There are many reasons why you might want to have plants in your RV. Plants not only provide a natural aesthetic to your mobile dwelling, but research shows that they’re also good for your mental and physical health.
Plants reduce stress and promote feelings of well-being. They help promote productivity and focus. In addition, plants can help reduce background noise by absorbing and reflecting sound waves with their foliage. They can also increase humidity and help regulate temperature in a living space.
If that isn’t enough, a study by NASA showed a reduction in air pollutants including benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde as well as reduction of carbon dioxide (used for photosynthesis) and increase in oxygen (the byproduct of photosynthesis) from having certain plants in a living space.
Plants that are particularly good at purifying the air of a living space, yet are hardy enough to stand up to traveling include: the garden mum, spider plant, dracaena (although toxic to animals), ficus, snake plant, bamboo palm, and aloe vera (which needs to drain without standing water).
If you have pets or children traveling with you, avoid ivy, lilies, and philodendrons in your RV, as they are poisonous to animals when eaten.
Many people travel with edible plants such as herbs or greens that can both improve the living space and be used as a kitchen supplement.
If you travel between states, however, you will need to be aware of the USDA regulations for bringing plants (particularly potted plants) into each state you travel.
Regulations are imposed in order to protect specific crops from inadvertently being exposed to damaging insects or diseases as well as to control invasive species. While you should check with the Department of Agriculture for individual states, some basic guidelines for interstate plant travel are:
- Only allowing plants that are grown and remain indoors
- Requiring that all plants have fresh, sterile potting soil
- The plant must be pest free and appear healthy
- Bans on some types of plants (varies by state)
Some states will require inspections of house plants, and any plant that may be deemed suspicious could be confiscated.
If you’re traveling out of the country, you will need to check the specific laws in the country you’re traveling to for what is allowed to be brought across the border.
Although you may still be subject to border control scrutiny, you can avoid the risk of soil contamination altogether by growing plants without using soil.
Hydroponic planters such as AeroGarden are designed to allow plants to grow year-round on small countertop spaces using hydroponics and full-spectrum LED lights. They make it easy to grow herbs and greens in your RV.
Another option for garden herbs is the Modern Sprout system. To keep the jars from falling during transport, you may need to create a stand or sturdy transport system in the sink of your RV to support the containers during travel.
Air plants, or tillandsia, are another soil-free option that are easy to care for and hardy enough for travel. These South American plants would normally grow above the ground on tree branches, roofs, and rocks. Typically, these plants need to be submerged in water for 12 hours every 10-14 days and otherwise can hang out wherever you choose to locate them.
If you are someone who enjoys plants and their many benefits, bringing some green with you in an RV can bring a sense of “home” on the road is totally possible! There are many options you can explore, but there are also some regulations to know before you travel between states as well.