Chameleons are fascinating and attractive creatures that need careful handling. Chameleons live in the wild on trees, climbing and hiding among the leaves. They are native to the African rainforests and deserts.
A decent vivarium for your chameleon should mimic the environmental factors that these lizards would experience in their native habitat, including the right humidity, heat, lighting, and temperature. Particularly for chameleons, plant selection influences humidity needs.
Unlike other lizard species, chameleons do not get their water by drinking. They instead consume the water droplets that land on the leaves. They maintain the tank’s humidity while purifying the air, giving your lizard a healthy and natural habitat. Additionally, plants assist your chameleon feel comfortable in hiding spots, and because chameleons want to be left alone, this reduces tension in the animal.
This makes having plants in your chameleon’s terrarium virtually essential, therefore picking secure ones should be your first concern. The dos and don’ts of selecting the plants for your chameleon’s terrarium are all explained in this article.
Why Plants Are Important in a Chameleon Habitat?
Plants are a crucial part of creating high-quality chameleon burrows. Numerous beneficial functions are performed by living plants inside the environment.
Most chameleons in the wild spend the majority of their time crawling into and hiding behind vegetation. If you replicate anything natural in your chameleon’s tank, they will be most content.
Are Artificial Plants Ok For Chameleons?
While having fake plants in your chameleon’s habitat isn’t necessarily bad, there are a lot more benefits to having actual plants.
However, some artificial plants are a safe alternative because they don’t contain harmful chemicals. Furthermore, they are durable enough for your chameleon to climb and you don’t have to take care of them. However, live plants will help keep the air clean and manage the humidity in your chameleon’s cage.
Your chameleon cannot consume artificial plants, therefore they are deprived of the opportunity to complement their insect-based diet with additional nutrients. Your chameleon could believe they are genuine plants even if they are made of plastic because of their color and feel, which could result in ingestion and other stomach problems.
Artificial plants are OK to use as ornaments, but they will never be able to fully replace the advantages that genuine plants bring to your chameleon’s cage. Real plants should be used in your lizard’s cage as the advantages of doing so outweigh those offered by artificial plants.
13 Suitable Plants for Chameleons
The plants listed below are secure and appropriate for use in chameleon habitats.
Pick plants that will suit your lifestyle, your lizard’s preferences, and your ability to properly care for them.
To offer your chameleon a home that most nearly resembles its native habitat, aim for a variety of robust, woody plants, trailing vines, and other intriguing flora.
The yucca plant looks tropical and is tough, making it a fantastic addition to your chameleon’s habitat.
Yuccas are native to semi-arid regions in the southern United States and Central America. They can withstand extreme heat well and adapt well to many conditions.
Their dense vegetation both filters the air and offers chameleons a variety of hiding places. Compared to other plants, its tree-like trunks make it simple for chameleons to climb up and down them.
It is acceptable for chameleons to eat yucca and to drink the water drops created on their leaves, despite the fact that it is not their preferred food due to their large, prickly, and thick leaves.
Yucca plant care instructions.
Yucca plants require little maintenance. They don’t need any particular type of soil, other than that it drains properly to prevent root rot. However, adding organic soil in place of the original will make it risk-free for your chameleon to be near the yucca plant.
Yuccas are exceptionally drought tolerant, adaptable plants that you may trim to the size you need without worrying about damaging them. The only drawback is that yucca plants’ development can be extremely unexpected since as soon as the trunk is severed, another plant immediately sprouts from the spot where the trunk was removed.
Partially shaded conditions provide the best illumination for yucca plants. Every day, give them access to a few sunny hours without keeping the area in the sun. Your yucca is definitely getting too much sun if it turns yellow.
The Golden Pothos, commonly known as Devil’s Ivy, is my all-time favorite chameleon enclosure plant, so I’m going to start things off with it. It’s called thus because killing one is so difficult. I tried so hard to kill my own one, but it resisted.
Not only is it hard to destroy, but it’s also fantastic for your chameleon since it offers terrific foliage for shelter. If your chameleon like eating plant stuff, it will even love the occasional nibble on it, and they grow extremely fast and readily.
Additionally, the vines that dangle from the hanging basket’s sides provide as a great climbing structure for your chameleon. I frequently observed my chameleon gracefully ascending the trailing vines of his pothos.
Weeping fig, or Ficus Benjamina, is the ideal plant for a chameleon’s habitat. Due to their durability and adaptability, weeping figs are among the most popular indoor plants.
No matter how big they get, Ficus Benjamina keep their tree form. Because they are fairly sturdy, your chameleon may climb and hide in them with ease. They mimic the natural environment of chameleons and their leaves are not poisonous to lizards.
Care instructions for weeping figs
Weeping figs are rather simple to take care of. It is not advisable to expose them to direct sunlight since they prefer strong indirect or filtered light. Your ficus should be moved to a darker area of the terrarium if it begins to lose leaves since it is likely exposed to too much light.
However, because ficus don’t like to be moved about often, it is preferable to select a nice location for them right away. Although your chameleons are also highly sensitive to cold temperatures, this shouldn’t be an issue because ficus trees are.
Despite its preference for surroundings above 70°F, ficus trees should never be kept in temps below 60°F. Additionally, they require a humid climate, which is ideal for your chameleon.
The Schefflera Tree’s green leaves drop down of its stalks like an umbrella covering a little animal, earning it the nickname “dwarf umbrella tree.”
They enjoy humid, tropical environments, which is ideal for chameleons as they only consume plant-derived water droplets. Be cautious while handling them even though they are completely safe for chameleons because they can irritate canines, felines, and even some human skin.
Rubber trees are also ficus trees, much like the weeping fig. The scientific name for rubber plants, Ficus elastica, refers to the size and exceptional flexibility of the leaves. Rubber trees are a fantastic choice for your terrarium due to their profusion of foliage and sturdy construction.
They are fairly sturdy, and your chameleon will find it quite simple to climb them due to their large leaves and structure. When your pet doesn’t want to be noticed, they can make excellent hiding places. Additionally, they require no extra maintenance and can adapt to different living situations.
The drawback of rubber trees is that excessive consumption might make your chameleon somewhat poisonous. To lessen the chance of drunkenness, you should keep an eye on how much of the plant your chameleon consumes.
The rubber tree, or Ficus Elastica, dislikes direct sunshine just like the Ficus Benjamina. Instead, it favors filtered or indirect light. Rubber trees should thrive in humid conditions since they need water. By keeping an eye on its leaves, you may determine whether your rubber tree is properly adjusting to the humidity levels in your vivarium.
There is no need to be concerned if they are green and appear healthy. On the other hand, if your rubber tree’s leaves are turning yellow or dropping off, the humidity is too high.
The Compact Dragon Tree, also known as Dracaena Compacta, is a common choice for chameleon homes.
Compacta is a very eye-catching addition to your tank because to its dark green leaves and closely packed arrangement.
This type is perfect for use in vivaria since it grows slowly and doesn’t reach too tall.
This plant is exceptionally hardy, with thick, canes that resemble a tree trunk and sustain climbing lizards.
Lighting: Dracaena plants are occasionally praised for tolerating shade. However, you could discover that “shade tolerating” and “shade loving” are not the same thing in actual practice. Compactas may thrive in environments without a lot of bright light, but without adequate UV light, they will start to exhibit signs of stress.
Dracaena types require healthy drainage in both soil and water. Although they are rather resilient, they don’t handle overwatering well. In actuality, you may wait until the soil is totally dry in between waterings. Plant them in loose, freely draining soil.
General Care Advice: These plants take time to show signs of issues. Yours will probably keep looking excellent for a while if you don’t properly care for it. Then, apparently out of nowhere, your dracaena will begin to rapidly deteriorate. It’s difficult to catch up at this point and rescue the plant. It’s crucial to take proper care of these adorable tiny trees because of this.
For a hanging basket, this plant is a lovely and more vibrant choice. Its name refers to the fact that it may move about because of its rapid development and adaptability to practically any environment. The moniker was created because this conjured up images of ancient Jewish people.
Their fast growth, consistent long stem production, and lovely purple foliage provide your chameleon’s cage a burst of color.
Chameleons occasionally eat plant stuff for food. A hibiscus plant provides your home with lovely flowers as well as a tasty treat for your pet. You will need to be rather selective in how you cultivate them because they may grow very big when kept in captivity.
But it’s fun to see your cute chameleon change colors when it’s near the plant’s blossoms since they come in a variety of vivid hues.
In addition to having beautiful blooms, hibiscus bushes make a highly healthy food addition for your chameleon. The blooms contain a significant quantity of vitamin C, which is beneficial to offset your chameleon’s insect-based diet and are entirely safe for them to eat. They feature sturdy shrubs as well, giving your pet ideal places to hide and climb.
Bromeliads, which have a really unusual look, are a great choice for your chameleon’s cage. Despite being well-known for their beautiful flower, bromeliads only bloom at the end of their lives. But bromeliads are quite simple to care for and will add life to your lizard’s tank, whether they are young and green or flowering in their final months.
Your chameleon may hide in a bromeliad since they are thick enough. They are a very safe alternative to have in your lizard’s tank because they are also highly resilient. Additionally, their leaves are sturdy enough to hold your chameleon.
Your chameleon habitat gains a rich, exotic feel from jade plants. Plus, your lizard can climb on their sturdy stems thanks to their woody composition.
Jade plants, a fleshy succulent, may overrun even extremely large terrariums, therefore keep these lovely plants pruned.
Lighting: Jade plants require many hours of daily strong, direct light. Put them in a location where your UV setup will provide them with a lot of reliable coverage. To make sure their Jade plants are receiving adequate light, some individuals move them to a sunny window every day (or at least once every few days).
Water and Soil: Jade plants don’t require a lot of water because they are succulents. In fact, especially during the winter, they seem to be happiest when you don’t give them any water at all. Before you water your Jade plant again at this period, let the soil on it dry out.
Keep the soil moist for the remainder of the year (but not wet). The sodium in a lot of tap water can be harmful to jade plants, therefore many experts will advise you to use distilled or filtered water instead.
General Care Advice: Jade plants may be kept in the same container for up to five years before being replanted, and they don’t mind having compact root systems. Repotting them more frequently will encourage rapid growth. If you want shorter, more compact Jades for your chameleon’s tank, keep this in mind.
Boston ferns provide thick foliage in hanging basket style so your chameleon may conceal itself if necessary. Large, feather-like leaves on it are excellent for gathering water. Despite lacking the other hanging baskets’ lengthy trailing vines, they nonetheless offer a considerable amount of foliage cover.
All ferns need a fair amount of humidity, which makes them ideal for chameleon enclosures. If the Boston Fern appeals to you, order one from Amazon.
The Areca is listed highly among indoor plants that produce oxygen on most scientific lists, therefore I decided to include it as one of the finest non-toxic plants for chameleons. Chameleons are used to the vivid, air-rich jungles.
Your pet will remain healthy if you have an easy-to-care-for indoor plant that increases the air quality in your house or apartment. The Areca’s robust, closely-packed stems make them excellent water catchers when misted. Your chameleon will happily pass the time sitting within the enclosure in the deep vegetation and patiently consuming water.
The roaming jew gives your chameleon’s terrarium a bit extra color. This hanging plant can flourish in just about any setting you give it access to.
Expect this to be your pet’s preferred hiding place since they tend to grow very thickly. The vibrant green and purple leaves are ideal base colors for your chameleon to change its camouflage to suit the situation.