake Plant

The snake plant is actually a succulent, but the average succulent doesn’t thrive in an indoor environment due to the lack of sunlight. The snake plant, however, thrives no matter how low light your space is. You rarely have to water it, and if you’re not into the look of the average snake plant, there are many other varieties to choose from!

Tradescantia (Wandering Dude)

This plant grows like a weed! It prefers to be on the drier side, so it doesn’t need to be watered more than once a week. It likes partial light (so a windowsill would be perfect!) and comes in a bunch of varieties.

ZZ Plant

This plant is super ornamental and pretty to look at! Otherwise known as the “Zanzibar Gem”, this plant thrives on neglect. Not only is it drought-tolerant, but it also is very tolerant of low-light situations. It is also extremely resistant to bugs and pests.

Some Tips and Tricks to Keep in Mind:

  • Make sure any and all plants are in pots with holes at the bottom. Watering a plant in a pot without drainage holes is going to result in the roots of the plant rotting in excess water.
  • Most plants are fairly vocal in their needs. If your plant needs to be watered, it’ll probably be drooping or have its leaves curled up. Try not to overwater your plant; if it isn’t drooping, test if it needs to be watered by picking up the pot. If it has some weight to it, it probably doesn’t need to be watered. If it feels really light, go ahead and give it a drink!
  • Don’t worry about repotting plants until you can see the roots growing out of the drainage holes at the bottom of their pot. That is generally a good indicator that the plant needs to be moved to a larger pot.
  • Explore the internet; if you have a question or concern about your plant, it can usually be solved with a quick Google search! There are also tons of content creators on platforms such as Youtube and TikTok that make awesome videos about caring for plants.
  • See your plants as what they are: living things. If you view and treat your plants with the respect that you’d give any other living thing, you will have no trouble taking care of them! A positive attitude and respect is a crucial step to having healthy and happy plants.

Good luck, and happy planting!


Sophomore at SJSU, pursuing a bachelor's degree in Business Management. Lover of all things theatre and Disney. Collector of all things old and pretty. Find me on Instagram: @shay.singh
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