Being a college-aged adult comes with its own set of new and exciting responsibilities. Buying your own groceries, cooking your own meals, waking yourself up in the morning and choosing between a night out at the Square or staying in and studying for geology are just a few of the fun and exciting adult decisions you’ll be making.
One of the greatest joys, however, is taking on the responsibility of owning and maintaining a houseplant. As silly as it may sound, having a little potted pal can actually boost creativity and productivity in your home, help filter the air, aid with de-stressing and relaxation and bring a little splash of cheer to the busy student’s life.
Just like we each have our own personalities, different varieties of house plants will add a unique vibe to every house. Depending on what kind of routine you’re running, there is a perfect houseplant for you.
The Tiny Succulents
These pint-sized pricklies and waxy-leafed little guys are the perfect plant companion for the more laid-back personality. Care for this plant does require you to water and fertilize regularly during its growing season if you want it to thrive, but sturdy succulents are known to survive under harsher and drier conditions. So if you forget every now and again, it shouldn’t be a problem.
These plants like sunlight, but contrary to popular belief, can’t be left to dry under the hot summer sun. Succulents typically grow better outdoors, but if you do choose to keep yours inside, make sure it’s getting a good six hours of sunlight a day. I would recommend keeping your succulents near or on a window sill. Just be sure they aren’t getting too much sun and any plants of the spiky variety are kept away from household pets to avoid accidents.
Ferns are the perfect plant for the old soul. Some of the oldest plants on the Earth, ferns have a pretty good survival record— but don’t let that fool you. Ferns come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be found in hanging baskets, large floor pots or small table pots. Really, it’s more of deciding what kind of fern will fit best into your space. Are you looking for a more tropical feel to add to your home, or just a simple dash of color?
Ferns generally need to be regularly watered and thrive in medium to bright light. But if you do choose to adopt a fern, get familiar with the exact type of fern you’ve got– the details of caring for your fern’s health and comfort greatly depend on what type it is.
Orchids are great for the gentle or elegant home. Besides making great gifts, these colorful house plants add a simple yet graceful touch to any room. The trick to orchids is to keep them moist and make sure they have drainage holes in their pots. They also do well if they are allowed to dry out briefly in between waterings.
Orchids also need to be planted in shallower pots and exposed to bright indirect sunlight. Too much sunlight could lead to their leaves burning, causing the plants not to flower well. Correct light is important, because these plants are known for their beautiful and ornate blooms. If you plan to keep your orchid long-term, it will need to be replanted about once a year to stay healthy. While they may seem like delicate flowers, orchids are quite easy to take care of once you learn the ropes.
The Bonsai is best suited for the more serious indoor plant owner. Bonsai trees are, more or less, regular trees that have been artificially altered to stay tiny throughout their lives. In fact, they still go through the natural life cycle of trees. As a result, only tropical bonsai trees are really suitable to be kept indoors year round, as temperatures in our homes are typically pretty warm throughout the year.
Bonsai trees like to be planted in shallow pots, which means they will need to be carefully monitored for watering. It might be difficult to keep a bonsai on a watering routine, so instead mist the tree every so often to help simulate humid tropical conditions and make sure the soil around your bonsai plant is nice and moist– not too dry or too wet. A tropical bonsai will also require a good amount of sunlight, so be sure to place your plant near a window that gets a lot of sunshine. Like all plants, the specific type of bonsai you choose will influence the amount and type of care it requires, but if done correctly, a bonsai tree can last for decades.
This plant is a great pick for the optimistic plant lover, and makes a great gift. Lucky Bamboo has long been associated with good fortune and bountiful wealth, and as a result, it is a popular indoor plant. Surprisingly, Lucky Bamboo is actually not a bamboo at all. Dracaena sanderiana, the true name of “lucky bamboo,” is in no way part of the bamboo family— but that doesn’t mean you can’t still believe it’s lucky.
This plant is a bit picky about water, and does best with either distilled or bottled water, as tap water contains high levels of chlorine that are damaging to the plant. If you must use tap water, be sure to let it sit at least a full day before adding it to your plant to reduce the chlorine levels. It’s recommended the water level be about 1 inch above the roots of the plants. Lucky bamboo should also be exposed to indirect sunlight. Once you get the hang of caring for your lucky bamboo, it should thrive in your home and bring you lots of good energy.
– McKenna Wierman