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Breathe, breathe in the air… and get a plant, you O’Hare

Liv Klassen

Hello and welcome to your 20s! You’ve been shipped off to college, have started growing into someone that actually kinda resembles your truest form and you’re decorating your dorm for what could be the first time. Dorms can be such depressing spaces without artwork, but what if we added a little spice? Maybe something that you can be responsible for keeping alive? Plants! You can fill your 10×10 space with adorable living things that will give you many joys for years to come! Great, now that we’ve decided to decorate with plants, how do we keep them alive in our 10×10?


First: Choosing the right plants for your space!

         How much light do you get in your room? Are you in a north, east, south or west facing window? The best way I can help you without physically showing up with a compass and telling you what to do is that if your windows face Forrest Avenue you’re north, 25th Street is almost due east, University Avenue is south, and 31st Street is west. If you have a north facing window, you’re going to want to get plants that tolerate and need low light, and I wish you the best of luck. Maybe even invest in some fake plants to keep you happy as you try to get something to grow. North facing windows are the worst for most common houseplants because there is no direct sun reaching it at any point of the day. If you’re in east or west facing windows, get plants that tolerate medium to high light. East and west windows get their direct sunlight times when the sun is rising and setting, so most tropical plants will thrive in the morning and afternoon sun. If you have a south facing window, you’ve hit plant parent gold! South facing windows can house virtually any plant without any major problems. They get sun for almost the whole day without any direct sunlight, which if not managed well can actually burn the plant.


Next: getting comfortable with your plants!

         Much like any pet, a plant should get at least a good Google search and strong consideration of the proper care before purchase. Some really beautiful beginner plants are pothos, snake plants, spider plants and dragon trees. Make sure you can take care of it and have the proper growing conditions for it, because there’s nothing worse than falling in love with a plant and then bringing it home to die. The more you Google, the more information you have that you can use to make better judgments if and when something goes awry in your plant care.


After making your decision and your purchase:

         Bring home your plant and marvel in its green wonder! Now, if you have any other plants, separate them for about two weeks. This is what we call a plant quarantine, it is best to get into this practice before you have a large collection of plants. Quarantining plants can prevent the spread of pests from one plant to another – most pests can severely damage the plant.

Remember, you can never have too many plants – keep experimenting and diving into the lore of each plant. If you’re really lost, there are several planty Facebook advice groups full of plant experts who are willing to help you out. 

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