Is cardening a good idea? What you need to do about the new plant trend

Is the cardening trend wonderful or wacky? There may be a way to do it right, but it's quite different from dashboard cacti

Have you heard of 'cardening'? If you have, you most likely thought one of two things: either 'this is ridiculous', or 'I'm off to my local plant nursery to get some cacti for my dashboard'. Before you dash off to get the best indoor plants, though (sorry), you should consider whether it's such a good idea to use your car interior as a planter. 

Cardening idea from Bristol Street Motors

Cardening idea from Bristol Street Motors

(Image credit: Bristol Street Motors)

Cardening is exactly what you think it is – gardening in cars, and it has been trending on social media for several months now. From planting up the glove compartment area with succulents to hanging plants instead of a car freshener, these mini gardens really push the boundaries of indoor gardening ideas

Technically, there's nothing wrong with cardening where the plants are concerned. If your car is typically parked in a sunny spot, cacti and succulents will do just find in there, and they won't mind the temperature fluctuations between day and night. Whether cardening is quite so good for your car – or you, for that matter – is a different question. 

Mini macrame plant hanger for car, Etsy

(Image credit: Etsy)

Unsurprisingly, the cardening trend has already attracted much ridicule from car owners on social media, who have questioned the convenience, and indeed safety, of having soil and plants inside your car. As one Twitter user summarized the general sentiment, 'What's more of a concern......being too close to an airbag deploying in an incident or being too close to an arrangement of spikey cacti????'

The Guardian has echoed the concerns, albeit in a jocular tone: 'Did you tell your insurance company your view was blocked by begonias?' 

Potential injuries or problems with car insurance are very valid concern where it comes to the new cardening trend, and you should think twice before filling up your car with prickly plants. If you are intrigued by the idea of creating a plant display in a vehicle, there may be a better way to do it – the Japanese way. 

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As Twitter user Allie Gyleese points out, the 'Japanese have been doing' cardening for a while, creating mind-bending plant displays using old trucks. However, these displays are very much stationary and show an ingenious way to utlizie an old vehicle. And even if someone was to drive a truck with a Zen-style garden at the back of it, there is nothing inside blocking the driver's view or compromising their safety. 

Looks like too much work? Browse out container gardening ideas instead – because there's actually nothing wrong with creating a display with regular pots. 

Anna Cottrell
Anna Cottrell

In 2018 Anna moved into the world of interiors from academic research in the field of literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a special interest in city life, decorating small spaces, and urban gardening.  

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