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A craze is sweeping the car community, and it has nothing to do with horsepower, infotainment, or fuel-efficiency. As the pandemic left people looking for ways to pass the time, some took up a different kind of gardening. Enter “cardening.” This fad has people using their cars‘ interiors to plant gardens, and it’s drawn some attention in recent months.

So, how can you start a car garden, and what are its benefits?

What is cardening? 

The basic concept behind cardening is in the name. According to The Guardian, the name is a new creation, although some obscure references popped up as early as 2007. In fact, the concept of car gardens goes back nearly as long as cars do. On the Smithsonian Gardens blog, the educational gardening community noted that some people planted gardens in their cars not to be efficient but to mask odors. 

Furthermore, the Volkswagen Beetle included vase options to certify its status as the official car of the flower power generation. With a history going back nearly as far as Henry Ford’s invention, the new iteration is the most functional yet. So whether someone is a gardening hobbyist or wants to try a new pastime, there are valid reasons behind gardening. 

Gardening may have had its biggest year of the 21st century in 2020. With everyone building sourdough starters and learning how to knit, bartend, draw, paint, or anything else to decompress during the pandemic, cardening was one of the fascinating inventions. However, just because it’s strange and different doesn’t mean it lacks practical use. 

Why you should try it

Evoke notes how cardening can make your car a unique reflection of you. However, there are scientific benefits to gardening. Plants are known to purify the air and absorb harmful toxins. As such, even a tiny car garden can make your car a healthier environment. Furthermore, the therapeutic nature of plants reduces stress and promotes attentiveness. 

People have gotten creative with cardening. Some have hung glass bulbs of plants from their rear-view mirrors (check the legality of that in your home state). Others have used their car’s cupholders and other crevices as gardening troughs. 

If you’re interested in making your car smell great and promoting a healthy environment, check out these cardening basics to ensure your hobby is safe and legal. 

Tips and tricks for creating a lush car garden

First off, carefully choose the plants you want to grow in your car, THV notes. Some thrive in the open air, while others grow better in more controlled environments. Make sure you use houseplants for the best results. From cacti to air plants, succulents, palms, and snake plants, varieties that are neither delicate nor need constant attention will grow best in cars, Wales Online notes. 

Furthermore, the above types of plants don’t need constant watering, so they don’t require much extra work each day before you drive off to work.

Also, choose the right area in your car to grow your garden. For example, concave dashboards work great for plants in need of direct sunlight. Or you could use your car doors or build a custom setup in the rear window. Whatever you decide, the key to a successful car garden is using your vehicle’s design to your advantage. After all, what works in an SUV might not work in a vintage VW Bug. 

Finally, be sure to look up safety regulations in your area to ensure you won’t get a ticket for a misplaced cactus or, worse, a planter that becomes a projectile in a crash.


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