Dorm Decor: 3 Small Space-Friendly Plants for Your Room

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I'm the first to admit that I don't have a green thumb. At home, I'm perfectly content watching my parents pottering around in the backyard garden, comfortably sipping lemonade in the kitchen and keeping my fingernails dirt-free. (I know, I know, I feel pretty guilty about it now.)

However, every interior design fan knows that the best way to make any space inviting and full of life is to add a plant or two! Silk flowers are great if you have an allergy to certain plants or are simply too busy to care for real ones, but after reading this article, virtually everyone should be able to pick up a plant at the local nursery or florist and easily care for it!

Below, I'll describe some flowers and plant types that are ideal for small, enclosed spaces like dorms and apartments, all of which require little care. Let's get started!

1. Succulents

Succulents are perhaps my favorite easy-to-maintain indoor plant. They're adapted to arid climates, and retain water so well that you barely ever have to water them. They're gorgeous, come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and some, like aloe, can even have healing properties! Versatile and cheap, you can find them at any garden store.

Tips for growing succulents:

  • Keep them on a windowsill or near plenty of sunlight -- remember, these plants are used to desert climates.
  • Take a hint from Design Sponge and upcycle a brick as a succulent holder!
  • Water them around once a month, keeping the soil moist. You can check the moistness of the soil by inserting a pencil into the soil and seeing if the soil sticks to the pencil easily.
  • Name them! (Okay, this isn't really necessary, but I think that naming your succulent will help you remember to water it.)

2. Orchids

When I was out dorm shopping last summer, I noticed a special on orchids in the garden aisle. I decided to buy one, mostly because of the large tag that informed me I would only have to give it one or two ice cubes a week to keep it thriving. Nearly two semesters later, my orchid plant is still residing happily on my dorm windowsill in a lovely white flowerpot, despite me leaving it at school for five weeks during winter break. Inexpensive, beautiful, and easily cared for, I highly recommend orchids to brighten up a dreary dorm!

Tips for growing orchids:

  • If you purchase an orchid from a store where they've packaged it in a plastic pot, make sure to repot it and give the roots enough space to breathe and air out.
  • Give it plenty of sun and water it weekly -- a few ice cubes every week worked for me, but you could try Plant Watering Globes if you think you might forget!
  • Orchids naturally like to climb on other plants, so make sure to lightly attach the canes (where the flowers grow) to wooden sticks or other thin, sturdy supports, so they can grow up, not out.

3. Terrarium

Whether they're made in fancy blown-glass vases, DIY hanging globes, or even in mason jars, terrariums are a fun, trendy way to house indoor plants.

Terrariums are great for many reasons: They're certainly easy to care for, and are definitely easy to move around -- and there's no chance of them spilling dirt all over your carpet! Basically, a terrarium includes a pebble layer, a soil layer, and dwarf plants that thrive in low light and high humidity.

Tips for making and growing a terrarium:

  • Whatever glass container you decide to build your terrarium in, make sure you can fit your hand inside it, to make planting possible.
  • Check out this terrarium-building tutorial that only takes an hour!
  • Overwatering is the biggest reason why terrariums fail -- make sure to water an open terrarium every 7-10 days, and a closed one every 2 weeks or so.

What do you think?

Were these tips helpful? Do you have any plants in your dorm or apartment, and if so, which kinds? What are your tips for growing plants in a small space? Have you ever made a terrarium or grown succulents before? Let us know with a comment! 

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