Best buds: Why UP students chose to be plant parents

By The Beacon | February 18, 2019 12:58pm


Junior Emily Conner and junior Courtney Warta pose with their plant family. 

by Annika Gordon / The Beacon

Even though you really miss your dog back home, owning pets in college can be tough. So what’s the next best thing? Plants. 

The plant-owning trend is alive and well among the Gen Z and Millennial generations, adding aesthetic value and chill vibes to any room or Instagram feed. Succulents are especially easy to take care of and can act as the perfect low-maintenance pet for any college student.

From succulents to cacti to dead plants, several UP students have started their very own plant families right here in Portland. Below are several Pilots who have taken on the responsibility of being plant parents.

Freshman nursing majors Grace Batra and Shannon Ferguson liven up their dorm room with a few plant pals.

by Elizabeth Lyons-Best / The Beacon

Plant Parents: Grace Batra and Shannon Ferguson, Class of 2022

Q: Why did you become a plant parent? 

A: We love nature and the plants allow us to have a piece of it in the dorm with us. They also purify the air!

Q: What do you like most about your plant babies? 

A: They bring happiness into our dorm especially on rainy days!

Q: Where’d you get your plant?

A: Pistils Nursery on Mississippi is the best!

by Jeffrey Braccia / The Beacon

Plant Parent: Dylan Bates, Class of 2022

Q: Would you say that your plant is one of your best friends?

A: Aside from perhaps my roommate, my plant is my best friend.

Q: What do you and your plant do together?

A: We do everything together. Once a week I take him to class. 

Q: Does your plant have a name? 

A: Yes, Sir Reginald The 21st.

Freshman business major Kaylee DeLoye has been a proud plant parent for over a month. 

by Jennifer Ng / The Beacon

Plant Parent: Kaylee DeLoye, Class of 2022

Q: What do you love the most about your plant friend?

A: He doesn’t stop growing.

Q: What do you do together?

A: We watch squirrels outside the window!

Q: Where’d you get your plant pal?

A: I grew him from seeds from a drugstore in Hawaii.

Junior finance and marketing major Emily Conner and junior biology major Courtney Warta have over 15 plants at their off-campus house. Some of their plants are named Roscoe, Hedgie, Ladybug and Freddie. 

by Annika Gordon / The Beacon

Plant Parents: Emily Conner and Courtney Warta, Class of 2020

Q: What do you like most about having plant babies?

Warta: I think it just makes my room feel better. I feel like it’s a more stress-free environment and it’s something to take care of.
Conner: That’s true. It really brightens up the place. Especially when we have them in our living room.

Q: Do you talk to your plants? 

Conner: No.
Warta: No...Not yet. 

Q: How do you take care of them? How much effort do you have to put into taking care of them? 

Warta: We’ve learned that we don’t buy ferns.
Conner: Mmhm. We buy low-maintenance plants. 

Freshman sociology major Fran Franco poses with his two plants, Pidge (left) and Romelle (right).

by Brennan Crowder / The Beacon

Plant Parent: Fran Franco, Class of 2022

Q: Why did you become a plant parent?

A: Because plants make me happy and add life to the room. And, like, you get to grow together. Sometimes I feel like I’m just existing, but with a plant I feel like I’m living.

Q: Would you say that your plant is one of your best friends?

A: No, that’d be wack.

Q: What happened to your dead plant?

A: Winter break.

Q: Do your plants have names?

A: Yes, the dead one is Pidge. The living one is called Romelle.

Junior electrical engineering major Jessie Lee is a proud plant parent. She bought all of her plants here in Portland. 

by Paula Ortiz Cazaubon / The Beacon

Plant Parent: Jessie Lee, Class of 2020, Electrical engineering major

Q: What do you like most about your plant friends?

A: When I study they are really cute to look at and stress-relieving. And snake plants are good for my allergies.

Q: Would you consider your plant pals to be some of your best friends?

A: I do talk to them but I don’t consider them as my best friends. My best friends are my guinea pigs.

Q: What kinds of things do you do together?

A: Well, we drink water together. When I have to water them I drink water, too.

Contributing photographers: Elizabeth Lyons-Best, Annika Gordon, Jeff Braccia, Paula Ortiz Cazaubon, Brennan Crowder and Jennifer Ng.