With fall fast approaching, many students will be preparing their move-in essentials, and among them should be at least a plant or two to keep both their living space and body healthy.
Having living things other than yourself in your residence or home can go a long way for mental health throughout the school year. Many enjoy the company of pets, but because most apartments and dorms don’t allow animals, this is often not a viable solution for students. One way to bring life to your space is to keep a houseplant.
Aside from the emotional benefits of watching your hard work turn into plant growth, there are many houseplant options that will care for you just as much as you care for them. From culinary uses to air quality, there are many ways students can benefit from their houseplants.
Starting off this list is aloe vera, a plant well known for the use of its gel in soothing burns on the skin. Despite a long use in medicine and cosmetics, modern studies are inconclusive as to whether aloe vera gel actually aids healing. Nevertheless, aloe vera and other succulents like it are still a good choice for busy or forgetful students, as they require little watering.
Cut flowers also require little care, with the understanding that they will inevitably die because they have been cut from their roots. In fact, flowers of any kind make for an easy way to beautify a space without much commitment.
A benefit of all plant life is its ability to take carbon dioxide and convert it into breathable oxygen. In this process many plants are also capable of removing harmful chemicals from the air, a fact proven by a 1989 study conducted by NASA to find a way to filter air in space stations. The study provides a long list of plants, including the peace lily and the florist’s chrysanthemum, that remove toxins such as benzene and formaldehyde from the air.
While not everyone is concerned about dangerous chemicals in the air, the fact that plants are capable of such feats is an example of the difference they can make to your air quality. Students often find themselves living in older buildings because they cost less, but with age may come concerns for air quality or simply a desire to freshen the air of your the living space. Plants can make for a much easier and cheaper solution than an air filtration system.
Many herbs and vegetables can also be grown indoors, making a quick addition to any culinary endeavour. Thyme, dill, basil, chives and more can be used for seasoning in a variety of meals. Harvesting and storage methods can vary for each herb, so be sure to research specific herbs when you choose them to ensure quality.
Vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, spinach and lettuce can be grown in pots, but as with all plants, it is important to make sure that your residence or home has enough room and sunlight to guarantee a bountiful harvest. Not only will growing your own vegetables encourage healthier meals, but it can also save money and a trip to the grocery store.
From food to air filter to decoration, plants can fill many roles in a student’s life. When choosing any plant, it is important to consider the time and space that you are able to give it. Growing an indoor garden can be a rewarding experience, but it is only accomplished with lots of time, which most students do not have. However, taking care of plants is certainly possible if you ensure that you have enough time to care for them.
Photo: Jiem Carlo Narag/Photo Editor