10 Flowers to make your van garden colorful

Camping Van in the Outdoors
Camping Van in the Outdoors

What is a Van Garden

Simply put, a van garden is a mobile garden that you try and grow within your van itself. Living in a state of constant motion, such as in van life, can be a challenging lifestyle; however, the capturing beauty of nature and the allure of living on the edge make it all worth it.

If you have adapted the lifestyle and are looking to bring the beauty inside your van, you can do so by growing your own mini garden inside your moving home. That is essentially what a van garden is: a mini garden inside your mobile home.

While the idea of gardening inside a van might be challenging but with the right tips and tricks up your sleeve, it is very possible. You may wonder why anyone would actually bother with growing plants in their van.

Here’s a list of the benefits of having a van garden. 

  • Primarily, a van garden adds a layer of aesthetic beauty to your moving home
  • Plants work as air purifiers, which is something you need in such a closed small space like a van. 
  • Plants work as mood boosters

Planting Your Van Garden

When thinking about the how of it, you need to consider four major points; space, type of pot, sunlight, temperature. These are basically the four factors that you must consider when deciding on planting your van garden.

Space

One of the things you should keep in mind is that a van is constantly on the move. This means you need to secure your plants down so that they do not topple over when you’re driving.

In addition, you have limited space so you need to be smart about the location you choose to place the plants in.

Moreover, it is essential to ensure that your potted flowers are still removable. This is because your flowers will need some time outside of the van, when you are not on the move.

This helps get the flowers get adequate air circulation, sunlight, and for when you want to water them. Therefore, it is best to avoid nailing or gluing your pots into a fixed place.

Choosing the perfect spot for your pots

In case you are having a hard time figuring out where exactly to place your pots in the limited space available, following are ideas of where you could place the pots.

  1. Hang your flowers from your storage Cabinets by a hook. Using a suction cup hook or a nail hook you can easily hang a number of pots under the storage cabinets.
  1. Using magnets to keep your potted flowers in place is another viable option. Magnets are a savior in the van as they can hold kitchen utensils, keep drawers from moving while driving, and keep your potted flowers in place.
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You can get one of the strong magnets that hold up to 20 pounds. Find the spot you want to place your potted flower, screw a magnet there and you can screw the other to the flower pot. 

  1. You can use suction cups to hang your potted flowers by the window for better access to sunlight. 

 

Type of pot

Potted Dwarf Variety Petunias
Potted Dwarf Variety Petunias, perfect for van gardens

When you think about a beautiful potted flower, I am sure your mind goes to a beautiful ceramic pot. However, the thing about ceramic pots is that they break. And in a moving van you would want to avoid breakables.

Therefore, glass and clay pots have to go too. Hard plastic pots would not break but it is still rigid. You need something that could fit anywhere, even in tight or small spaces.

The best option is fabric pots for those two reasons. Also, fabric pots could be folded down when they are not being used.

Sunlight

When you live in a van, getting your flowers the sunlight they need is never a problem. However, you will need to give your flowers some time out of the van to get direct sunlight which is something they will need to produce more flowers.

If getting the flowers out of the van is not an option, consider parking in a space where the sunlight can hit the flowers directly through the window. And if you are still worried your plants are not getting enough sunlight, you can always consider growing lights as an alternative. 

Temperature

If you are someone who lives in a van full-time, you probably have your van heat-insulated also. Insulation helps keep the hot air from entering your van so that on hot days, your van stays cool on the inside.

Also, insulation will keep your van nice and warm on cooler nights. Likewise, this regulated temperature is very vital for your potted flowers. Since not all flowers can endure the temperature fluctuation, you need to keep the temperature regulated inside the van. 

10 Flowers To Easily Grow In Your Van

One question that is asked frequently when it comes to van gardening is What flowers are unchallenging to grow and are van lifestyle friendly? 

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1. Forget-Me-Nots 

Forget me nots
Stunning Forget me nots

Forget-me-nots are known for being short flowers, which are very suitable for small spaces like vans. These flowers should be grown from seeds and are considered low maintenance.

According to North Carolina State University, forget-me-nots need less than 12 inches of space to grow. Forget-me-nots come in many varieties, and each has its own characteristics and colors.

Most forget-me-nots are blue with a white or yellow iris. It’s recommended to plant seeds a few months before the last frost. Even if you live in strictly warm temperatures, the flowers’ blooming has to do with the length of the day, not the temperature.

2. Begonias

Begonias
Begonias

The best begonias for van life are wax, rex, and rhizomatous because they stay relatively small and are the easiest to care for. You can either find a nice potted begonia at a local gardening center or grow them yourself from seeds.

Some begonia species are very sensitive to cold, so you need to make sure that the space inside your van is at a comfortable temperature.

3. Sweet Alyssum 

Sweet Assylum
Sweet Assylum

Sweet Alyssum looks captivating as it produces beautiful, pink, purple, or white flowers. It is also very fragrant and will fill your van with a nice smell and clean air. 

Alyssum grown from cuttings will last longer than those grown from seeds. So it is always a better idea to get cuttings from your local nursery.

You can also check with a local gardening center to see which varieties will last the longest in your particular climate zone. 

 

4. Daisies

Daisies
Daisies

Daisies are probably most purchased as cut flowers; however, you can plant daisies in a container. One of the daisy hybrids that comes in an array of beautiful colors are the Gerbera daisies.

The fact that this variety comes in various dazzling colors allows you to match the daisies with the interior of your van. This is an added benefit you get with planting daisies.

You can choose to grow a Gerbera daisy yourself or get it from a gardening center. The Gerbera daisy will grow up to be around a foot tall and wide. This will light up your entire van garden with beautiful, radiant colors.

5. Marigolds

Marigolds
Marigolds

Marigolds are easy, low-maintenance, potted flowers that can also handle hot weather, nearly any type of soil, and direct sun. Also, what makes them great is that they are container plants that grow very quickly.

And they bloom gorgeous, yellow-orange flowers that will brighten up your van. Although some Marigolds grow upto three feet tall, smaller species like French and Signet Marigolds grow only 6-12 inches. This makes the latter the perfect size for a van-friendly container plant. 

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6. Dwarf Variety Petunia

Dwarf Variety Petunias
Dwarf Variety Petunias

The dwarf varieties are the best species of Petunia to grow inside a van. These include species like Dwarf Mexican Petunias and Katie Dwarf Petunias.

They grow between 6 and 12 inches in height. Also, they have the added advantage of being pests-resistant.

In addition, what makes Petunias even easier to keep is that they are mostly drought tolerant. So if you accidentally forget to water them they would not die right away. 

7. Impatiens

Impatiens
Impatiens

You know what are the perfect plants for hanging beneath your cabinet in the van? Impatiens are the right answer as they are commonly seen in hanging baskets also.

They might however take up more space than some other flowers since they grow up to 18 inches tall. You can grow them or get the flowers, already planted in pots and containers, from local garden centers.

8. Lobelia

Lobelia
Lobelia

Lobelia are one of the flowers that prefer cooler weather. They do not do well in super hot climates. You must be careful not to keep them for too long outside, especially when you are stopping at a desert!

Lobelias should be planted from seed and they can either be mounding or trailing. Consider getting a trailing Lobelia if you plan on hanging it. A mounding Lobelia would do best in a stationary container. 

9. Pansies 

Pansies
Pansies

Pansies come in a wide range of colors that can work with any color scheme. They are cool-weather plants. 

Pansies can be difficult to plant from seeds so it is preferable to buy them as established plants. They will grow up to around 9 inches tall and wide, making them the right size for your van garden.

10. Low-Maintenance Geraniums 

Low Maintanence Geraaniums
“The Barbers’ Garden: Trailing Geranium(Pelargonium)” by bill barber is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Geraniums come in a variety of astonishing colors such as; pink, white, red, and purple flowers, depending on the variety.

The best species for growing in a van is either the common Geranium or the Martha Washington Geranium. Geraniums are great for container life as they are best kept root-bound. 

The Therapeutic Effects of Colorful Flowers

Various scientific studies have concluded that having colorful flowers around you helps lighten your mood and decrease stress levels. The colorful aesthetic seems pleasing to humans and causes the brain to produce hormones that reduce stress and have a therapeutic effect on people.

This is why having a van garden is likely to help elevate your mood, increase productivity and be overall soothing for a stressed mind.

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