Growing Mobile: Plant Care Tips for Life on the Road

This guest post is courtesy of Tracey Forde, a plant enthusiast and founder of Black Women who RV. Be sure to check out her social Instagram and Facebook.

Bringing life into your RV / van with houseplants is a great idea. Not only do they add a touch of beauty and nature to your surroundings, but they can also help purify the air. However, keeping plants alive in an RV / van can be a challenge due to the constantly changing environment.

Here’s what you need to consider and tips:

Light: Most RVs / vans don’t have a lot of natural light. Look for plants that thrive in low and or indirect light conditions, such as pothos, philodendrons, ZZ plants, and snake plants.

Water: It’s easy to forget to water your plants, or to overwater them, in an RV / van. Choose plants that don’t require frequent watering and use pots with good drainage.

Additionally, you don’t want to overwater your plants, as this can lead to root rot. But you also don’t want to underwater them, as they will wilt and die. A good rule of thumb is to water your plants when the top inch of soil is dry.

Temperature: RVs/ vans can get hot and cold quickly. Avoid plants that are sensitive to temperature fluctuations. Once such plant family is the Marantaceae which includes calatheas, stromanthe, and marantas. They will let you know when the temps fluctuate too much by curling into themselves.

Space: RVs / vans are obviously smaller than houses, so you’ll need to choose plants that don’t take up a lot of space. Hanging plants or small succulents are good options.

Pro tip: vertical propagation stations are great for décor & don’t take away from counterspace.

Secure your plants: When you’re traveling, be sure to secure your plants so they don’t tip over or get damaged. You can use plant hooks, tension rods, or create a small shelf to hold your pots.

Low maintenance: You won’t always have time to fuss over your plants, so choose varieties that are drought-tolerant and don’t require frequent feeding. Succulents andair plants are great for this reason.

Safety: If you have pets, be sure to choose non-toxic plants. Be careful with pesticides. Some pesticides can be harmful to humans and pets, so be sure to choose a safe option if you need to treat your plants for pests.

Pay attention to your plants: Regularly inspect your plants for signs of stress, such as wilting, yellowing leaves, or pests.

Here are some additional tips for keeping plants alive in your RV / van:

Use self-watering planters. These planters have a reservoir that holds water, so you don’t have to water your plants as often.

Group your plants together. This will help to create a more humid environment, which is beneficial for most plants.

Mist your plants regularly. This will help to increase humidity and keep your plants from drying out.

Pay attention to your plants. If a plant starts to look wilted or discolored, it may need more water, light, or fertilizer.

Here are some of the best plants for RV / van living, considering factors like light availability, watering needs, and overall toughness:

Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata):

Nicknamed the “indestructible plant,” snake plants are nearly impossible to kill. They thrive on neglect and require very little water, making them perfect for those who forget to water their plants regularly. They prefer bright, indirect sunlight but can tolerate lower light conditions.

ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia):

Another low-maintenance option, the ZZ plant is known for its glossy, dark green leaves. It can tolerate low light and infrequent watering, making it a great choice for RVs / vans with limited natural light.

Pothos (Epipremnum aureum):

This easy-to-care-for vine is a popular choice for RVs /vans. It comes in a variety of colors, including green, white, and yellow, and can tolerate lower light levels. Pothos also help purify the air, removing common toxins like formaldehyde and benzene.

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum):

Spider plants are known for their cascading foliage and spiderettes, which produce baby spider plants. They are easy to propagate and care for, and they thrive in a variety of lighting conditions. Spider plants are also air purifiers, which can help to improve the air quality in your RV / van.

Philodendron (Philodendron spp.)

 Similar to pothos, Philodendrons are available in a wide range of varieties, including climbing and trailing types. They are relatively low- maintenance and can tolerate lower light levels. Just be sure to keep them out of reach of pets, as they are toxic if ingested.

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema spp.) :

Chinese evergreens are known for their beautiful, variegated foliage. They come in a variety of colors, including green, white, and pink. Chinese evergreens prefer moderate to low light levels and well-draining soil.

Jade Plant (Crassula Ovata):

This succulent is a popular choice for RVs / vans because it is easy to care for and tolerates drought conditions. Jade plants have thick, fleshy leaves that come in a variety of colors, including green, purple, and red. They prefer bright light but can tolerate some shade.

Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata):

Also known as the bottle palm, the ponytail palm is a slow-growing succulent that is known for its unique appearance. It has a bulbous base that stores water, and it has long, green leaves that resemble a ponytail. Ponytail palms prefer bright light but can tolerate some shade. They require very little water.

With a little extra planning to make the right plant choices, you can keep your RV / van filled with greenery and enjoy the companionship of your plant friends on the open road!

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