9 Dorm Plants For The Busy College Student

Plants are an amazing way to brighten your dorm room and add a little greenery. They go with pretty much every type of dorm decor, too. I’ve also always loved having plants to take care of, and their air-purifying qualities are a huge plus! This post is about 9 hard-to-kill dorm plants for the busy college student.

Did you know that indoor plants have been linked to reducing psychological stress in young adults? Less stress in college = yes, please.

9 dorm plants for college students

College students are busy. I’ve been through those four fun, yet grueling years! When you’re not in classes or studying, you’re out making memories with your friends. This is why I’ve compiled a list of nine hard-to-kill plants that are perfect for college students.

Related: 16 Boho Dorm Room Ideas That You’ll Love

Here are 9 dorm plants for the busy college student:

1. Snake Plant

snake plant dorm plants


Every 2-4 weeks, depending on your soil mix and room environment. Soil should be completely dry in between watering.


Bright, indirect sunlight. Grows well (but, slowly) in shady corners, too! Direct sunlight will burn the leaves.

Snake plants are one of the best plants. They have great air-purifying qualities, and are practically impossible to kill. These plants, with their deep green leaves and light highlights, are also super cute for your room. You can get them in all different sizes, so they work on both desks and floors. I have one for my quarantining home office desk, and a ton in my backyard!

2. Cactus

cactus dorm plants


Every 1-2 weeks, but can definitely go longer.


Bright, direct sunlight. Will grow fine in indirect sunlight.

I had a little cactus in college, and it kept me company for 4 years. Due to COVID-19, I left it in my apartment when I moved back home with my parents to quarantine. It’s still there, sadly 🙁

These plants are SO hardy. They’ll deal with anything. You can go a month or two without watering. It’ll grow just fine without that much sunlight, either. Can’t really go wrong with this one.

3. Succulent

succulent dorm plants


Once a week. A little water each time will do.


Bright, indirect sunlight. Direct morning sunlight is great, but direct afternoon sunlight will burn the plant.

In general, succulents are a great family of plants for college students. They’re small, making them easy to move around, and look great in mason jars.

My friends and I had a couple of succulents that we took care of together. We put them up on the windowsill in our dorm suite and they looked so cute!

4. Fern

fern dorm plants


Once a week. Prefers moist soil. Easy to revive if you forget.


Shaded, dappled light. Indirect sunlight.

There are many different species of ferns. The Boston fern is very popular! They’re quite leafy, and can add some green volume to an empty or drab dorm room. It’s a lot more green real estate than a succulent for your room!

Ferns can be a more demanding dorm plant than the others in this list, but I added them here because they’re so easy to revive.

5. Pothos

pothos dorm plants


Every 1-2 weeks, but can definitely go longer. Water thoroughly, then wait for soil to dry before next watering.

Can also plant in a jar of water.


Bright, indirect sunlight. Will grow fine in shaded areas (slowly).

Another plant that is famously hard to kill! Pothos is a trailing plant, though it doesn’t grow fast enough to be overwhelming. Surprisingly easy to propagate and share with friends (just stick the cuttings in a bottle of water).

You can either grow this plant in soil, or in used glass jars of water! I have a few of these myself, and love how they look. Just imagine a pothos trailing off the side of your bookshelf or desk!

6. Zanzibar Gem

zanzibar gem plant


Every 2-3 weeks. Better to under-water than over-water (which may lead to stem and rhizome rot).


Indirect sunlight, and shaded corners. Avoid direct sunlight.

The glossy, waxy leaves of this plant are sure to add a beautiful look to your dorm room. This plant is easy to care for, and what’s better than a plant that prefers to be under-watered than over-watered?

The leaves contain oxalate crystals, so you do want to make sure you wash your hands after handling this plant. And don’t ingest it, obviously. This isn’t a very huge problem, and hasn’t kept it from being a very popular house plant.

7. Aloe Vera

aloe vera


Every 3 weeks. Water thoroughly, but infrequently.


Direct sunlight. Will tolerate and grow fine in indirect sunlight.

This is a plant that can come in handy if you’ve got sunburns or are in the mood for a facial! I had one of these growing up, and I would open the leaves and rub it over my cheeks after a day at the beach. It was super helpful after sitting in the sun all day.

Aloe vera is easy to care for, and you don’t have to water it often, either. They look pretty cute in a simple little pot.

8. Spider Plant

spider plant


Once a week. Thoroughly water, and let soil dry before next watering.


Bright, indirect sunlight. Avoid direct sunlight. Will grow fine in shaded areas.

My freshman year roommate had this as her dorm plant, and it was a great addition to our room. We kept it on the shelf a few feet away from the windows. It didn’t get a crazy amount of sunlight there and still grew quite a bit. She watered it a little every week, and it was going strong all year.

It’s also a nice, leafy plant that will bring a bit of light green to brighten up your room!

9. String of Pearls

string of pearls dorm plant example


Every 2 weeks. Water thoroughly and let dry between watering.


Bright, indirect sunlight. Avoid direct afternoon sunlight, since it burns easily.

The string of pearls is quite tolerant to under-watering, since it’s a succulent! It’s a subtle-looking plant with quite an interesting look to it. This is also a trailing plant that can grow to hang over your bookshelf or desk. It’s pretty small, making it easy to move around.

I hope you’ve found this list helpful. I had a few dorm plants in college, and I loved the bit of natural greenery that they brought to my room.

Related: 9 Things You Have To Know Before College

Here are 19 dorm wall decor ideas that could go great with your dorm plants!

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