Adjusting to a new dorm or apartment can be difficult, but one way to liven up any living space is with a plant.
Due to the lack of sunlight and space, there are certain plants that may be more adaptable for dorm or apartment-style living than others.
Overall, Tia Gonzales, curator of the Auburn University Medicinal Plant Garden, explained that there are three things to be aware of.
First, pick the right plant for the right place. This includes considering the climate, season and sun exposure in the room. Second is to take care of the soil by getting a good-quality potting mix. Lastly, water properly.
As far as watering properly, Gonzales clarified that overwatering keeps the plant wet constantly and has nothing to do with how much water you give the plant at one time. Additionally, she says that a good-size pot is important, so the plant has room to grow.
When it comes to specific plants, Jessica Ganas, a home gardener and plant vendor at her local downtown outdoor market, along with Ana Hanger, freshman in environmental science, both suggested Aloe Vera as a good plant for apartments and dorms.
Ganas said Aloe Vera is very low maintenance. Just give it about a cup of water once a week, keep it in a sunny spot and that is all it needs. Aloe Vera can be especially helpful since it helps purify the air. It also helps with sunburns and soothing skin.
Another plant Ganas mentions is a snake plant, also called Sansevieria Trifasciata. This plant is helpful since it does not need direct sunlight, and it also doesn’t require much water, just a little once a week.
“In fact, overwatering is the only way you can mess these plants up. Too much water will cause rotting,” said Ganas. Snake plants, like Aloe Vera, are helpful for air purification.
“The NASA Clean Air Study found Sansevieria to have air purification qualities, removing four of the five main toxins,” said Ganas. “Their pores release oxygen at night, unlike most plants that only exchange gases during the day. The idea is that you receive cleaner oxygen while sleeping, and rest better with this plant in your room.”
Hanger additionally notes that Spider plants and succulents are ideal for small-space living and also points out another benefit to having plants.
“This is a random benefit I guess, but decoration. It’s so easy like I barely had to decorate my dorm,” said Hanger. “The plants make it.”
Gonzales said caring for a plant can be beneficial and therapeutic.
For more information on plant care, Gonzales, focusing on herbs, suggests “The Herb Garden Book,” “Roydale’s Encyclopedia of Indoor Gardening,” “Southern Herb Growing” and “The Big Book of Herbs.” Ganas also suggested an Instagram account, @meeschmid_plantlady, which gives tips on plant care.