5 houseplants to spruce up your spring – no green thumb needed

Mateo Grasso

green air plants in a clear glass terrarium with rocks
Air plants look lovely in glass terrariums just like this one. Photo credit: Kelly Peterson

Keeping house plants have myriad benefits. From purifying the air in your room to reducing stress levels to making it at least look as if you have it together, it is no wonder that houseplants are a staple decoration in college bedrooms and dorms. With the arrival of spring, many students might be looking to liven up their rooms with some greenery. Here are the five plants best suited for beginners to get you started growing at home:

1. Sansevieria  

The sansevieria, also known as the “snake plant” or “mother-in-law’s tongue,” is a great starter plant that does not require a ton of experience in botany to keep alive.

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“These guys like to be stressed out between watering, so they love to go dry,” Gulley Greenhouse and Garden Center employee and botanist Lo Simon said. “We actually water ours about once a month.”

This means that even the most forgetful plant parent will have a hard time withering this plant. On top of being drought-resistant, these plants are also not picky about the amount of sunlight they receive and require virtually no extra care apart from watering.

2. Zamioculcas zamiifolia 

This plant, also known as the ZZ plant or the Zanzibar Gem, is another plant that is perfect for those of us without green thumbs. Much like the sansevieria above, the ZZ plant thrives on neglect. Simon said the plant’s watering schedule is also once a month, and it is well suited for low-light conditions — so students living in dim, north-facing dorms can breathe a sigh of relief. 

3. Crassula ovata

It seems like succulents have captured the hearts and eyes of college students, and crassula ovata, or the jade plant — with its thick, fleshy leaves — is no exception. This plant is a step up from the previous two in terms of ease-of-care since they are not quite as forgiving with watering. Like many succulents, the jade plant requires a lot of sunlight, so a south-facing or west-facing window is a must.

4. Peperomia

If you love the look of succulents but don’t quite have the direct sunlight needed to grow them, then the peperomia may be what you’re looking for. Peperomia plants look like succulents with thick, waxy leaves and stems but aren’t quite as high-maintenance.

Instead, peperomias are “more resilient plants, but you’re looking at more frequent watering with those guys as well as moderate lighting conditions,” Simon said.

5. Maranta leuconeura

If you have house pets, you may want to consider maranta leuconeura, or the prayer plant, as your houseplant of choice. Unlike other plants on this list, the prayer plant is nontoxic. Still fairly simple to care for, the prayer plant is tolerant of low-light conditions but prefers indirect sunlight and warm environments.

To find these potted pals, plant essentials and helpful botanists, be sure to visit Gulley Greenhouse and Garden Center on South Shields Street. 

Mateo Grasso can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @mgrasso2001.