If you poke your head into any number of female dorm rooms on campus, you can see windowsills populated with plants. Succulents have stolen the limelight as one of the most popular plants on campuses across the country.
The question is why? What makes succulents so popular among college students? What do they provide?
According to the Illinois Extension and a survey conducted by Garden Center Magazine, succulents have been rising in popularity since 2007 and accounted for 15% of garden sales in the Midwest in 2017. Another article by Turtle Leaf gave a possible explanation for why this group of plants is on the rise: “With many young people moving to cities and working long hours, a plant that requires minimal care is something we can all agree makes sense.”
Senior Bree Hodnefield sees the benefits of owning succulents, as she said, “They are so low-maintenance and make for cute, easy room décor. They are simple but can be dressed up with a cute pot. It gives me something to love on and point my attention toward.”
Hodnefield also enjoys the fun bit of responsibility they bring to her everyday life.
Succulents are without a doubt one of the easiest groups of plants to care for, given their diminished need for water and provision. A college dorm windowsill provides an adequate amount of light for these plants, so all a college student needs to successfully grow a succulent is a little bit of time and some water here and there.
Succulents are great ways to bring light and life to your dorm room and give students a sense of accomplishment in keeping these plants alive. They also can build community.
A technique called propagating involves taking small cuttings of your pre-existing succulent plant in order to form a new one. These small cuttings can be given to friends, wing mates or used to expand your own little dorm garden.
Senior Libby Ven Huizen said they add something “whole and good and green” to a dorm room.
Succulents are also relatively inexpensive and can be found at many greenhouses or even at Walmart.
There are plenty of other benefits to having succulents in your dorm besides bringing some life into a small, dingy room.
In research done by NASA, succulents have been shown to purify and humidify the air around them by removing formaldehyde, trichloroethane, benzene and other pollutants from the air and replacing them with breathable oxygen. Succulents, along with other houseplants, help purify the air simply by being alive.
Psychology research done at the University of Michigan shows that there are also cognitive benefits to having plants in your dorm room, as interacting with nature can improve memory retention. In turn, having succulents in your dorm room will help you retain more knowledge as you’re studying for that big test.
Northwestern’s dorm life has already been impacted by succulents. Sophomore Alexandra Breitkreutz enjoys having succulents and other houseplants in her dorm room on campus.
“I love the green they bring,” she said. “And it is a living thing that brings life into your room.”
Given all these benefits, it’s easy to see how succulents have taken over college dorm life around the country.
Succulents add an expressive pop of color and a little bit of natural style to your dorm room, and for those who don’t have a green thumb, they’re an easy way to grow God’s creation.