12 Best Plants for Dorms & Busy College Students


Last Updated on October 31, 2021 by Phil

Going to college or looking for something to liven up your drab college dormitory? Here are the best plants for dorms.

College dorm rooms are not the best environments for plants. They get little light, will likely get watered less often and don’t have a lot of circulating air.

If you run the air conditioning or heater a lot, then the air gets dry as well, which can be a living hell for houseplants or tropical plants.

On the other hand, dorms without air conditioning can get really hot when you’re in class.

So, to make sure your plant doesn’t die on you within the first few months of keeping them in your college dorm, here are the best plants to consider that can tolerate such conditions.


Best Plants for Dorms



Pothos are stunning plants that are small but can grow very long because of their vines. This lets you grow them on tables where you can let them sprawl outwards. Or, hang them up in little baskets or containers to let the vines trail downwards to show off their gorgeous leaves.

Pothos rank among the best plants for dorm rooms because they don’t need a lot of light. They’ll likewise do well under fluorescent lighting which is what most college living quarters will have.


Lucky Bamboo

Lucky Bamboo

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Lucky bamboo is the first of “two good fortune” or “good luck plants” in our list.

As the name suggests, it brings it brings good luck wherever it is grown. And, it is likewise a beautiful plant.

The best part is you’re able to choose how many stalks there are In your plant.

But, before you go out and get one, do research the meaning of the different number of stalks. Some numbers are better than others.

Of course, there are bamboo plants with more intricate designs as the stalks can the “bent” while growing to form all sorts of shapes and designs. Unfortunately, the more complex the look, the most costly the plant. Don’t be surprised to see lucky bamboos that cost way over $100 if they’re very intricately designed.


Money Tree

money tree

If you want to bring more prosperity and success to your studies, try out the money plant.

While originating from Central and South America, it ultimately became popular in Taiwan where it is used in Feng Shui to bring positive energy and good fortune to homes and offices.

As such, you’ll see the plant grown in many places of work, especially those related to money like banks.


Cacti and Succulents

Cacti and Succulents

Cactus are a great option for indoors because there are so many variations to choose from. If you want something with more character and can vary significantly in the way they look, try succulents.

Between them, you’ll easily have a least a few hundred to choose from.

These are grouped together because they’re very similar. They both have thick fleshy leaves which store water.

Thus, they drought tolerant which reduces the plant maintenance you need to do as a student.

Additionally, they don’t require pruning or need to be repot often.




Snake Plant

Snake Plant

The snake plant is sometimes known as the mother-in-law’s tongue. That’s because its long stiff, foliage can resemble the harsh tongue of your mom in law.

But, that’s as far as the analogy goes.

The plant itself is stunningly unique as its long, sword-like leaves stand upright. They have s distinct dark green color with yellow borders. Once you see them, you’ll never forget what they look like.

Snake plants are another resilient plant that can tolerate a lot of neglect. They do well in low light conditions which many dorms have with the lack of sunlight and large windows.




Orchids are beautiful. And, they come in different varieties. But, more than anything, it is their flowers that make them a popular plant.

That said, you do need to know how to care for your orchid so that they’ll produce their lovely colors.

One of the most important aspects is to let their roots breathe. Most orchids are epiphytes. As such, they cling on trees and other plants in their native environments. So, you don’t need a pot to grow them in.

If you do choose to go with a container, pick one that allows air to easily flow through it to reach the roots.

Orchids also love lots of light, albeit indirect sunlight. Make sure to keep them in humid conditions and wet them every so often. Since they come from rainforests, they’re used to conditions that are not dry.




Ferns rank among the best plants for dorms because they add wonderful green color. Best of all, there are tons of different ferns to choose from. Each of them having distinct characteristics and looks.

That said, while they are easy to care for, you still need to give them the essentials to keep them happy.

These including sufficient lighting, never allowing them to completely dry, feeding them and keeping conditions humid.

Once you have these in our routine, your ferns will be easy to care for.


Peace Lily

Peace Lily

Peace lilies are an amazing combination of gorgeous foliage along with a stunning flower. In most cases, you only get one. But in this case, while its blooms are the ultimate star of the show, you can’t deny that its large unique looking leaves are eye catching as well.

The most popular peace lilies are white. Although, you can get yellow colored ones as well if you prefer something different.

These only grow up to 3 feet tall indoors. Outside, they can get to twice the size. They bloom during the spring and enjoy tropical conditions which makes them well-suited for growing indoors.


Spider Plant

Spider Plant

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Don’t let the scary name intimidate you. Spider plants are only named as such because of the way their leaves extend out like the legs of a spider. But, the plant itself does not resemble the arachnid.

Instead, what you get is a beautiful foliage plant that produces long, thin foliage that grow in an arch shape. These come in light green color with white variegations.

The best thing about spider plants is that they are very versatile and very easy to grow indoors.

They are not fussy about light and will thrive in bright, indirect lighting. But, they’ll likewise do well in low light conditions.

It is likewise important to keep them in well-draining potting mix and never overwater them. Too much water will eventually cause them to struggle.




In case you want to add some lovely colors to your dorm room, the bromeliad is a great choice. They come in a wide array of colors allowing you to select the one you like.

Among the common colors you can choose from include, orange, pink, red, purple, yellow and green.

As with most things pretty, these require more care than some of the others in our list of best plants for dorms. The good news is, they adapt well to indoor conditions, in part because they’re tropical in nature.

Among the most important things to consider when caring for bromeliads is giving them ample bright, indirect sunlight. Fast draining soil is likewise essential as most of them are epiphytic. Although, you can opt for the terrestrial ones to reduce this issue.


Heart Leaf Philodendron

Heart Leaf Philodendron

As its name suggests, the heartleaf philodendron is known for its heart-shaped leaves. These make this vining plant stunning to look at as the stems get longer.

And, much like other philodendrons, it is loved by houseplant owners because it adapts well to indoor conditions.

It will tolerate low light but will grow at its best given bright indirect light. Similarly, while it thrives when it has moist, soil it can withstand short periods of dryness as well. The most important thing about it is that you don’t overwater it, which is less of a problem with busy college students.


ZZ Plant

ZZ Plant

Image from Wikimedia Commons

The ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) is a popular houseplant because it does not require a lot of maintenance. More importantly, it can handle a lot of neglect.

In fact, some people would call it nearly indestructible.

This makes it perfect for dorms which often don’t get a lot of light. Similarly, college students are always busy chasing after deadlines and loaded with course work. So, watering and other regular chores go by the wayside when things get hectic.

That said, the ZZ plant is a lovely plant with beautiful oval-shaped leaves line up across its both sides of its stems.

It only grows up to 3 or 4 feet high. But, you can easily prune it to keep it smaller

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