Plants are unique decorations that pay off in other ways besides aesthetics. Besides improving the air quality -- and the overall smell -- of a room, plants create a calming environment that's perfect for hardworking students. But having a plant does require a little responsibility, so make sure you choose one that will definitely pay off!
The perfect dorm plants are tough enough to tolerate low light and water levels (just in case), and won't grow too big for an already cramped room. Check out our list of the best dorm room plants to decide which is right for you!
Dwarf Lemon Tree
It doesn't at first seem logical to put a tree in such a notoriously cramped space, but a dwarf lemon tree can work in many dorm rooms. The trees can grow up to six feet tall in good conditions, so they might require a bit of pruning to keep them to a reasonable size. But it's worth the effort for the gorgeous yellow lemons that come all year and delicious citrus smell! Water your tree enough to keep the soil moist, and mist the leaves daily so they don't dry out. Keep it by a window for optimal sunlight, and give it fertilizer once a month. Make sure to put it in a pot that allows for drainage and air flow to the roots. You can purchase dwarf lemon trees online or grow them from seedlings, if you don't mind waiting seven or eight years before it bears fruit.
It's the hour before your chemistry final, and you're nervous to the point of nausea as you pour over your notes one last time. For an easy, natural and healthy way to relieve the stress, look to mint. Crush or chew on a mint leaf to emit a strong aroma that can calm nerves, ease nausea and sore throats and freshen breath by killing germs. Mint comes in a lot of varieties (may we suggest chocolate mint?) and is very easy to grow! Put plants in a moist, well-drained pot and make sure they get plenty of sunlight all year. Mint is widely available and can be purchased in pots or as seeds.
Lavender plants are colorful, fragrant and a great way to freshen up a dorm room. To spread the yummy lavender scent around the room, you can dry out flowers to make sachets for drawers and closets. Lavender plants like sun and air, so try to put them next to an open window or a fan. Keep your plant in sandy soil that drains well -- the roots rot easily in standing water. Buy lavender plants at nurseries or online.
Consider your aloe vera plant your own personal pharmacy -- at least for skin irritations like sunburns. Just break open a leaf and squeeze out some liquid for instant relief! Aloe vera plants are perfect for rooms that don't get much sunlight (the leaves start to turn brown if they're in the sun too long), and don't require much watering. Try to buy mature plants. It's an easy plant to maintain that can help you out in a pinch! You won't have any trouble finding aloe vera where plants are sold.
African violets are the perfect dorm room flower. They're small enough to fit on a windowsill, don't require much water and can grow in a variety of temperatures. And the flower isn't just known for its beauty, it's also known to clean the air of pollutants to leave you with a healthier indoor environment! Buy African violet plugs at local nurseries or online.
Successfully taking care of a cactus is one of those out-of-the-classroom tests that helps you discover a little more about yourself. In this case, if it dies you'll know you're less nurturing than a desert. The only basic guideline: don't overwater. Cactus plants are very easy to find -- check your local grocery or hardware store. By the way, the jury is still out whether placing a cactus in front of your computer can protect you from electromagnetic fields.
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