The recent question In Star Trek TNG, why does everyone have plants at the head of their beds? asks why they have the plants. I want to know: who tends them?

Real plants don't just magically thrive. Does each officer tend their own plant, or is someone tasked to go into senior staffs rooms to feed and water the plants?

  • 6
    This is not covered in canon, though presumably, the officer to whom the quarters is assigned cares for them. and for the plants in the halls and unoccupied quarters are cared for by the same never-seen people who vacuum the halls.
    – Tritium21
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 1:32
  • 3
    In the absence of anything to indicate otherwise, I think we can assume that everyone cares for their own houseplants, just like today.
    – Nerrolken
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 1:38
  • 4
    House-elves. (Quarters-elves? Ship-elves?)
    – Kevin
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 1:44
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    It's not a stretch at all to be completely automatic, just need a regular water source, such as pipes in the wall/under the floor/connected to the replicator
    – Izkata
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 3:07
  • 1
    Riker points out that the ship cleans itself. It's not a stretch that it also waters the plants by itself. A simple transporter function could deliver a daily dose of water and nutrients.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 8:49

4 Answers 4


It isn't a huge stretch of the imagination that each member of the TNG crew is responsible for the care and upkeep of their own quarters.

In DS9: The Assignment we learn that Miles has killed his wife's plants by over-watering them.

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And on at least one occasion (TNG: Sub Rosa) we see Beverly cutting and arranging flowers that she's evidently grown in her quarters.

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In VOY: The Black Shore (Pocket Books) we find Captain Janeway watering the plants in her office on Voyager.

"Morale again?" Janeway asked Chakotay. Her first officer had joined her in her ready room for a private briefing. He waited by her desk while she watered the decorative plants by the door. Thankfully, she thought, it had never been necessary to ration water aboard Voyager; otherwise > her plants would hardly have stayed so green.

And in TNG: Sins of Commission (Pocket TNG) we find Deanna Troi watering the plants in her quarters on the Enterprise-D.

With that done, she changed from her uniform into a soft spider-silk robe. She watered her plants and thought about having more chocolate, but decided that would be too indulgent. For a while she just sat down at her dressing table, studying her unsmiling face in the mirror.

And of course, who can forget Data's creative way of watering the houseplants in the Ready Room in TNG: A Fistful of Datas?

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  • In Cause and Effect we see another example of Dr. Crusher tending to the plants in her quarters. It seems reasonable that caring about "lesser beings" is part of human nature. Federation crew exercises this habit or hobby.
    – Hermann
    Commented Mar 26, 2021 at 2:27

Senior staff in today's military have a "batman" that takes care of their quarters - laundry, cleaning, plant watering etc. Highly likely this will continue for several centuries. Not-quite-top-rank like Troi or LaForge might share one, Data likely has no need for an assistant and Worf would consider a valet to be unworthy of a warrior.

It is highly unlikely that any screen time would be devoted to such a position. We don't see the research staff, night-shift bartenders or shuttle mechanics either, but they must exist.

  • 3
    This seems quite speculative. We know, for example that Picard no longer has a Yeoman and the crew are always very surprised to find other people in their quarters.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 13:24
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    It is entirely speculative. However, note the second paragraph of the answer.
    – paul
    Commented Nov 14, 2014 at 0:17
  • I do agree that there's almost certainly maintenance staff that we don't see, but by the same token, note how messy troi's quarters were all through TNG. It's hardly likely that she has a cleaner.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 14, 2014 at 0:25
  • 2
    And Batman has a batman, too: Alfred. Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 14:07

Maybe they are artificial plants? I don't remember seeing anyone tending for them ever in any way and they don't seem to be eaten by the tribbles either; so they could definitely be artificial.

  • 2
    This is not an answer, it is a comment or a joke.
    – Tritium21
    Commented Nov 16, 2014 at 21:27

Some plants require very little overall maintenance, particularly succulents. As to maintenance it's a questionable subject.

  1. Plants in ones own quarters are presumably taken care of by the occupant. Plants in VIP/Guest quarters are taken care of by....presumably dedicated personnel (ships Steward)
  2. Given it's the 24th century, technology regarding automatic maintenance regarding simple plant upkeep (reservoir of water/fertilizer for slow release)
  3. Since starships contain arboretums which are also have dedicated personnel to botanical and biological science, they probably handle such matters. As well as hydroponics and airponics bay for cultivation of food stuffs.
  4. Enterprise-D is a special subject; given that it's civilian population onboard, not to mention it's civilian work force (bartenders, barbers, etc) and may have had onboard person for the ships plants
  5. Another more likely scenario is the plants are fake.......set up for leisure, psychological reasons to enjoy a natural setting; therefore require no maintenance just simply cleaning.
  6. Synthetic: A real technology scientists are working on now that do the same function, convert Carbon dioxide into oxygen or operate like todays real world HEPA filters. (Though in real plant biology, they don't convert CO2 into oxygen, they convert it into sugar, they turn water into Oxygen and free hydrogen for manufacturing sugar)

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