A Guide to Easy Dorm Plants

If you’re looking for a way to brighten up a dorm or a new hobby to fill up time between classes and homework, a houseplant might be just what you need. Taking care of plants isn’t as difficult as it may seem; many are low-maintenance, easy to care for, and capable of thriving in a dorm. 

When looking for dorm plants, two of the most important factors to consider are the light in your room and your schedule. Before buying a plant, you should assess your room and find out what kind of light you have. 

There are several terms used to describe the light plants need. Direct light is a place that is touched by sunlight, while indirect light is near but not in the path of the sun. 

Shade refers to an area without sunlight in any capacity. Once you know what kind of light is in your room, you can find a plant that fits your space. 

To be a successful plant parent, you also have to know yourself: will you stick to a consistent watering schedule, or should you look for a plant that’s a little lower maintenance? Once you know what to look for, finding the perfect plant can be simple. 

Here are four suggestions for easy, dorm-room-friendly plants.

Spider Plant

These plants are basically an infinite houseplant glitch. They can thrive in almost any light conditions and require regular watering. One of the most distinctive features of the spider plant is the long arms they grow. With proper care, the leaves can hang over the side of the pot and produce small white flowers and baby spider plants that you can break off and propagate to grow even more plants!


Is your dorm looking a little boring? Pothos’s long, trailing foliage is perfect to drape over the side of your dresser, desk, or kitchen cabinet. They require low to medium direct light and should be watered when the soil is dry. This allows for some wiggle room if you forget to water them. These plants can grow cascading stems that look far more impressive than the effort you put in!

English Ivy

If your direct light is already taken by other plants, an English Ivy might be the perfect plant for you. This gorgeous trailing ivy requires partial to full shade. It needs regular watering, but the effort is worth it to see your ivy plant grow its long tendrils and fill your space. This plant may not be the best choice for pet owners, however, as it is toxic if ingested.

ZZ Plant

If you kill every plant you’ve had, the ZZ plant (short for Zamioculcas Zamiifolia) might be the one for you. ZZ plants require partial to full shade and should be allowed to dry out between waterings. The best part? This plant grows up to 4 feet tall, making it a gorgeous and low-maintenance statement piece for your dorm. 

As you start on your houseplant journey, be sure to look into what each individual plant needs. It can help to select pots with drainage holes and fertilize your plants every few months, as houseplants quickly go through the nutrients in their soil. Getting to know your local plant store is wonderful, as the knowledgeable people there can recommend the best plants for your space and give you advice on any plant problems you might have. 

Virginia Beach’s The Plant House is a local store with incredible plant and pot options, as well as fun workshops and events. Plants breathe life into even the most drab dorms and can go beyond just decoration to become an enjoyable and fulfilling hobby.