The Ultimate Guide to Gardening in an RV: The Why, the How, and the What?

If you want to learn how to grow a garden while RVing, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything you need to know about growing produce on the go.

Whether you view your RV as holiday accommodation and transportation or as your snowbird or full-time home, growing your food inside your vehicle is easier than you may imagine.

Keeping a garden while traveling can be challenging but it also helps ground you and brings in wonders like fresh herbs and produce or simply beautifies and detoxifies a closed space like an RV. Continue reading for tips on RV gardening.

What to grow? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


Why grow your own food in the RV? Having access to your own fresh food in your RV can make you healthier. What is more, growing your own food in your RV can be a truly rewarding experience. There is nothing quite like sitting down to enjoy a meal prepared with your own delicious ingredients.

In addition to deciding where you will grow your plants, you’ll need to consider the implications of growing plants in a moving vehicle. The fact that you need to be mobile makes growing food in an RV more complex than growing food inside a regular home or garden. While there are challenges, they are generally fairly easy to overcome.

What to grow? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Can you garden while traveling?

While keeping a garden in a moving vehicle may sound unwieldy and even impossible, many RVers do it with style and success. Space availability is the main limiting factor. Of course, if you park your RV and camp for an extended period, you will have more flexibility in this regard and can set up a container garden not only in but also around your vehicle.

Start small and then work your way up to edibles. Even a cache of succulents can brighten the interior of a motorhome or trailer and are low-maintenance. Decide on your goal and get cracking on some of these traveling garden ideas.

What to grow? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you have/had a garden at home and find yourself missing it as you wander the highways and byways. Houseplants are a great way to bring some green into your life. Most are easy to grow and require minimal care. The key issue when gardening in an RV is how to keep your plants in one piece while on the road.
Building shelves with holes in them to hold the containers or a bar or twine at the front to stabilize pots will keep those plants in place. Suction cup shower caddies make great planters and can simply stick to windows or the shower walls.

During travel, place containers of fresh herbs in the sink to keep them from tipping over and making a mess. Once you park for a time, you can move any that will thrive outdoors until it’s time to pull up stakes and get on the road again.

What to grow? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


How to garden in an RV? An interior mobile garden that provides herbs and produce is a winning idea. Not only does it cut down on grocery bills but the process is rewarding.

Many of the crops commonly grown in a vegetable plot or kitchen garden can also easily be grown in containers that can be transported with you wherever you go. You can grow a wide range of salad crops, herbs, and even plenty of other fruits and vegetables.

To maximize space, you need to think on the vertical axis as well as the horizontal one. This idea incorporates a range of thinking and practical methods known as ‘vertical gardening’.

What to grow? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Vertical gardening is all about making the most of the vertical space as well as the ground area square footage of your RV. One of the easiest ways to incorporate a vertical gardening solution in your RV is to create vertical garden structures that can be hung from cupboard doors, walls, and other vertical surfaces. Such hanging gardens often have a series of pockets that can be used for planting. Purchasing (or making) a fabric shoe organizer and hanging that in your RV, then filling it with plants rather than shoes, is one way to get started.

What to grow? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Another idea is to create a wooden framework with wire loops that can be used to support a series of plant pots. Likewise, you could use a series of hooks to hang a range of containers using the same principles as the hanging baskets that you see outside many homes.

Interior plants need plenty of sunlight, so purchasing a grow light can get the traveling garden off to a good start. If your home-on-wheels has window shelves, buy or make a planter to fit and park so the sunlight streams in on your plants.

What to grow? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Self-watering pots are available from several stores and online retailers. You can find self-watering containers in every size and shape imaginable, from large planters to small houseplant containers to window boxes.

If you frequently set up camp for long periods, you can make or purchase larger containers for items like tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, beans, or peas. Some of the simplest containers are five-gallon buckets with holes punched in the bottom.

What to grow? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A garden box mounted on the bumper of the vehicle is another way to grow larger produce. Even large plastic totes make great containers. Choose varieties of produce with a short seed to harvest time. Use good potting soil and keep plants watered since container-grown plants dry out quickly. Feed your plants frequently. Consider placing plants on a wagon or casters so you can easily move them around the campsite and catch the most sun. It may take a little effort but keeping a garden while traveling is fun and rewarding.

What to grow? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


What to grow? Some plants grow better in containers than others. Keep this in mind when selecting plants to grow and make sure your container is of an appropriate size before planting. Here are some ideas for what to grow in your RV garden.

What to grow? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Fruits: Strawberries can thrive in small containers making them great for RV travel. Other fruits that require more space but are still able to flourish in containers include cantaloupe, tomatoes, and even bananas!

Veggies: Mushrooms are relatively simple to grow in containers as are spinach and lettuce. Other vegetables that can be grown in containers include peppers, summer squash, cucumber, and potatoes.

What to grow? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Herbs: Introducing an herb garden into your RV can add some fresh flavor to your meals. Grow favorites like sage, thyme, basil, parsley, rosemary, and oregano.

Flowers: Flowers can add a burst of natural color to your RV letting you feel right at home no matter where you are. Grow favorites like alyssum, geraniums, violets, snapdragons, petunias, and poinsettias.

What to grow? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Other Considerations

Be sure to check into the constraints involved in moving plants over state lines. The laws and restrictions will depend on where you plan to travel in your RV. There are strict state and federal regulations regarding the movement of plants across particular state lines. States that rely heavily on a crop for revenue—potatoes in Idaho, citrus in California, corn in Minnesota—will fervently protect their land with strict plant regulations.

What to grow? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Some states regulate the transportation of plants and require that you declare any plants you bring across their borders to prevent plant pests and diseases from being spread to the state. For example, California’s rules are particularly strict.

Additionally, if you travel between the U.S. and Canada, you will need to declare any plants you bring into each country and potentially pay to have the soil inspected and declared free of pests.

What to grow? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

While you may be able to find space for plenty of containers, it is important to consider how much these will weight when filled with soil and water. Consider the weight of your extra cargo when planning for fuel and setting tire pressures and be sure not to exceed your RV’s carrying capacity.

What to grow? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When preparing your RV garden, it is important to make sure that all your plants and containers are secure and will not tip over or fall off during transit. Making sure plants are safe in transit can be as simple as stowing a range of containers in the base of your shower where they will keep each other upright and will not make a mess that is difficult to clear up. Smaller containers could also be stowed in a sink during short journeys.

Read Next: Best Parks and Gardens to Connect with Nature

Worth Pondering…

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.

—Luther Burbank