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

Welcome New Plant Moms and Plant Killers

Being a notorious plant killer runs in my family. My mom, sister, and I kill plants faster than they die on their own. Have no fear, if you’re anything like me, there are plants out there that can withstand our wrath. I have some cute little flora friends who have stayed put despite being taken care of by yours truly. Hey, no judgment, while being college students it can be easy to forget to water our plants, but these green gals will stay alive even in harshest of conditions and will help make your home feel a bit brighter, bringing the outside-in. These are my top tips for new plant moms and chronic plant killers.

Rule #1:  Make sure you get the right pot! 

Each plant is unique and they need a proper fitting home if they are going to flourish. Pots that are too small, or lack adequate holes for proper drainage are beginner mistakes to avoid. Below I provide different, easy to take care of plants, and recommend what type of pots to buy. If you already have a particular plant in mind, make sure to do a little research on what they prefer in terms of housing. 

Reminder: plants don’t always have to be put in plastic pots or planters! Ecoforms offers environmentally sustainable and friendly pots as alternatives to the mainstream plastic containers. I personally think they are much cuter and it’s fulfilling to know that when your plant outgrows its first home or when the pot is no longer useful, it can degrade in either municipal, compost, or a landfill. 

rule #2: Succulents are your Best Friend! 

One of my favorite succulents is Aloe Vera. Not only is this plant super manageable, but perfect for Santa Barbara students who spend lots of time in the sun! Heal your sunburns while bringing some greenery into your home. If you have a backyard, you can plant one of these little guys and they will naturally sprawl! My grandmother planted one years ago, and now she has well over 20 aloe plants in her backyard and without manually watering them once. Keep in mind, that aloes like, not love, the sun. For aloes to truly flourish, plant them in a place that gets light shade or somewhere in your home where direct light is not constantly overbearing.  

Warning for pet owners: Aloe can be mild to moderately toxic to cats and dogs. Keep it at a distance to avoid your furry friends from getting sick.

Kalanchoe, better known as Widow’s Thrill, is another great succulent. These are true beauties, and even more attractive is they can go weeks without water! The plants are great for college students who never know when their next sporadic trip might be. You also don’t have to worry about coming home to a dead plant after extended weeks away on Winter and Summer break. Unlike aloe, these babies love the sun, so feel free to place them somewhere that’ll allow them to soak up light all day. Besides this, water them only when you notice the top layers of soil have dried out and pick off flowers when you notice them starting to wilt. If you want them to bloom their beautiful flowers again the following year, just remember to upgrade them to a slightly bigger pot. 

Pots for succulents in general: The main feature you need is a well-draining pot. Check out ecoforms pots or order from an independent shop such as Etsy! (I try to avoid big companies like Amazon, our plants deserve a home free of capitalist bad vibes) 

Most succulents will be easy to manage overall and often already come in well-draining pots. My friend and I have had our baby succulents for nearly a year now. I have an elephant bush succulent that I’ve forgot to water countless times, but she is drought tolerant and me-tolerant. Even I haven’t put her out to pasture yet which says a lot. 

Rule #3: Don’t Fear the bigger plants

You have probably seen a Monstera before, as Bretman Rock and Benjiplant (some of my favorite plant parents) have a couple of these bad boys. Monsteras are big and they are beautiful. They will immediately brighten any room and bring their good vibes with them. Although they are more of an investment than little succulents, Monsteras are worth the price. You can order them pre-potted from bloomscape or check out your local plant store.

None of these look like the Plant for you?

Here is a list of easy to take care of plants, including what pots they like and links to buy them:

Chinese Money Plant

Buy off Etsy (not amazon please!)

Care: Get a well-draining pot, give them a good amount of time in the sun, water when soil is fully dried out, and clean their leaves!

Lucky Bamboo

Care: Get a well-draining pot and soil, avoid direct light, water with filtered water, and trim regularly.

Cast Iron Plant

Care: Avoid direct sun exposure, they can go without sunlight, water when the soil dries out, and avoid overwatering!

Prayer Plant

Care: Avoid direct light, opt. for partial or full shade, get moist but well-draining soil and the same for the pot, water when the topsoil is dry, and fertilize every month from spring through fall.

Swiss Cheese Plant

Care: keep in bright but indirect light and keep the soil moist in a well-draining pot.

During your plant journey, don’t be too hard on yourself. You may have a few plants that don’t make it and that’s okay because you will have ones that do, and they’re growing, just like you.

Kristi is a third-year at UCSB studying sociology and history with a minor in feminist studies. In her spare time, you can find her trying to revive her peace lily, looking at photos of her dog, or watching benjiplant.