Whether it is your full-time residence or your vacation home on wheels, it’s important to make your RV homey and comfortable. Although there are lots of different “personal touches” you could add, a simple and beneficial one is to add a few plants to your space. There are several varieties that are easy to maintain that help create a happier, healthier lifestyle. Whether you want one plant or an entire mini-garden, there are a few aspects to consider before “going green”.
Related Read: Making Your House on Wheels a Home
Why Should You Keep Houseplants in an RV?
There are several benefits to having plants in your living space. They’re attractive. Some provide health benefits when eaten. Plus, they decrease stress and act as a natural air purifier.
Related Read: RV Health: Staying Healthy in Varying Climates
Houseplants Improve Your Air Quality
First, most plants smell good. Even the non-floral ones like Eucalyptus, Mint, and Rosemary have a “fresh” aroma. Second, they literally produce oxygen. Most go through photosynthesis during the day, but there are a few—succulents, for example—that do this at night. That’s why you should know your plants and place them where they are most helpful. Third, like miniature vaporizers, they help regulate the levels of humidity. Fourth, the leaves and roots actually remove toxins from the air, which is great after a day’s worth of engine and generator fumes.
Houseplants Improve Your Health
Plants decrease stress, which in turn has been shown to decrease colds, depression, flus, headaches, and sore throats. This is especially valuable for those who travel and are exposed to a variety of pathogens at every rest stop and convenience store.
Related Read: Surviving a Cold or Flu in your RV
Additionally, studies show lower blood pressure, less anxiety, and quicker recuperation in patients with plants in their rooms. So if you do get sick, you are more likely to recover quickly with a helpful plant at your side.
Houseplants Improve Productivity
People around plants have shown improved concentration and memory, especially those who work from home. Although you can’t always spend time in nature, with one or more houseplants you can maintain focus and get tasks done.
Related Read: Work Camping – How to earn a living on the Road!
Taking Care of Your Plant
Get to know your plant; different varieties have different needs. Some require periodic transplanting; others need to be regularly trimmed. These easy and enjoyable chores keep your plant healthy and looking its best. Other than that, plants need two basic things: sunlight and water.
Provide Adequate Sunlight
In a motorhome, where you place your plants to get the correct amount of sunlight depends partly on the direction you park. Try to avoid placing plants near south facing windows, as the intense light and subsequent heat is too much for most varieties. Plants that require a warm environment and direct sunlight do well in west-facing windows. The north receives an even, low level of light, making these windows obvious choices for most plants.
Pay attention to your plant’s leaves to determine whether it’s getting the right amount of sunlight. If they start to curl and wilt or fade and turn brown, it’s getting too much light (or heat) and is becoming scorched. If they start to turn yellow or spindly (sometimes bending and turning toward the nearest light source) it isn’t getting enough and will eventually stop growing all together. Either way, move the plant to a more suitable location and monitor it until it perks back up. Some are more resilient than others.
You can also place your plants outside the RV, but pay attention to the level of sunlight, as well as untimely frosts and strong winds. During inclement weather, bring them back in.
Related Read: Camping During the Winter Months
Provide Adequate Water
Purchased plants usually come with watering instructions. Follow closely keeping in mind that the growing environment may be different depending on where you are traveling. It’s just as important to avoid overwatering as it is to provide enough. Overwatering can root rot, which could kill the plant. Also make sure there is plenty of drainage and remove all standing water.
Caring for Plants on the Road
Being on the road can be traumatic for plants. Give them a good dousing before taking any trip so they don’t dry out over a few days in transit. Try to make sure that you put your plants in a window whenever you stop for the night so they can at least get a few rays in the morning before your trip resumes.
Provide Safe Transportation
When you relocate, it can be very traumatic for your plants. You need to rearrange and secure them before moving. Otherwise, you may have to deal with the mess of spilled soil and uprooted plants when you get to your destination.
It’s easiest if you first move all of the plants to one location. (Don’t forget the ones outside!) You can put them in crates or boxes and wedge them under the dining table, for example, so they won’t slide or tip while you’re driving. We put ours in the kitchen sink. This ensures they get sunlight while we’re driving, keeps them safe, and allows us to water them as needed.
Once you arrive, make arranging your plants a priority. Pay attention to the direction of the various windows when placing them. The faster you get them back to their normal “routine” the quicker their recovery will be.
A word of caution: if you have pets, avoid including ivy, lilies, and philodendrons in your RV, as they are poisonous to animals when eaten. Keep this in mind also if you’re traveling with children. If your fur babies or baby-babies are particularly curious, you may also want to avoid cacti. Whether you add them to your doorway, plant window boxes and hanging baskets, or otherwise distribute them throughout your RV, incorporating plants makes the space more attractive and healthier.
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