Are Succulents Good For College Dorms? Your Questions Answered

As somebody who found their love of succulents after being given one for my college dorm, I thought I’d buy my nephew a jade plant before he went off to college. The problem was that when I gave it to him he didn’t really understand why I was giving him a plant (after all he wanted to spend his spare time partying rather than looking after plants), which is why I decided to write this article. I wanted to explain why a succulent or two in your college dorm room can be so beneficial, not just for your physical and mental well-being but also for your grades.

Succulents are perfect for college dorms, in part because they add a touch of color and are extremely low maintenance. On top of that, they will purify the air, produce oxygen, improve your concentration, and boost your mood. They can even help you to get better grades.

What are the benefits of having succulents in your dorm room?

Regardless of whether you’re looking for something to brighten up your college dorm room, help you relax after a hard day studying, want something that can help you focus, or are just after a plant that makes a good talking point you can’t go wrong with a succulent.

In terms of brightening up a dull dorm room, you can’t go wrong with a bit of color but the benefits of succulents go way beyond their aesthetic appeal or the curiosity the spark, but before we even begin to look at why they will actually help you with your studies lets have a look at the other reasons why succulents are perfect for college dorm rooms.

To start with they tend to be small plants so won’t take up much space at all, regardless of whether you put them on a window sill or sit them next to your laptop. Then of course there’s the talking point, and let’s be honest succulents come in such a range of shapes, sizes, and even colors that you’ll easily find one that will have your friends intrigued. And of course, succulents are extremely forgiving plants so they will be more than happy if you forget to water them from time to time, in fact, they’ll probably thank you for it.

Okay, so what about the most important benefit of all (for college students at least), their ability to help you study? Well, these incredible, low-maintenance plants have a few cards up their sleeves when it comes to the benefits they offer. From cleaning the air to helping you to sleep better, feel less stressed and even boost your immune system they do it all! 

Succulents can help improve your concentration, memory and even help you sleep better

Cleaning the air

We don’t often think about the air that we breathe but the cleaner and purer the air is the better you’ll feel which means that you’ll be able to think clearer too. The trouble is that generally, the air indoors is full of harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that come from burning fuels, spray deodorants, and even cigarettes, but the amazing thing that succulents do is help to clean these nasties out of the air we breathe.

In fact, having just one succulent in your dorm room will help to remove around 80% of these toxins. Don’t take my word for it though, NASA carried out a study into the air-purifying qualities of plants and found that the many succulents did this tremendously well. [source]

Better sleep

They say that you can’t be the best version of yourself until you’ve had a good night’s sleep and this is even more important when you’re studying and preparing for important exams, but it’s something that succulents can definitely help with.

Unlike a lot of other plants that only produce oxygen during the day (producing carbon dioxide at night) most succulents give off oxygen 24/7. This means that your dorm room will always have plenty of oxygen to help you get a decent night’s sleep. 

Having trouble sleeping? How succulents can help you sleep better.

Reduce stress

I’m sure you’re thinking that plants can’t help to reduce your stress and anxiety at all but believe me, they can, and what’s more, there’s scientific evidence to back this up. The amazing thing though is that even looking at them can help you to destress and feel more relaxed.

A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology in 2015 found that simply looking at a plant reduced both psychological and physiological stress in young adults. They also found that touching or smelling the plant helped to reduce this even further. [source]

Having had a succulent with me while I was at college I can certainly vouch for this. I tend to be a tense, anxious person and was originally nervous about college but was surprised at how relaxed I felt most of the time. That was until I came across that study, now I completely understand why.

Still feeling stressed? How succulents lower your stress levels and reduce your anxiety.

Improve your health

I know it’s a pretty big claim to say that succulents can improve your health but they really can, as well as containing VOCs, our homes and dorms are often very dry places, with central heating, air conditioning, and closed windows all playing a part. While too much moisture and humidity in the air can obviously be a bad thing we do need some and that’s where succulents come into play. They release moisture into the air which helps to redress this balance.

But what’s this got to do with improving your health I hear you ask? The fact is that with the humidity being balanced the number of sore throats, colds, and dry coughs you get will be reduced. They can even help to keep the moisture in your skin so that it won’t be so dry either. Don’t believe me, the Agricultural University of Norway carried out research into the sickness rates of office workers. They found that after plants were introduced to the office sickness rates dropped by 60%. [source]


Oh, and did I mention their cost? Well to say they are pretty darn cheap is a huge understatement, while bigger succulents can obviously cost more, smaller plants can easily be bought for less than $5! With that in mind, what have you got to lose?

What are the disadvantages of having succulents in your dorm room?

In trying to write a balanced article about whether or not succulents are good for college dorm rooms I felt I had to write about the disadvantages of keeping them but I have to be honest and say I’m struggling to find any. They don’t require much care which is ideal for students, they’ll help to rid the air of nasties which again is something students can benefit from. Even if you suffer from allergies succulents are still a good choice as they don’t have spores or shed anything so are very hypoallergenic.

Do you suffer from allergies? Why succulents are a good option if you’re allergy-prone.

Okay, I’ve found one reason for not having a succulent in your dorm room and that is you don’t like plants at all, but then again I guess you wouldn’t be reading this article if that was the case. So there you go, there’s no disadvantage to having a succulent or two in your college dorm room.

Will succulents help me get better grades?

It would be great if just having a succulent in your college dorm room would give you better grades but it isn’t quite as simple as that. They will help you to get better grades but you’ll still need to do the work. So how do succulents help you to get better grades I hear you ask? While there’s no one simple answer there are a number of different things that they do, such as help improve your concentration and focus as well as boost your memory.

Succulents can help improve your grades

Concentration and focus

While having a succulent on your desk or on a nearby window sill might help you brighten your mood but you might be surprised to know that they can also help to improve your concentration and focus. While this might seem like a far-fetched claim there is some real science behind it and it’s all to do with the clean air and extra oxygen that succulents produce. This cleaner, more oxygen-rich air allows our brains to work better, faster, and in a more productive way, improving our concentration, attentiveness, brain capabilities, and even our productivity. All this extra brain power is exactly what you need when you’re finishing off your latest assignment or revising for that crucial exam. 


As well as improving your brain’s ability to learn, succulents can also help you to retain that information which is ideal when you’re studying. It’s not known for sure how this happens but a recent study carried out by the University of Michigan found that people who interacted with plants (regardless of whether you’re watering them, repotting them, touching them or even just looking at them) saw a 20% increase in their memory retention. I know that’s pretty impressive but what is really incredible is that this memory retention is after only spending an hour with the plants. [source]

Not sure how to care for your new succulent? A beginner’s guide to caring for your succulent.

What are the best succulents for dorm rooms?

As a general rule, you can’t really go wrong with succulents but that said there are a few that are better suited to college life.



One of the most common succulents, there are over 150 different varieties of echeveria so you’re bound to find the perfect plant for you. They’re compact, are happy living in the same pots as other succulents, and need virtually no nutrients.

Sedum Burro (Burro’s Tail)

Sedum Burro

Taking its name from the fact that they look like small donkey tails, the sedum burro is great for window sills or hanging baskets. They have trailing stems that can be real eye-catchers, that said though these are very delicate and can fall off if you move them around too much.

String of Pearls

String of Pearls

If you’ve ever looked at a succulent in a hanging basket and wondered if its flowing stems with spherical bulbs were real then chances are it was a string of pearl succulent. These unusual plants are easy to look after and will even tell you when they need watering – as soon as the bulbs start to pucker it’s time to water.

Zebra Cactus

Zebra Cactus

Despite its name, the zebra cactus isn’t a cactus but is actually a succulent that grows in small clumps. It has striped leaves that give the plant a prehistoric appearance. When it comes to care they’re one of the best succulents you can find because they literally require next to no care at all.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

If you’ve never heard of succulents before I’m sure you will have still heard of aloe vera and there’s good reason for that. As well as looking pretty they also have superpowers in that they can heal stings and burns, moisturize your skin, and are a delicious addition to a health drink. 

Jade Plant

Jade Plant

Often called a money tree, the jade plant is regularly given as a gift to promote wealth, success, and health. My first ever succulent (when I was away at college) was a jade plant so I can vouch for how good they are in college dorms. I always kept mine on the desk as it prefers indirect sunlight, but it also made me smile.

Snake Plant (Mother-In-Law’s Tongue)

Snake Plant

While this is a great plant to have in your dorm room (it’s on NASA’s ‘clean air plant’ list after all) it can grow up to 4 feet so it won’t be suitable for every dorm room.

I hope you found this article helpful. If you did I’d be grateful if you could share it please as it would really help me.

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