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Plants are the perfect way to brighten up any room in an apartment or house. Since they don’t require as much attention as pets, plants are a great minor responsibility for a busy college student. However, it can be tricky to decide what kind of plant is best for your living space.

Buying your first plant can feel like a big commitment — you’re bringing a living thing home! How do you know which plant to pick?

According to Serra Jaggar, owner of Indie South, a good first plant is a snake plant or pothos. Indie South specializes in its large plant selection, artisanal goods and tarot cards.

“They’re pretty hard to kill,” Jaggar said about the two plants. “A snake plant can go for weeks or sometimes months without any kind of water, and it’ll look exactly the same. Pothos need to be watered more regularly, but they’ll definitely show you when they’re feeling thirsty.”

If you have a pet, avoid purchasing the snake plant, as it can be toxic to cats and dogs.

If you don’t have access to a ton of sunlight, don’t worry. According to Jaggar, most tropical plants do not need direct sunlight.

“A lot of people have a misconception that if you have a lot of plants, you need a bright, sunny window,” Jaggar said. “That’s not necessarily true.”

Jaggar said tropical plants like snake plants, pothos and philodendrons do well in low to medium light. But if you have more light and feel ambitious, succulents such as euphorbias, cati and aloe plants thrive in direct sunlight.

One flaw for succulents that Jaggar noted is that most people over-water them, and they “don’t really show any issues until they’re dying.”

Air plants have been rising in popularity, and they can be placed anywhere. One misconception is that air plants do not need any water. While some air plants are fine to just be misted instead of watered, Jaggar said most air plants need to be fully soaked in water every 10-14 days and then thoroughly drained to remain healthy.

While picking a plant can seem daunting, there are some plants that thrive without needing too much attention. Set up the proper watering schedule and be rewarded by watching your plant thrive.


This article originally was published in the 2020 edition of our special publication Student Housing Athens, GA.