When preparing your crested gecko’s and chameleon’s vivarium, beddings, lighting, and other artificial designs aren’t enough to keep their tanks as natural-looking as their original habitats. Chameleons and crested geckos don’t require much maintenance; therefore, it would be a good idea to exert all of your efforts in making their tanks as natural-looking as possible.
So, aside from beddings and lightings, adding in a live and non-plastic plant in their vivarium would keep them happy and make them live longer. In this article, we would be listing the best and safest plants for chameleons and crested geckos.
10 Decorative and Climbing Plants for Reptiles
Since chameleons and geckos have natural climbing behaviors, we would throw in several sturdy plants in the list, which are strong enough to support your reptile’s weight for your convenience. However, since not all plants are sturdy and small enough to fit in a terrarium, half of the list of plants would only be great for decorations, while the other half would be perfect for tall-large terrariums.
Now here is the list of plants for your reptile pets:
The pothos plant is a rapid-growing vine that has a vibrant green color and big leaves for climbing. When used for decorating your reptile’s vivarium, it would be best when it’s placed at the lower level of the tank to make a natural hiding spot for your pets. And since its vines are low-lying, it would evenly distribute the gecko’s and chameleon’s weight to prevent them from under their weight.
The great things about this plant are that it grows rapidly and can tolerate humid environments, which is what the chameleons and geckos require. Therefore, it’s a great addition to your pet’s tank.
Bird’s Nest Fern
This plant got its name because its leaves look quite similar to a bird’s nest. This unique plant is known for its rounded and wavy foliage growth, which is the reason why it appears like a nest. Since this plant could grow rapidly, it would be best to place it on the vivarium’s mid-ground as it grows tall and spreads wide.
However, the plant is not sturdy enough for your pets to climb on to, but it can live for a long time without much maintenance as long as the soil is kept moist. If your reptile’s tank is always lit with heating bulbs, make sure to always keep the plant’s soil moist to prevent the leaves from getting dried.
Chinese Evergreen Plant
If you want to add some style in your pet’s terrarium, the Chinese Evergreen plant would be the perfect plant that has style and color with low-maintenance. This plant could thrive best in moist environments, but it could be a great addition in your pet’s vivarium. However, since this plant could grow rapidly, it should only be placed in a large tank.
This plant has large fronds and would be sturdy enough to support your reptile’s weight while climbing. Chinese evergreens may thrive best in a moist environment, but they would also do great in high humid vivarium settings. It is also wilt-resistant as long as it has enough moist in its soil.
Croton Petra Plant
Adding more color in your pet’s vivarium is possible with this colorful plant. Its fronds are broad and highly variegated, which provides a very sturdy climbing structure for your little reptiles. This plant usually grows big, but it could be cut down until it fits inside your reptile’s vivarium. You can use this as one of the main structural plants in your pet’s tank.
Unlike the other previous plants mentioned above, this plant requires moderate maintenance. It could thrive in your pet’s high-humidity vivarium, but it could be affected by sudden environmental changes. The sudden drop and regrowth of the leaves are normal, so there’s no need to worry about it dying. They’re very tolerant in humidity, so it would work great in your pet’s tank with proper watering.
Sansevieria Snake Plant
The snake plant, or also known as Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, is a unique plant that has upright shoots that are shaped like a sword and has a bright green color. Since the plant’s leaves could grow quite tall, it could be tricky to place it in a small tank. Therefore, this plant is only recommended for tall and large terrariums.
The leaves of this snake plant can be an attractive addition to your reptile’s tank, but they aren’t ideal for climbing. Therefore, this mostly serves as a decorative plant in the tank, as well as a good hiding spot. In addition, the plant’s leaves are very hard to damage making it one of the hardiest plants on this article.
Now, this is a classic terrarium choice for reptile owners. The Dracaena fragrance, or also called as Jade Jewel, could thrive well and could be placed anywhere in the enclosure as this plant is a slow grower. It’s also low-maintenance and could tolerate any humidity levels, as long as it’s planted in a well-draining pot.
The leaves of the Jade Jewel are large and usually covered in green and white stripes. It can also support your reptile’s weight, making it ideal for their natural climbing behavior. In addition, it is also a hardy type of plant which makes it a great addition for reptile terrariums.
Here is another famous live plant option for your reptile’s terrarium. The bromeliads usually come in different varieties, therefore you could all kinds of bromeliad plants for your pet’s tank. One of the plant’s features, why it makes it so unique, is that it doesn’t require any soil to grow. In the wild, these plants grow at the tree’s side and don’t require too much maintenance.
When you place this plant at the side of a cork or woody base, it would create a sturdy background with colorful fronds and could even support your pet’s weight. This is a relatively hardy type of plant but would require a bit of effort when it comes to its planting stage. The maintenance of bromeliads will depend on its species, the air type bromeliad has the lowest maintenance.
The Alocasia Polly, or also called as Elephant Ears, are known for their fabulously large leaves. It also usually comes with bright coloration, such as silver-veined colors against the light green color. Some Polly plants also come in purple and red hues. It could be tricky in placing in small terrariums but still provides a striking appearance nonetheless.
When it comes to your pet’s basking session, the leaves of this plant are sturdy and large enough for them to bask on to. The stems are also strong enough to prevent drooping. However, this plant requires high maintenance and may not be ideal for beginners. It could thrive in terrarium environments but would require specific care to live inside the tank.
Lemon Button Fern
This plant got its name because of its lemon-scented and button-shaped leaves. This plant is best to be used as a background plant to add visual appearance, and to provide a Jurassic era-like environment. It’s tiny, but bright-looking button-shaped green leaves could help brighten up all kinds of reptile habitats. Therefore, this is a good decorative option for your gecko’s and chameleon’s vivarium.
Although attractive, the leaves aren’t sturdy enough to support your gecko or chameleon’s weight. But it does provide a good hiding spot for them. In addition, they are also very easy to maintain as they could thrive in humid environments. And as long as the plant’s soil is moist, the plant would stay bright and happy.
Creeping Fig Plant
This plant is mostly preferred as a background type of plant, rather than a climbing one. The creeping vine would thrive as a background plant in your pet’s terrarium, and it would act as a clinging vine that creeps on any types of surface that it can. This could be an attractive addition to your pet’s enclosure, however, it would require regular pruning to keep the plant in check.
As we’ve mentioned, the plant is only good to be used as a décor rather than an essential climbing plant for your pet. This is because the plant has small and delicate-looking green leaves. Like most of the plants in this article, the creeping fig plant is also a rapid grower and could live really well in humid environments. Therefore, this makes it an excellent filler plant but would require regular pruning.
The reason why we have listed real plants iof fake ones is that reptiles would prefer natural vegetation. For most reptile owners, they would surely agree that nothing can beat the way of using real branches and plants when setting up terrariums. In addition, most plants on the list above are low-maintenance which makes it a great choice for those who have busy schedules.
However, if you insist on using fake plants rather than the live ones, then we suggest that you get those from Exo Terra, Fluker’s, and Zilla.