The Collegiette’s Guide to Not Killing Houseplants

Plants: the only thing harder to care for than small children and angst-ridden teenagers, right?

Wrong.
 
Well, mostly wrong.
 
The truth is, that yes, some plants are practically impossible to keep alive. They’re the ones you see in pictures on Pinterest that look absolutely stunning, that is, until you get one of these beautiful flowers into your clutches. Unlike kids and teenagers, plants don’t cry or steal the car in the middle of the night when they’re vying for attention. It is solely up to you to make sure they are healthy and happy.
 
But that doesn’t mean you should give up on trying. Plants have been reported to be good for your health, as they make air cleaner and their presence alone can make you feel more relaxed. This is essential for many of the cramped dorm rooms and apartments college students find themselves spending four to five years in.

So in honor of spring, here are some suggestions on which plants will always stay by your side.
 

Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane)
I have one of these; his name is Vinny, and I strongly believe that I have subconsciously actually tried to kill this plant. I’ve left it out in the rain and storms, I’ve left it out in burning summer heat; I’ve gone a month without watering it; I’ve poured substances that aren’t water onto it; while traveling from Nashville to Knoxville, this plant was involved in an incident that resulted in it being flung into the floor of my friend’s truck. Name an improper care tactic for a plant, and I’m queen of it when it comes to poor Vinny.
 
Despite my abuses, Vinny and I have been together since 2009. Diffenbachia is a common houseplant, and requires nothing more than a lot of water. On the off chance you find that it wilts, it either is a) too hot or cold or b) doesn’t have enough water. Be careful with this plant though, especially if you have animals or small children – Diffenbachia contains a sap that can is poisonous if ingested.
 
Pothos
Pothos is that plant that everyone has. Like the Diffenbachia, pothos seems to be able to survive just about anything. My roommate bought one of these plants and took it home over Christmas break, and called me just to say that it had vined across her entire kitchen.
 
This plant thrives best when placed in indirect sunlight, watering maybe once or twice a week. Overwatering will cause the roots to rot. A good thing to have is a pot with holes in the bottom and an attached tray to catch excess water. The plant will suck up the water as it needs it. If you’re hard up for cash, you can use a plate.
 
Bamboo
It sounds exotic, but there’s probably a reason a panda’s diet consists mostly of bamboo: It grows a little too well. Gardens with bamboo are often soon overtaken by the plant to the point where the variation Golden Bamboo is considered an invasive species in the Eastern United States.
 
This of course, doesn’t mean you can’t try out a tiny bamboo plant in your apartment. You can get them almost anywhere these days, already set up. They come in little containers and all you have to do is sit them in the window and add water.
 
Aloe Vera
Okay, so you’re still not entirely sold on this whole keeping-a-plant thing. I mean sure they look nice, but you can’t eat them and you can’t make a bouquet out of them.
 
Say hello to Aloe Vera. It needs care just like a cactus does (I.E. not much). If kept in a bright window the plant is bound to thrive and can survive for weeks without being watered. And what’s best is that you can actually crack open its leaves for instant relief from all kinds of burns and scrapes. It especially works wonders on sunburns: no more running back and forth to the grocery store after you leave your after-sun lotion at the pool!