Yes, its that time. Kids are packing up and moving to their college dorm rooms. When you are helping them pack up, don’t forget to send them with a plant or two. Rember they clean the air, perfect for a dorm room. They also have been proven in office settings to make people more productive. Well, that is perfect for a dorm room. They need all the help they can get in college, right. Plus, plants make people happy. So, which plants will survive in a dorm room under the care of a busy college student? Here are six plants I think any college student can keep alive. I’ve also kept in mind that these plants need to be easily accessible to anyone, so if there isn’t an independent garden center near, these plants can usually be found at the local Wal-Mart or Meijer (in Michigan) or any big box store.

#1 ZZ Plant and #2 Sansevieria (Dracaena)

ZZ plant and Sansevieria

My top two plants-Sansevieria (Dracaena) and ZZ plant

Above are my top two choices. Snake plant (Dracaena trifasciata formerly Sansevieria),

Sansevieria trifasciata or Dracaena trifasciata

Snake plants are easy to care for high to low light plants

and ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia -that’s why they call it a ZZ plant).

ZZ plant

ZZ plants are easy low light plants

Both plants are easy to grow, mostly because they tolerate extremely low light and neglect….. (hopefully, no alcoholic beverages or ashes find their way into the containers). Both have large rhizomatous roots that store water, so they can go a long time without water, especially if they are in low light conditions. They would prefer a higher light situation, especially the sansevieria, so they are adaptable, to say the least.

#3 Pothos- Devil’s Ivy-Epipremnum aureum

The next plant is the ubiquitous pothos. I think everyone has had one of these at one time or another. They are usually grown as a hanging plant often getting long and then trained around a window or draped across the furniture. The good news is they come in a myriad of different colors now. The dark green form with yellow splashes is the most common, but now there are white and green variegated forms and a bright green form. They can tolerate low light but will lose their variegation if in too low light. Keep them evenly moist, but if they are left to dry out, they will usually recover when watered with just a few yellow leaves to show that it was unhappy. It is a forgiving plant and an awesome dorm plant besides.

#4 Chinese evergreen -Aglaonema

I can’t say enough about aglaonemas. They have hybridized these plants to have colored leaves that are to die for.¬† Read about their beginnings¬† here. Aglaonemas keep their colorful foliage even in lower light conditions. They would prefer a medium light and to be kept evenly moist. Their stems are kind of succulent so they can survive a bit of drying out, but would prefer to stay evenly moist. Look at the color on that plant!

Pink aglaonema

Gorgeous pink speckled aglaonema

#5 Heartleaf Philodendron Philodendron hederaceum

Many people poo-poo the heart leaved philodendron as boring and blase, but I love it. It has heart-shaped leaves, my favorite, and now there are the yellow, ‘Lemon Lime’ variety and the variegated ‘Brazil’, shown below. They tolerate low light and vine all over the place. When nothing else survives, the ubiquitous philodendron is there. It is a perfect plant for the dorm room window.

'Brazil' philodendron

Philodendron ‘Brazil’

#6 Lucky Bamboo Dracaena sanderiana

Lucky bamboo

Lucky bamboo, Dracaena sanderiana

And last, but not least, the lucky bamboo, which isn’t bamboo at all, but is in fact, a dracaena. What I really like about this plant is that the mystery of watering and when and how much is taken away as the lucky bamboo is usually grown in water and so we then don’t have to worry about “overwatering” our plant. Give it good bright light, otherwise, it reaches for the light. Change the water occasionally and watch your bamboo grow and thrive.

So there are my top six easiest and most accessible plants for dorm rooms. Everyone needs a little green in their lives, even our college kids. I’m sure that a large percentage of rooms on college campuses have more than one plant residing in them. I think it is awesome.

Six easy dorm room plants

Six easy plants to send with your child to college

Below is my college plant that went to Ferris State College (now university) with me in 1984 in a 2″ pot. I love it and it is one of my most prized possessions.

Ponytail palm

My college plant from 1984 Ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)

Remember to send your student to college with a gorgeous plant for their dorm room. We all need a little green in our lives!

Have a great week!

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