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Caring for Plants in an RV

Sam Leash-profile-image
Sam Leash
July 14, 2020

TL;DR Discover the fusion of RV living and indoor gardening as travelers embrace caring for plants on the go. Learn how to adapt to changing climates, maximize space with creative solutions like hanging plants and mounted shelves, and ensure plants' well-being during travel. With careful consideration of lighting and mobility, nurturing a green oasis in your RV is both achievable and rewarding.

Caring for Plants in an RV

With the rising popularity amongst the world of RVing comes many different types of RVers. Some may occasionally travel for a few days at a time, while others might decide to travel full-time. Other RVers might prefer to take longer trips of a few months, while still eventually returning to their traditional home, while many others choose to live in their RV in a stationary location. The pull towards living in an RV for longer periods of time has inspired many to try their hand at indoor gardening and caring for plants in their RV. While some may find it silly to consider growing plants inside of a moving vehicle, many travelers have found a way to make this work, allowing the passions of gardening and travel to come together. If you are a more long-term traveler and want to add some green friends to your home on wheels, then consider the tips below for ways to get started! Caring for plants in an RV is not as difficult as it seems.

1. Try easier varieties

One of the greatest challenges of growing plants in an RV is the changing climates. Some species are very specific about the amount of humidity they need for optimum condition, while others have lower humidity requirements. Easier varieties include philodendrons/pothos and all their variations, succulents, Sansevierias (also known as the snake plant), and ZZ plants. These all grow well in environments without perfect lighting, humidity, and a consistent climate. Once you have mastered caring for these easier plant varieties, you may wish to move on to more difficult or needy varieties, such as Monsteras, fiddle-leaf figs, birds of paradise, and other leafy tropicals. Wall-mount plant shelves are an excellent way to store plants for travel.

2. Hang plants

Since RVs tend to lack both counter space and floor space, fitting plants into your vertical space can often be your best bet. Many RVs have plenty of unused corners and spaces where beautiful greenery can hang and thrive. Bathroom corners can often work in any RV, and cabover areas might be an excellent place to hang plants in some motorhomes. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try some locations unique to your RV. Always keep the plant’s needs in mind when adding one to a specific location, and don’t be afraid to test a certain location out for awhile and then decide to move the plant if it isn’t working out. Hanging plants in an RV is a perfect way to display them.

3. Mount plants to walls

For those who want to have an indoor garden but also move their RV often, this one’s for you! Mounting plants to your walls is an excellent way to keep them in one specific location. There are tons of fabulous, wall mount planters available online and in home goods stores. When mounting planters, be sure to screw them directly into studs in the wall or utilize anchors to be sure they stay in place. Then, fill your planters with plenty of low-maintenance plants, and be sure that they are getting the proper amounts of water, fertilization, and humidity. For an easier take on wall-mounted plants, consider mounting air plants using two-hole conduit fittings. These are simple to mount and simple to care for, making them great RV plants.

4. Set on countertops and pack into sinks while traveling

If you are planning to bring your plants along on your travels but don’t plan to live in your RV for more than a few months or so, it may be easiest for you to avoid installing anything permanent. Instead, set the pots on your countertops or in open floor spaces, and move them to your sink(s) for safekeeping during travel. Alternatively, you can use earthquake putty or command strips to adhere your plants directly to your countertops so that they do not need to be moved when you move your RV. Potted herbs grow very well on windowsills.

5. Consider a mounted shelf

For those who love succulents, cactuses, or any other varieties with bright lighting needs, you may want to consider a mounted shelf. This involves creating a shelf for your plants out of lumber and using a hole saw to create holes for the plant pots. Then, the shelf needs to be mounted to the wall using anchors. Mounted shelves tend to perform best when installed over or beside a large window for optimum lighting conditions. A bonus for mounted shelves is that the plants will not need to be moved when you drive or tow your RV. Potted herbs grow very well on windowsills.

6. Consider the lighting in your RV

With all of the above suggestions for placing your plants, you must consider each plant’s unique lighting needs. In an RV, the most consistent lighting you will receive is moderate to bright indirect light. For best results, select plant species with these lighting needs. Plants that need lower light levels can be moved to the bathroom or further from the windows, and plants with brighter lighting needs can be placed beneath windows or mounted near them (see above). In addition, be prepared to be flexible and move your plants around if their locations aren’t giving them the optimum lighting conditions needed to thrive. Utilizing vertical and wall space is key for your plants.Because it is often a bit trickier than gardening in a house, maintaining plants in an RV can certainly be challenging. However, adding plants to your home on wheels can make it feel even cozier. With some planning and determination, adding plants to your RV is very doable and can make life on the road even more fun. If you struggle to keep your plants alive, add some fake greenery to continue the homey vibes without adding additional work or difficulty. Caring for plant in an RV is not as difficult as it seems.

Do you have any plants in your RV? How do you manage them? Feel free to share below!

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Sam Leash-profile-image
Sam Leash
Sam is a seasoned traveler and RVer of 4+ years. She loves adventures of all kinds and spends as much time on the road as she can. When not exploring in her RV or writing about her travels, you can find her reading a good book, cooking a delicious meal, caring for her plants, or hiking with her dogs.