Saturday, February 16th, 2008...3:36 pm

Plants That Brighten Up The Dorm Room


TheGardenLady received this question from Chance.

I’m going off to university next school year, and I’d like to grow something in my dorm room (hopefully organically) to brighten things up.  I’d like to have something I can throw on salads or sandwiches and something else that’s a bit bigger (maybe flowering?)  I’m not too hot on having a bunch of vines, though…

TheGardenLady is so pleased to hear from so many college students or college bound students who plan on having plants in their dorm rooms. Nothing can be lovelier.

Because of the questions about appropriate plants that grow in dorm rooms, please let TheGardenLady direct her readers to the archives. Many plants that grow well indoors have been suggested and discussed in earlier posts.

For example What Flowering Plant is Good to Grow in a Dorm Room?. The plants mentioned in this column are favorite indoor plants like Amaryllis and paperwhite narcissus that are easy for the busy student to try.

Another column for students is Growing Plants In Your Dorm Room.  And if you want to have edible plants, consider herbs that you can read about in Indoor Herb Gardens.  If you consider parsley, think Italian parsley, Petroselinum crispum var. neapolitanum.  But remember ALL herbs need lots of sunlight or grow lights to shine on the plants for a long time – maximum is 6 hours for optimum growth and herb taste. Some plants will take 4 or 5 hours of sunlight or growth light, but for best results check the seed packet to be sure of the minimum amount of light the herb needs.

Besides the columns that are specifically for dorm rooms there are other columns for plants that are hardy for indoors or are easy to raise that can be used in the dorms.

Remember some plants, like herbs, like lots of sun and some plants like shadier locations. Another thing to consider when growing plants indoors is the temperature in the room. Some plants like warm places and other plants like cooler rooms or warmth in the day and coolness at night. So when choosing a plant, try to find the specific needs of the plant and then check your dorm room to see how bright or how warm the room is. Many dorm rooms are kept extremely warm so that cooler loving plants will be unhappy.

One very lovely and edible plant that might do well in your dorm room is the ornamental pepper. The fall semester might be a better time to start ornamental peppers or to buy ornamental pepper plants because the fruits come out around Christmas time. These peppers will be fun for your dorm because of the variety of colors now being bred- many at the New Mexico State University. Other sites about the ornamental pepper are:
ornamental pepper and the Christmas pepper.  See here and here for how to grow instructions.

One suggestion of a plant that TheGardenLady has not written about for the dorm room is the Easter Cactus. You can not only have a lovely flowering plant, but you can now become the authority to teach your classmates and even your teachers how to tell the difference among the Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter cactus.  See here or here.

Easter Cactus is Cactaceae Hatiora gaertneri – one synonym is Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri ‘Crimson Giant’ or ‘Rainbow’ or Rhipsalidopsis rosea, Rose Easter Cactus.  Two websites are here and here.

So after reading TheGardenLady archives and checking out the sites in this blog, please let the readers know what flowers or plants you finally chose. A photo of the plant/s would be lovely.

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  • Thanks so much for the help. I’ll probably go with an Easter cactus and the peppers. Depending on which way my room faces, I might try some herbs for good measure, or stick with bean sprouts for sandwiches.

  • I have a variety of plants growing in my on-campus apartment at college. I especially enjoy my Christmas cactus and Crown of Thorns. I love the ornamental pepper idea, however; I’d finally have a plant that is also culinarily useful!

  • hey gardenlady- love love LOVE your blog. I’m just starting my gardening hobby and I’ve got lots to catch up on.

    Our kids just released newly hatched praying mantis in the garden last week.

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