The Cambridge plant-lovers guide

Image credit: Callum McCain
Image credit: Callum McCain
Image credit: Callum McCain
Image credit: Callum McCain
Image credit: Callum McCain
Image credit: Callum McCain

An essential part of any Cambridge students room is its greenery. Whether you’re an e d g y arts student whose plants make up a key part of their Instagram aesthetic or a mathmo just wanting something living in their room; there’s no denying a house plant livens up any room. Thankfully there are so many plants to choose from (≈300,000), there is almost certainly a plant for you.

What to get:

Typically, there are three types of house plat that suit a student sized room. They are cacti & succulents, flowers and carnivorous plants. Each have their own needs but generally they’re all pretty easy to look after.

1.Cacti and Succulents 

These are by far the easiest to look after and are very low maintenance. As one would imagine they require only occasional watering (once a week in summer to once a month in winter). Having said that, they are very chill and don’t really mind if you neglect to water them for a while –- if in doubt; don’t water. When you do water them however, make sure they aren’t drowned in water, just a light soaking will do. They are best planted in pots with drainage holes in the bottom in case they are over watered, and grow best in sunlight so windowsills are 

2.Flowers

If your room is lacking in colour a flower is a fail-safe to make every visitor say ‘10/10 bedroom aesthetic’ when they see your room. They come in every shape and size so they can be put anywhere in a room, like on a desk, coffee table or next to your bed. Caring for flowers is much more variable given the huge variation in species so it’s best to look up specific care instructions for your flower online.

3.Carnivoruous Plants 

Probably the most exciting plants you can buy and definitely the best for relieving supervision-related stress. They come in different varieties, including Venus Fly-traps, pitcher plants and sundews. Carnivorous plants, however, are much more particular about their care regime. Its best to check online or instore about the details but fly-traps and sundews, specifically, can only be watered with filtered water. This can either be rainwater or water from a water filter. They normally like being in damp soil, but like cacti, make sure they have drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.

 

Where to buy:

Other than grabbing a couple of flowers out of the college gardens, there are some great places in Cambridge for buying plants and accessories.

1.Scotsdale Garden Centre

The largest nearby garden centre to the centre of town and hands-down has the best selection of all types of house plant. They sell orchids as well as cacti and other succulents. Most of their cacti cost about £5 and they sell pots as well which vary from £3-£10. The one down side is that it is too far to walk to. From the town centre it takes about 15-20 mins to cycle there along fairly depressing roads and the bus takes about 40 mins. Only for die-hard plant fans

2.Homebase

You can’t go too far wrong with Homebase as it’s got a large selection of pots that can cater for all price ranges. It has also got a good spread of Venus Fly-traps as well. It’s much closer to town (10 min bike ride) and is also close to the boathouses if you want a cheeky post-outing plant shop trip.

3.Cambridge Botanical Garden

Despite having a small selection of indoor plants, it is very easily accessible and is in the beautiful botanical gardens. They mostly stock herbs and other small shrubby plants. They do however have some very cool terrariums for cacti that can be a good gift. The staff inside are also really nice.

 

Things to consider…

1. Plant kids

Sometimes your house plant will have seeds. It is completely up to you whether you just let them fall off or whether you take them and grow into some baby plants. Like before, it’s always best to check the growing conditions for the seeds before planting them,  but once they start growing there’s nothing quite like hand rearing your own baby plants from seeds.

2.Bugs and infections

Despite their prickly appearance cacti and other house plants can get infected. If this happens it is usually best to move the infected away from your healthy plants to prevent spread of the infection. What you do next depends on how much you love your plant. If it has high sentimental value you can buy sprays to kill the infection or, if (woe betide you) you think it’s ‘just a plant’, then they are quite safe to bin; it’s probably best to find your college green waste or gardening bins.

 

In short, house plants are a fool-proof way to spruce up your room and relieve stress. Despite what I’ve said, looking after plants is very easy and it’s pretty intuitive with respect to looking after them. It’s a much better way to decorate you room than having a ‘Live, Laugh, Love’ poster.

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