Houseplants can quickly liven up a living space

A Kalanchoe plant.

By Isabella Jackson

Choose houseplants either because they are low-maintenance or because of their unique look.

Kwok said that succulents and cacti are some of the most suitable houseplants for students because they are some of the easiest to take care of. But spider plant, jade, snake plant, and bamboo are all popular species of house plants. For students that want to take on a more care-intensive plant, orchids are a beautiful addition to any living space.

Plant the houseplant in a pot that has good drainage, generally one with holes in the bottom.

Kwok recommended placing a saucer under the pot to keep the water that drains through the holes contained.

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Place plants in an area that gets good sunlight, air circulation and humidity.

Trial and error is sometimes the best way to determine which location will be the best for your plant. Kwok said even the best horticulturists will occasionally kill plants, so students should not get too discouraged.

Plants will grow toward the closest source of light, so if the plant is looking leggy or spindly, it may not be getting enough sunlight.

Kwok said that a south-facing window will receive the best amount of sunlight. A student in a residence hall room with limited natural light may want to invest in grow lights for their plants.

Water the plants until the excess water drains out of the bottom of the pot, and then remove the water from the saucer in about an hour.

Houseplants need watering, but most plants would like to dry out before being watered again to avoid being overwatered. The water requirements will vary depending on the type of plants.

Having good soil in the pot is also necessary for healthy plants.

Good topsoil will help plants grow, but sometimes additives and adjustments can help certain types of plants that prefer more acidic soil flourish.

Students can purchase houseplants at local businesses or right on campus.

According to Kwok, Plant Mode in downtown Champaign has a good selection of plants, especially for students looking to make a terrarium, which is a clear globe with plants growing on the inside. Danville Gardens, although farther away at 1413 N. Prospect Ave., Champaign, has a very large selection of plants.

The Department of Plant Biology and the Horticulture Club both have plant sales on campus multiple times throughout the year.

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