Quarantine hobbies: gardening and how you can garden at home


Pink sunpatien (photo credit: Britni Dunn)

Britni Dunn, Executive Editor

With many of us stuck at home and (hopefully) socially distancing over the summer, there was quite a bit of time to find new ways of entertaining ourselves throughout the day.

Many University students have started new hobbies or cultivated hobbies that they didn’t have time for before the pandemic. 

Since being sent home from school, I have been gardening. Gardening seems to be one of the many things a lot of people have gotten into since the start of the pandemic, as it allows for a connection to nature and a feeling of accomplishment as something grows. 

My experience is a bit different than that of many University students because I live in Oklahoma, which is really hot in the summer, so only certain things can grow.

My grandma and I started gardening as soon as I came home for quarantine. There are many plant nurseries around us that we frequented throughout the summer, bringing home more and more flowers, ferns and any kind of potting soil or growing aids that looked helpful.

Here in the south/midwest, I grew a lot of sunpatiens, hibiscus, petunias and million bells. It was really exciting to have something to look forward to in such a monotonous and scary time.

Seeing new blooms and watching the plants’ progress was really exciting! Honestly, it was nice to feel like I was doing something with my time, something that I could see grow and be successful. It’s a fulfilling feeling to connect with nature, be out in the sun and feel the earth beneath your fingers. 

As I got into the routine of watering plants every day, I started purchasing indoor plants. Having plants indoors is truly a wonderful feeling, it keeps a space fresh and natural.

For the easiest indoor plants, I went with a bromeliad (which comes in many different colors), some snake plants (also known as mother-in-law plants) and many succulents.

University senior Alex Looker recently got into gardening over quarantine. Looker said, “I went up to a greenhouse near my hometown in MA in March because it was one of the few things that wasn’t shut down, and I got about $15 worth of tiny plants they had on sale (and I found some succulent leaves)!”

“I have loved watching them grow and having their company during social distancing. I also have been able to grow some tiny little succulents from the leaves, and some even tinier ones from their leaves which are just adorable,” they continued.

Succulents known as “hens and chicks” (photo credit: Britni Dunn)

For University students, it seems that the best (and easiest) way to enjoy gardening is growing succulents. Succulents are great for students who have busy schedules and small living spaces.

They don’t require much attention and survive in moderate-warm temperatures without a lot of water, so watering isn’t something you have to do too often (usually every two weeks depending on the specific plant you have).

You can get a single succulent and plant it in a small pot or plant an array in a larger pot; either way they won’t be taking up too much space or time.

Most places that carry succulents (which is almost everywhere due to their popularity) have a variety to choose from. Succulents aren’t just cacti and they come in a huge variety that can be exciting to try out.

Some great succulents that can be an easy start into the world of plants are the Panda Plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa), Paddle Plant (Kalanchoe tetraphylla), Aloe Vera, Echeveria Glauca, Zebra Plant (Haworthiopsis fasciata) and Pincushion Cacti (Mammillaria).

Succulents are a great way for students to get a start into the world of gardening and doing so is a great way to feel a connection to nature in a time where we spend much more time indoors. 

Plants can often boost your mood and allow for creativity in spaces, which is something people could really use right now. Even with a busy school or work schedule, it can be great for mental health to start exploring the world of plants!