By Elizabeth Fulcher – Horizon News & Feature Editor
Meet Aloebert, the aloe plant living in Kytrena Hightree’s dorm. He doesn’t require much sunlight, so he gets more than enough as he hangs just inside her second-floor window in Erb Hall. Aloebert is also very helpful when it comes to treating mosquito bites, dry skin or sunburns.
Hightree got her aloe plant a couple of weeks before school so she could decorate her dorm room. And just in the last couple of months, Aloebert is thriving.
“He grows very fast and he’s not hard to take care of at all,” Hightree said. “I give him ¼ cup water once a week.”
Sarah Miller, sophomore, has not had the same luck. Miller has a a small orchid that sits on her windowsill, and with her room facing east, one could expect the plant to do well.
“Apparently, orchids require a lot more attention than I was ready to give,” Miller said. “It needs water daily, which I have not done. I treat it like a succulent which is obviously a bad idea because it has not survived!”
Miller had her plant for a few weeks before coming to Hesston.
“Honestly, my mom was a saint and took care of my orchid when I was at home,” she said. “I wasn’t prepared to take care of it, so, I unfortunately let it die.”
The basic necessities for a plant may seem pretty simple. You need a pot, enough soil, water and sunlight. But like Miller found out, a lot of plants are fussier than Aloebert. Will plants get the care they need while living in a college dorm room?
According to Kirby Martin, the owner of Stone Creek Nursery for plants, maybe not. After all, it’s all about picking the right ones.
A former Hesston College graduate, Martin knows all about the struggle to keep a plant in the dorms.
But he has an answer: Succulents, drought-resistant plants with fleshy leaves that can hold up to even the most negligent students.
Succulents are easy to grow and don’t require a ton of water or sunlight. They come in all shapes, forms, sizes and colors, and they won’t grow out of their pot quickly.
Martin likes them because they can be mixed and matched, which Stone Creek likes to display and promote as gifts.
“We’ll gather some together and display them in different pots,” Martin said. “If you’re going to have a plant in your dorm, these are the ones to have.”