Gone are the days of dorms with bare cinderblock walls haphazardly covered with posters and magazine cutouts. In today’s dorms, incoming students seek a comfortable home away from home and spend weeks or even months considering what aspects of themselves and their homes they want to incorporate in their décor. Plants have become an enormous trend, both for their aesthetic appeal and ability to bring some of the outdoors inside of a dorm environment. Keep reading for some fun tips on decorating with plants in a college dorm or small apartment!

Healthy Plants, Healthy Life

Plants provide oxygen and keeping them in a small space like a dorm can have health benefits including air purification, decreasing the likelihood of sickness, decreasing stress, and increasing focus. Medicinal Aloe plants and orchids release oxygen at night and are especially beneficial for air purification. Orchids also increase humidity which protects against colds and dry, sore throats. Additionally, ferns such as Japanese Royal ferns and Boston ferns have been found to be especially proficient at purifying air and increasing its quality. NASA conducted a study on air purification using some of the most common houseplants and found that they can remove up to 87% of air toxins in just 24 hours! With the freshman plague that seems to hit most every college campus come October, who would have thought a little fern friend could help you and your roomie fend it off!

World’s Best Plant Parent

Plants make people happy, period. But one of the therapeutic benefits of having indoor houseplants is the effects of caring for another living thing. Think of your plants as an easier version of an emotional support animal. Humans have an innate drive towards altruistic helping and care. While watering a plant and making sure it gets enough sunlight may initially feel like a chore, once your plant starts sprouting new leaves, you’ll feel a great sense of satisfaction and excitement for your new pal.

Getting in touch with nature

While college may be the best four years of your life, it is also filled with some of the most challenging periods of your life – especially the initial adjustment period that is first semester freshman year. There will undoubtedly be some moments when you’re feeling down, and what better way to raise your spirits than getting in touch with nature? (especially when that requires going no further than your own room!) Plants reduce anxiety and mental fatigue, even when exposure to nature is brief. Studies have found that simply touching living plants causes an unconscious calming effect. If you want your dorm room to be a sanctuary from the stresses of college – plants are an excellent choice to help with that (in addition to some cozy pillows and your best friends).

Green Thumb Guide

Admittedly, college dorms are not always the most hospitable environments in which to keep a plant thriving with their lack of fresh air and natural light sources. See below for a list of plants that are easy to care for and resilient enough to grow in most dorm environments!

  • A ponytail palm adds a touch of the tropics! It’s a very low maintenance plant that is great for air purification.
  • Money trees have become very trendy and grow well in medium to bright indoor light. Their soil should be kept moist but not overly wet. They’re thought to be a symbol of good luck, so keep that baby around come exam time!
  • Snake plants can grow in high, medium, and low light and only need to be watered about once every week or two. Plus, the unique pattern of different shades of green on their leaves is sure to wow.
  • Aloe Vera and other succulents are some of the most resilient plants out there, thriving even in desert environments. They should be watered sparingly and can grow with very little care. Just make sure they get enough sunlight!
  • A Pothos plant is perfect for hanging baskets or taller shelves with its falling vines. You should allow its soil to dry in between watering and let it live in an environment with low to medium light.

College can be fun, stressful, exciting, scary, sad, and amazing all at the same time. Your dorm room becomes a home away from home, and plants can help to make it truly feel like one with their aesthetic beauty and calming, stress-reducing properties.

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