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House plants are a great investment for students

Not only will they help you establish some form of routine, but they are a fantastic way to liven up your first flat with a bit of colour and, of course, helps with biodiversity and improves the air quality of the room – wins all round!

Here are some great first additions for newbies:

Spider Plant

1. Spider Plant

              • Pet-Friendly
              • Hard to kill
              • Air Purifying
              • Cheap

Life Expectancy and spread: 8 years, 0.7m in both height & width

Now this is a good investment! These plants can take a lot of mistreatment AND produce stolons (or runners) that you can separate and replant! Water once the top third of the soil becomes dry (you can feel the pot’s weight for confirmation). Situate in a bright, indirect setting with a good level of humidity, and you’re all set!


2. Sansevieri

              • Hard to kill
              • Air Purifying
              • Easily Propagated Via Leaf Cuttings

Life Expectancy & Spread: 15 years, up to 1m in height & 5m in width.

Another addition perfect for busy or forgetful students! These plants are equipped for long periods without water and neglect. They are versatile and can accommodate most levels of light. Just remember to avoid temperatures below 12°C and too much sunlight in the summer!


3. Cacti

              • Cheap
              • Hard to kill
              • (Mostly) Pet-friendly (with tropical cacti)

A classic! Desert Cacti absolutely the easiest to cultivate. Just be careful not to overwater! To give your cacti the best chance, place it somewhere where it’ll get some good morning or evening sun. Further, if you’re looking for some flowers in the spring, reduce the temperature around the plant to 12°C over the winter to reinforce it’s dormant stage. Tropical Cacti come in all shapes and some can reach around 1.5 metres high! (Maybe not the choice for your student halls…). Unlike their desert cousins, moist soil and a sheltered spot away from direct sunlight are vital for effective growth – this means a slightly cooler location over the autumn and winter months. Your love and attention will be rewarded with a yearly bloom and splash of colour!

False Shamrock

4. False Shamrock

              • Easy to care for

Life Expectancy & Spread: 10 years, up to 0.5m in height & width.

This butterfly-shaped plant is a pretty addition to any living room. This plant is nyctinastic, which means the leaves and flowers fold up during the night. All you have to do is keep the soil evenly moist and a spot with bright but indirect light to keep it happy.

Swiss Cheese Plant

5. Swiss Cheese Plant

              • Easy to care for

Spread: 2m in height

For a splash of green in your bedroom, the swiss cheese plant is both interesting to look at and reliable and fast-growing – just like the Dracaena plant! All it needs is regular moist soil and a cane for support once it gets a bit bigger, and you’ll have a fully grown extra flat mate within a few years.

Blog by:

Erin McCusker

Glasgow University