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Five Low-Maintenance Plants For Your Child's College Dorm

August 7, 2018


Your child is leaving the nest, and it's bittersweet to say the least.

On one hand, you couldn't be more proud, and you're excited about the future. On the other hand, you're going to miss all those baseball games, school plays and family dinners (even the ones that took place in the car on your way to the next activity.) 

You know they're going to have plenty to keep them busy. But why not send them off with something that will brighten their drab dorm room while giving them the tiniest introduction to adult responsibilities? Here are five unbelievably low-maintenance plants they won't mind keeping in their new living quarters. 

5 Low-Maintenance Plants For College Dorm Rooms 

Low-Maintenance Plant #1: Orchids

low-maintenance-plants-3-1Orchid care has never been easier: Just instruct your college-bound student to place their orchid near a windowsill and water it once a week. Don’t worry if their dorm lacks natural light — orchids also thrive in environments with artificial light.

Besides placing a few ice cubes per week in the pot, there isn’t a lot your son or daughter will need to do to keep their orchid healthy and blooming. You could add fertilizer to your orchid care routine, but it’s not required.

Just let them know to pay attention to the color of their orchid’s roots. Healthy roots are a vibrant green. Also, remind them if all of its blooms have fallen off and the stalk has turned brown—it’s not dead. Even low-maintenance plants need some time to rest. It’s during this resting period orchids stockpile nutrients and energy so they can bloom again.

Low-Maintenance Plant #2: Anthuriumslow-maintenance-plants-1

Anthuriums make our list of low-maintenance plants (even busy students can take care of) because caring for them really comes down to two things: light and water.

Let’s start with light. it’s best to keep your plant in a bright room, but avoid placing it in direct sunlight. That’s because anthurium leaves can get sunburn. In the rainforest, anthuriums either live on the forest floor or grow on trees, so they are shaded from direct sunlight.

One of the biggest anthurium care mistakes people make is either overwatering or underwatering their plant. Too much water can lead to root rot. Your anthurium will do best when the soil has a chance to dry out in between waterings, but it’s also important to make sure your anthurium is getting enough water.

For best results, place 6 ice cubes on top of your plant’s media once a week. If ice cubes aren’t available, use about ¾ cup of water.

Low-Maintenance Plant #3: Money Tree Plant

low-maintenance-plants-4Money tree plants prefer bright, indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight can lead to leaf burn, so tell your son or daughter to find a spot away from the window. Maybe on their desk where they will be doing all of their studying (wink).

Money tree plants also thrive in humidity, so if it gets a little muggy in the dorm room, that’s not a bad thing. But hot, dry air and drafts may cause leaf loss. Root rot is another common problem, which is caused by overwatering. For a 5-inch money tree, water with 2 ice cubes or 3 tablespoons of water once a week.

Low-Maintenance Plant #4: Bromeliad

low-maintenance-plantsBromeliads are a great low-maintenance plant you can send along to college with your children. They require little care, are easy to grow, and produce long-lasting colorful leaf crowns.

Adding water to the leaf cup once a week will keep your bromeliad thriving. They love warm, indoor temperatures, too.

You’ll also take comfort in knowing your child’s bromeliad will not only add beauty to their dorm room, it will also help purify the air.

Low-Maintenance Plant #5: Succulent


Another type of low-maintenance plant that produces oxygen is succulents.They actually go through a similar respiration process that we do, only in reverse. They absorb the carbon dioxide we breathe out during the day, then produce oxygen all night long. It may help your son or daughter get a better night’s sleep in the dorm.

Succulents are easy to care for (think cactus). If they can survive the desert, they can survive a winter in your child’s dorm. An aloe plant may be a good one to send along with them.

 Succulent roots like to be soaked and then left alone for a while to dry out. Don’t water daily, but do tell your son or daughter to keep their succulent close to the window. They like sunlight.

Now that you know how to care for low-maintenance plants, how about getting some decorating ideas your kids can take with them to college? Check out our “Fall Home Decor Lookbook.” In it you’ll find home trends and decor essentials you can use at home, or in your child’s dorm.

What are your favorite ways to dress up a college dorm room? Let us know in the comments below!