Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Style > Decor

The Best Plants for Your Dorm Room

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

I don’t know about you but I love houseplants. I love the look of them, taking care of them and collecting them. Plants can give you all kinds of benefits including decorating your space, cleaning toxins from the air, and improving your mental health. I recently went full force into this hobby this summer — buying 15 plants without thinking about having to put them into my dorm this year. Mistakes were made but that being said, I kind of know which plants work for your dorm…. and which do not. For your reading pleasure, I have compiled a list of some plants that will work best for different types of dorms so if you’re thinking about buying some new plants or you’re new to being a plant parent, this list is for you.

  1. For the plant parent that has little light:
  • Snake Plants – I love snake plants. I have owned two and they’re great plants to have. For one, they are low maintenance. You only have to water this plant one to two times a month. That’s right… you can forget about her and she’ll be fine. Only water when the soil is completely dry. Snake Plants also grow in low lighting settings. My snake plant is currently across the room from my window and it’s thriving, a new baby plant just popped up in its pot. So, if you have a dim or dark dorm room, a snake plant will do just fine in it. These plants also help filter indoor air during the day and night which will help you sleep better. This plant is perfect for the beginner or someone who hasn’t had a good track record with plants. 
  • ZZ Plants – I’ve had my ZZ plant for a few months now and I haven’t had any problems with her. This plant is also really low maintenance. I water my ZZ every two to three weeks and if I’m a little late on watering, she doesn’t seem to mind. Again, only water this plant once the soil is dried out. ZZs also don’t require a lot of light and actually do well in fluorescent lighting. My ZZ sits next to my Snake Plant away from the window and is currently pushing out a new stem. This plant also helps filter and clean indoor air. This plant is also perfect for the beginner or someone who hasn’t had a good track record with plants. 
  • Spider Plants – These plants are a lot of fun, they’re constantly pushing out new spider plants when they’re happy. This plant does well with a mix of fluorescent and natural light as it needs very little natural light. You should water your spider plant lightly every one to two weeks and more towards every two weeks during the winter. It’s also very forgiving if you forget to water for a few days. The Spider Plant is said to help with your mental health because it gets rid of the toxins in the air. 
  1. For the plant parent with filtered light:
  • Pothos – I love, love, love, my pothos. I want to start this off by saying there are so many different types of pothos and they vary in price. I currently have a Manjula Pothos but have also owned a Golden Pothos, which died of causes unrelated to me. First, there is a type of Pothos that is neon green and it’s literally stunning. The exotica type is a fun texture. There’s a Pothos out there for everyone. This plant vines so it’ll probably do best hung up or on a shelf or window sill. Mine is hung up on a wall across from the window. The Pothos should be watered every one to two weeks. The brighter the place it’s at it, the more water it’ll need. Only water when the soil is dried out. If your pothos leaves are yellowing, it’s probably from overwatering. This plant is perfect for the beginner. 
  • Monstera – Monsteras are my favorite kind of houseplants. I currently own a Monstera Adansonii and a Monstera Deliciosa and they are so much fun to take care of. Monsteras can thrive in different light settings. They thrive in bright filtered light but can also do well in low light settings. The Monstera Deliciosa can get big so I would recommend buying them young. The Monstera Adansonii, however, is a vine plant so it will eventually hang down but mine has yet to. So be aware of that. These plants love moisture and to be misted. Also, be sure to water when the top three to four inches of soil is dry. This is about every week in the summer and two weeks in the winter. These plants are also amazing for the beginner.
  1. For the plant parent with bright light or window space:
  • String Plants – These plants come in different shapes and sizes. For instance, I have a String of Dolphins, String of Hearts, and a String of Pearls. They also come in the shape of bananas, tears, turtles, and more. String plants hang down so be aware of that if you’re thinking about buying one. I love these plants but they probably need more experience to take care of. They need bright light so it’s best to keep them on the window or close to it. A tip for these is to make sure they can see the sky. Look around at where you’re keeping this plant and if you’re able to see clouds, they should be good to go. It’s also important to note that these plants are succulents, so give them a good soak maybe once a month. These plants are really sensitive to overwatering so you have to be careful how often you’re watering. Lastly, make sure you let the soil dry out between waterings.
  • Polka Dot Plants – Polka Dot Plants are really pretty. The colors they come in are red, yellow, green, purple, and pink which is the one I own. Their color draws them to love bright light in order to maintain that color. Mine sits on my window sill to get as much light as it can. These plants are pretty small in size so they’re perfect for your dorm room window. They need watering weekly and will droop when thirsty. This plant is good for beginners who will stay on top of the watering schedule!
  • Succulents & Cacti – We’ve already talked a little bit about succulents such as String Plants and Snake Plants but some more to add to this list are Zebra Cacti (Haworthia), Jade Plants, Moonstones, and Cacti. My favorite is the Fishbone Cactus. These need bright light so they need to be close to the window. Only water these plants once a month when the soil is dry. These plants can be beginner friendly if they are kept in sunlight and watered scarcely. They come small so they are good for your dorm room. 

There’s my list to get you started on your plant care journey. Here are some tips to get you started: 

  • Get pots with drainage
  • Check for pests before you buy your plant
  • Spray with Neem Oil every 2-4 weeks to keep pests away from your plants
  • Get a mister if your plant requires humidity
  • Bottom water
  • Watch Tiktoks on your plant and get a plant watering app to help you get used to watering your plants – I like Planta

Good luck.

Emily Barber

Virginia Tech '23

I am a senior at Virginia Tech majoring in English and Creative Writing. If I'm not reading a book, I'm usually crocheting or tending to my plants.