As a college student in NYC, I have been especially desperate for some green in my life (the plant kind and the $$ kind). So, last year, I tested a few houseplants that would be incredibly easy to care for, but would still offer some release from the dirty city streets. Like me, most college students are too busy to be constantly thinking about if they’ve watered their plants or what kind of fertilizer they need to buy.
Through my experimenting (and killing even a cactus … I watered it too much!), I have come up with a few tried and true plants that can make your dorm feel a little more like home. Not only that, they’ll do a little to freshen up the air inside the place (anything to keep a dorm room even a teensy bit fresher!).
Most malls have little stands where you can buy some bamboo or you can go to a flower shop to purchase some. Bamboo can be placed in any kind of container as long as the roots are surrounded by some kind of rocks. Then, pour water into the container to the top, submerging all the rocks and the bamboo roots.
My bamboo came in a little green ceramic container with a panda on the side (so cute!), but unfortunately, it broke! As a testament to the easiness of caring for bamboo, all I had to do was pour the rocks into a little cup I already had. I recommend placing the bamboo in a clear container so that you can see the water level and make sure that you are not killing your bamboo, but in reality, you can keep it in any plastic or glass container. You can even place it in old jars to add a little bit of a vintage look to your bamboo.
Eventually, my bamboo outgrew the cup I had it in and I had to purchase another glass container to put it in, but in my eyes, this was a great accomplishment! The bamboo had survived and is flourishing! I joke with my parents that once it gets big enough, I’ll be able to make that bamboo cutting board I always wanted.
The only important care instructions for bamboo is to keep the container filled with water! This requires picking up the bamboo every few days and carrying it to the sink – that is all! Easy and adorable.
I mentioned before that I actually killed my first cactus by caring for it too much. Cacti really don’t want much attention at all – watering once every few weeks is sufficient. In the winter, you’ll need to water more often than normal because the cacti will be actively soaking in the water. When you water a cactus, you need to simulate a desert. By that I mean you need to give it a deep soaking and then let it go until the soil is dry and the water again. You don’t want the soil to be completely devoid of water as that will cause rot as well but it needs to be mostly dry.
To create my fancy cactus garden, I purchased a medium sized terracotta pot, cactus soil (sand mixed in with potting soil), some rocks, and 5 small cacti. I poured some rocks in the bottom of the pot, some soil, and then I placed the cacti in with 3 tall cacti in the back and the two shorter, wider ones in the front. You can see a picture of a normal cactus garden by searching Google images. I covered the roots of the cacti with more soil and placed a few rocks on the top for looks.
When you first pot your cacti, you should put it in a cool, dark place so that the cacti can get used to their new home, but after a few days, you can move it to a lighter spot.
Now, it sits on my window ledge and looks beautiful. Every few days, I stick my finger in the soil to see how dry it is. If it’s dry, I pour water on until the soil is drenched. Not so hard!
3) Moss terrarium
I discovered moss terrariums on a crafting website last year and have no stopped making/adoring them since. Most people I speak to have never even heard of what it is so I will let you in on the well-kept secret. A moss terrarium is just a simple glass container with a lid that contains soil, moss, and other small plants.
The best thing about moss terrariums is that they are their own ecosystem inside of a jar. You only have to mist them with water every few weeks to keep the moss alive. The moss will take the water as needed and then you’ll see condensation on the glass from the water rising, as it does in the normal environment, and then it will rain down again.
To make a moss terrarium, you’ll just need to find a glass jar (it must have a lid!). You can go crazy with this – I have heard of moss terrariums in glass salt and pepper shakers and in light bulbs. Whatever you think will fit your décor! Then, you’ll need some rocks to place in the bottom, charcoal (you can find this at home improvement stores or in pet stores in fish filters), peat moss, soil, and moss that you have collected outside. You should place the ingredients in the order I have listed. The charcoal will stop a strange smell from forming inside of your terrarium and peat moss/rocks will help the water drain.
Again, you can search Google images to find what finished moss terrariums look like and for more detailed instructions as to how to make one- they’re modern looking and great conversation pieces.
4) African violet
There is not much to say about my African violet except that it hasn’t died yet! I water it once a week and it has survived. When there are dead leaves, I just pull them off and throw them out. It needs some sunlight – so place it on your windowsill and you’re ready to go!