The Rectory Plant Guide

“Silky Blue Cornflower” by tdlucas5000 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Nowadays, nearly everything people are tying in a dorm room involves electronics. So, here’s a new idea for what to do on a Saturday morning when you don’t have your technology: growing plants.

The good thing about this hobby is that everybody can start growing plants. Yes, some people are better than others, but there are unkillable cactuses and sturdy plants that can withstand anything. For people who want a challenge or a lifetime goal, there are some plants for you too.

Here are some starter, beginner, and intermediate plants and see an overview of how to care for them.

A good starter plant

The air plant is the best starter plant because it requires the least amount of maintenance to survive. It is a nice-looking plant if hung in the air with a transparent case and decorated with rocks and other ornaments.


  • Doesn’t need soil
  • Lenient watering
  • Put the plant on top of some water once a week
  • Very low chance for bugs
  • Looks nice


  • None!
“Air Plant (Tillandsia sp.)” by Esin Üstün is licensed under CC by 2.0

Some beginner plants
For beginners, buying a tree sapling or even growing one from an acorn is a great experience and practice. Spruce and oak trees are the best because they are common, easy to care for, and pretty.


  • Lenient watering
  • Water when the top of the soil is starting to get a little dry
  • Lives for a long time
  • Spruce trees: about 40 to 60 years depending on home conditions
  • Oak trees: about 150 to 300 years if cared for well
  • Easy to start growing
  • Get acorns from parks, streets, etc
  • Plant them in regular soil in the fall or spring
  • Put the acorns in pots if there is a root or a sprout coming out the top and bottom
  • Sturdy and strong
  • Trees tend to be very strong, withstanding heat, frost, and irregular watering


  • May have bug infestations in the warmer seasons
  • Have to change the soil every few months for younger trees
  • May have to change pots and take more space if they grow bigger

Growing annual flowers from seeds is also a good beginner plant and a great and colorful way to brighten up the atmosphere. For example, cornflowers and marigolds are some good flowers.


  • Grows fast
  • You can see it growing almost on a daily basis.
  • Easy to get and start growing
  • Can buy multiple seeds to increase the number of plants
  • Pretty to look at
  • May attract pollinating insects
  • Bees, butterflies, etc.
  • Can pollinate and replant
  • After the flower wilts, you can cut it and save it for planting next year.


  • Easy to kill
  • The younger plants are very weak to drying out and have low light.
  • The older plants are also weak to drying out, low light, and bugs.
  • Lower survival rate
  • It can die easier than trees, but if you plant many seeds, there will be some that survive until they bloom.
  • Dies in late fall or winter and need to plant again
“Silky Blue Cornflower” by tdlucas5000 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Some intermediate plants

“Intermediate” doesn’t mean unnecessarily hard to keep alive, but it means that it needs more care than other plants.
Perennial flowers can be tricky because they are susceptible to many problems, but if cared for correctly, they will thrive.


  • Don’t need to replant or start over after one year
  • Tend to be bigger than annual plants
  • The leaves and flowers are bigger than small flowers.
  • Some examples are orchids, lavender, peonies, and alliums.
  • If the plant grows stronger, it requires less and less care, but it still needs some.
  • Most perennial flowers have strong root systems, so there will be fewer root problems if cared for properly.


  • Require more space than annuals
  • More susceptible to diseases and pests
“Pink Peony (Paeonia lactiflora cultivar)” by Marcus Obal is licensed under the CC BY-SA 3.0

Carnivorous plants like the Venus flytrap are tricky to grow because they need unique and different conditions for them to thrive. If their conditions are met, though, it is easy to care for them.


  • Doesn’t require much care to the soil
  • Carnivorous plants are designed to survive in low-quality soil.
  • Interesting to look at
  • Most carnivorous plants have a unique and strange shape to catch bugs.
  • The pitcher plant has sacs that lured bugs in and dissolve them with enzymes.
  • The round-leaved sundew has sticky substances on its tentacle-like appendages to lure bugs in, make them stuck, and roll the leaf with the bug to dissolve them.
  • Can see them in action
  • You can easily see them eat their food when you feed them, making the plant more interesting.


  • They need a specific kind of acidic soil for them to grow the interesting bug-catching mechanisms.
  • Even though the soil doesn’t need a lot of maintenance, if you use the same kind of soil that is used for regular plants, the carnivorous plant will not grow a lot of the bug-catching mechanisms or even die from the soil.
  • They need to be fed bugs or they will die.
  • They can naturally get bugs that are around your dorm room, but hand-feeding them small bugs like ants, flies, and pillbugs is the best option.

These are some plants that you may like. I covered the most common types of plants: cactus-type, annuals, perennials, trees, and carnivorous plants. There are a lot more plants in the world than the ones provided in this guide; like ferns, moss, algae, and more. If you are interested in some others, you can research the types of plants that are interesting to you.

Caring for a plant is one more responsibility that you have to take on daily, so it’s good to start out small. Whether you’re a beginner or have a green thumb, you can care for and produce wonderful plants that are able to brighten up your dorm room.