Back to school season is upon us, and as students descend upon college campuses everywhere for move-in day, they will be met with one simple fact of college life: Dorm rooms are, well... bland. But they don't have to stay that way! The simple addition of a few houseplants is one of the easiest ways to breathe life and personality into an otherwise drab dorm room — not to mention the free air filtration that they offer. To help you choose the perfect houseplant, we've put together a list of plants that are not only beautiful, but can stand up to dorm life. Check them out below!
ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
Dorm rooms are full of potential, like blank canvases just waiting to be painted. And although picking up a paintbrush is generally frowned upon when it comes to temporary housing, no one will take issue with adding a splash of glossy green in the form of a ZZ plant. (For a moodier feel, you could even opt for the cultivar 'Raven,' which offers near-black foliage.) This South African plant is one of our top picks for dorm rooms because it is adaptable to a wide variety of light conditions and fairly tolerant of neglect. And although no plant will survive in the dark, this one comes closer than most, which makes it an excellent choice for a dorm room with limited natural light. In short, the ZZ plant is pretty easy — in addition to just being pretty!
Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata 'Laurentii')
Similar to the ZZ-plant, the snake plant is another fantastic pick for a lower-light dorm room. You might know this spiky beauty by its former Latin name, Sansevieria, but botanists recently reclassified all the plants in this now-defunct genus as Dracaena. While their name may have changed, the plants themselves haven't! The variety 'Laurentii' is a classic for a reason: Not only does it sport striking variegation and patterning, but it's adaptable to a variety of light conditions and can also go for a while between waterings. Together with the ZZ plant, it's one of the ultimate "set and forget" plants for college students busy navigating homework, extracurriculars, and friendships because it'll still be beautiful whenever they get back to their room — and finally remember to give their plant some water!
String of Hearts (Ceropegia woodii)
With charming, patterned leaves in the shape of — you guessed it — hearts, the string of hearts is another fantastic selection for students looking to showcase their love of houseplants. The one caveat? Unlike our first two dorm room picks, this plant definitely needs bright light. While its succulent leaves allow it to go for a while between waterings, a sunny window is a must if you don't plan to provide any supplemental lighting. A string of hearts will be perfectly happy tucked next to textbooks on a windowside bookshelf where its trailing habit can be fully appreciated. This plant won't stop at just spilling over the edge of its pot, but the shelf it's sitting on, too!
Echeverias (Echeveria cvs.)
Succulent leaves also define our next pick for a bright dorm room, and with their tidy rosettes of foliage in hues ranging from pale gray to bright green, echeverias are hard to resist! They're a great choice for a college student looking to get in on the succulent craze, and although succulents have a reputation for being more difficult than they let on, the key is to provide them with enough light and resist the urge to overwater. This is a plant for a sunny windowsill, through and through, and as long as it's kept there and watered occasionaly, it should hold up to dorm life beautifully.
Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
The parlor palm is the perfect choice of houseplant for a student looking to bring a taste of summer vacation back to school with them. A true palm native to Mexico and Guatemala, this plant packs bold, tropical foliage texture into a package that's appropriately sized for dorm life. It also has the added benefit of being safe for dogs and cats, so if pets are in the picture at any point during the school year or over the summer, you don't have to worry about this plant making your furry friends sick. Falling somewhere between our other plants on this list in terms of lighting requirements, the parlor palm is a good choice for students whose living situation offers moderate-to-bright indirect light.
Every houseplant lives in a container of some sort, which opens up an additional realm of design possibilities! A simple pot can say a lot, and we have plenty of options at the Farm to help you infuse a bit of personality and style into any dorm room design. Whether you opt for something simple and natural, bold and patterned, or zany and fun — like a planter shaped like an elephant — don't forget to pick up a decorative container for your college-bound houseplant while you're here!
We have a wide array of houseplants at the Farm just waiting to be explored, including the ones mentioned in this post! As always, feel free to ask us for help in picking out or caring for your plants — whether they're destined for dorm life or not.