Students and their plants

Secret cuttings from the urban jungle

These students aren’t letting their small rooms stop them from filling their living space up with plants. ‘You can’t really keep a pet in your room, but house plants are relaxing, too.’
30 November om 11:12 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 30 November 2020
om 11:12 uur.
November 30 at 11:12 AM.
Last modified on November 30, 2020
at 11:12 AM.
Avatar photo

Door Emily Zaal

30 November om 11:12 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 30 November 2020
om 11:12 uur.
Avatar photo

By Emily Zaal

November 30 at 11:12 AM.
Last modified on November 30, 2020
at 11:12 AM.
Avatar photo

Emily Zaal

Student-redacteur Volledig bio Student editor Full bio

Claar Hoeve (25)

Medical student

60 plants

Claar’s love for plants started with a quote. ‘I once read that you should never trust a doctor if you see a dead plant in their office’, the medical student says. 

Her first plant was a Chinese money plant. It grew like crazy, so it was a lot of work. She started giving away cuttings of the plant. ‘I love making people happy by giving them little baby cuttings.’

She now has sixty plants in her collection. She works on them every Sunday. Sixty plants is a lot, but as far as Claar’s concerned, you can never have enough. 

She’s come to realise the emotional value plants can have. ‘My grandma has dementia. At one point it became impossible to have a conversation with her, except about plants.’ 

Being a plant lover also takes a bit of daring now and then, says Claar. She was having dinner at pasta restaurant Vapiano one time, where she noticed a large wall of plants. ‘I took a little cutting from that wall’, she says. ‘I call them my secret cuttings.’

Claar has plenty of cuttings to give away still. So if you ever see her, ask her for one of her secret cuttings. 

Kwinten Snijders Blok (24)

master student of chemical technology and industrial engineering & management

12 plants

Every morning when Kwinten wakes up and looks around his student room, he gets a boost of happiness. ‘Isn’t this a great sight to wake up to? There’s green everywhere. It makes me happy.’ 

It took him a while to figure everything out, but he now knows how much water his plants need and what kind of light works best for each one. He certainly knows better than his roommates: ‘I let them take care of my plants once and they all died’, he says. 

That hurt, because he feels a connection to his plants. ‘They always flourish when I’m around, which makes me feel good.’ He has no plans to buy any more plants, though. ‘Twelve is enough I think.’

Sanne Specht (23)


17 plants

Sanne has seventeen plants. Or rather, fifteen; two of them died. ‘I’m a bit scatterbrained. I was cleaning up and I realised I should be taking better care of them.’ 

But even though her plants aren’t always doing great, that doesn’t mean Sanne doesn’t care about them. ‘I get really worried when they don’t look good.’ One of her New Year’s resolutions is to be a better plant mum. 

She loves all the greenery in her room and enjoys talking about plants with her friends who share her passion. ‘We keep egging each other on to find and get new plants.’ 

Rozy Bennett (23)

master student of religion, conflict and globalization 

Louise Kroon (21)

International relations 

20 plants

Roommates Rozy and Louise used their time in lockdown wisely: their plants Phyllis, Lola, Will & Kate, and all the others are in perfect condition. They use the app Plantsome, which helps you take care of your house plants, to track how their ever-growing family is doing. 

Rozy’s love for plants started back in her home country of England. ‘The lemon geranium has been an important symbol in my family for a long time.’ Her grandmother got her first geranium in the sixties, and the entire family were given cuttings over the years. 

Rozy just had to have one in Groningen, although hers is not related to her grandmother’s plant. ‘We were checking out a Facebook group where people exchanged cuttings and we saw that someone wanted to get rid of their lemon geranium. Louise and I jumped on our bikes to go get it.’ 

It’s easy to let the urban jungle trend get the best of you and just keep buying plants, says Louise. Not that that’s a bad thing. ‘It’s a fun hobby. I mean, there are certainly worse things people could be doing. 

Lotte Karsten (24)

Media studies and philosophy

20 plants

Whenever Lotte’s friends have any questions about plants, they know who to turn to. ‘I’m kind of known as the plant whisperer’, she says. Her go-to tip: it’s better to under-water plants than to over-water them. Many people water them too much. 

Her hobby has its roots in practicality. ‘At my parents’ house I always had pets, but that doesn’t really work in a student room. I figured plants are fun and relaxing, too.’ 

She’s noticed that the people around her have more plants than they used to. ‘The first time they see my room they ask me why I’m doing this to myself’, says Lotte, laughing. ‘But some of them really like it and end up wanting to buy more plants for themselves.’ 

She currently has more than enough plants. ‘If I buy myself any more plants, my friends get to make me down an entire beer, no matter the time of day’, she says. ‘That’s a good reason to buy a plant for someone else, or to give my cuttings away.’ 

The last plant she was given as a present made her very happy, though. ‘It’s called a Karstenarium, kind of like my last name. I can never let that one die. It would be awful.’

Christopher de Bruijn (20)

Industrial engineering & management

10 plants

Christopher tried to resist the plant hype, but in the end he succumbed. ‘I wanted something that looked nice in my room’, he says, ‘so I got some plants.’ He doesn’t want the same plants as other people, though. ‘I don’t understand why people are so obsessed with monstera plants’, he says. ‘They’re kind of ugly. But hey, there’s no accounting for taste.’ 

He checks on his plants every day, Paying a little extra attention to his favourite: the alocasia, or elephant ear plant. He thinks he’ll get a few more plants for Sinterklaas. ‘I hope I get a bird of paradise.’