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A Mobile Garden?! How to Keep Plants in an RV & on the Road

| Updated Apr 29, 2023

Enjoy greenery on the go with these RV gardening tips! Here's how to keep plants in an RV, whether they're house plants, herbs, or veggies…

Are you looking for a way to make your RV feel more homey? Or to make it feel less claustrophobic? You can accomplish both by adding live greenery!

Plants not only beautify your RV but also provide many health benefits, such as improving air quality and reducing stress levels. However, keeping plants alive in an RV can be a bit challenging due to the limited space, fluctuating temperatures, and travel restrictions.

But don't let that stop you from enjoying the benefits of having greenery on the go! With these RV gardening tips, you can keep your house plants, herbs, and even veggies thriving no matter where your travels take you.

So, let's dive in and explore the world of RV gardening together!

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Can You Grow a Garden & Keep Plants in an RV?

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Yes, you can garden in an RV or, at the very least, take houseplants with you wherever you go! In the above video, Jennifer visits with Leeanne to learn how you can easily garden on the go.

She shows how you can bring fresh veggies and herbs on the road with you! But we also share some tips and tricks below…

5 Tips and Tricks for Mobile Gardens

If you are a longtime RVer who has never gardened in your rig, you might ask yourself, Where on Earth am I going to put these plants? The good news is that there are many solutions for keeping plants in your small space! 

1. Hang Your Plants

One great way to keep a garden is to hang it! Since most RVers are limited on counter and floor space, hanging your plants is a great solution. 

You can hang a plant in a little used corner inside your rig.  These macrame plant hangers hold different sizes and shapes of potted plants.

You can always start small. Purchase one plant, try it in space, and see if you like it. If you do, try adding another! Or, move it to a different locale that makes you happier. 

2. Mount Plants

Another great idea to keep plants in your rig is to purchase wall-mounted planters. These types of planters get directly mounted to the wall, which means they will stay put when en route. 

You can fill your planters with easy varieties that do not need a lot of maintenance. These small wall-mounted planters are a great option, especially for herbs.

You can find wall-mounted planters online or by checking out stores like Home Goods or Hobby Lobby. It can be fun to hunt for the perfect planter to match your rig style! 

3. Put Up Shelves

Another idea is to hang or build some plant shelves. 

Do you have an unused wall? Consider spots you might not have otherwise, like blank wall space under your tv or above your dining area. Or perhaps a space in your bedroom. 

You can DIY the perfect RV plant shelf that will keep your plants in places. Just cut “pot holes” into a single shelf board, then mount the board on a wall.

Once you have up your shelves, add some potted plants. Be sure to get planters that have a water basin at the bottom that will capture excess water. Feel free to mix and match fun pots and get creative!  

4. Hang Your Plants in the Shower

If you want to have some greenery, but do not have any free space, consider growing plants in your shower. Showers that have a skylight and vent are great spots to grow certain types of plants. 

The easiest way to do this is to purchase a shower caddy and voila, you have an instant planter. You can place the plant directly into the caddy or keep it in a pot and sit it inside the caddy. 

Check out the 7 Best RV Shower Caddy Solutions (According to RVers).

Have a Dashboard Garden

This idea may seem unconventional but it can be an excellent solution for folks that aren't unhitching all the time. You can set up a plant spot on the dashboard area of your motorhome. 

As long as you ensure water doesn't leak onto your dash, you can add plants and knickknacks. The plants will get plenty of sunshine and provide you with a happy, green scene. Here's How to Secure Small Items While RVing.

Of course, you have to make sure the plants don't impede your sightline when driving. But there are plenty of low plants and herbs that will do the trick.

Other Tips for Growing and Traveling with Plants in an RV

The main problem to solve when traveling with a garden is where you will store it. But, the following are other tips for growing and maintaining an RV garden. 

1. Try Easy Varieties

When traveling, especially if you are just trying your hand at gardening, it is a good idea to start with easy varieties. 

That is because when you travel, you will experience climate change. One day you might be in the desert, and then the next, near the ocean. 

You will want to have plants that are not finicky about humidity. 

Some easy varieties to try include succulents, ZZ plants, and Philodendrons. 

2. Grow Some Veggies

One fun garden serves a dual purpose – you can eat it, too! Consider growing a vegetable garden while camping. 

You can try gardening in pre-made planters, like a Topsy Turvy

Or, use something less conventional, like a styrofoam ice chest. Drill some small holes into the bottom of the chest, fill it with dirt, and plant your vegetable plant.  

Another great way to plant some veggies is to use garden bags. These aerated fabric pots can be transported from place to place. Load them up when you pack your campsite, and then unload them at the next for a true traveling garden. 

3. Storing Your Plants While En Route

Another consideration with your traveling garden is how you will transport them when on the road. One good tip is to move your pots into a sink when you pack up. That way, the pots are not moving around and are at risk of breaking while on the road. 

4. Think About Light

A Mobile Garden?! How to Keep Plants in an RV & on the Road 1

One thing that plants need is light. While it does not always need to be direct light, plants usually need some indirect light in order to grow. Different varieties need different things, so check the tag when you purchase the plant. 

When deciding where to place and keep plants inside your rig, consider lighting. They probably will not grow very well in a dark corner. 

Consider window sills or other spaces near indirect lighting, like windows or skylights. 

You also want to consider direct light if you place plants near a window. If the sun shines directly through the window onto the plant, it could be too hot. You will want to water the plant often and check for sun damage. 

5. Be Aware of Plant Restrictions When Crossing State Lines

When traveling with plants in your RV, it's important to be aware of any restrictions that may apply. Depending on where you're going, regulations may exist on which plants you can bring across state lines or international borders.

In regards to crossing U.S. state borders, the USDA states:

“In general, however, USDA does not regulate the interstate movement of noncommercial nursery products, such as house plants transported by travelers.

Rather, individual States enforce their own State’s regulations regarding what plants a traveler may enter with coming from another State. Please contact the State Plant Regulatory Official (SPRO) in the State to where you are traveling to inquire about any potential restrictions on the specific plant species you wish to bring to that State. You can find contact information for each State’s SPRO by clicking on https://www.nationalplantboard.org/members.html.”

6. Be Aware of Plant Restrictions When Crossing International Borders

If crossing into Canada or Mexico, you must claim any plants, seeds, greenery, etc. you have onboard, and your RV is subject to inspection. You can see the USDA's list of plants, seeds, flowers, and greenery you can't take across international borders.

7. Careful Not to Carry Pests Across Borders

It's also vitally important not to bring any pests across state lines or borders, as insects on plants can endanger local ecosystems and farming.

To avoid any issues, carefully inspect your plants for any bugs before crossing a state line or border. Keep your plants in your RV, and never dispose of a plant by tossing it out in nature. Even a dead plant can spread seeds or insects.

8. Share Your Ideas with Other RVers

More and more RVers want to garden on the road and bring their house plants along for the ride. It's a great help to share your ideas and solutions with your fellow RVers.

You can join our RV Lifestyle Facebook group to do just that! We'd love to see what RV garden tips and tricks work for you!

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We recommend you go Lectric for your RV Lifestyle

RV Lifestyle Partners 8

You know we love our RAD Power bikes – and have featured them for years, but we recently tested out and LOVE our new Lectric foldable ebikes. Being able to fold them up allowed us to put them in our Wonder rear garage area for a recent RV Lifestyle Gathering. You can check out our experience with them right here on our YouTube Channel.

Mike Wendland

Published on 2023-04-29

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

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