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Plants to keep in chameleon’s terrarium

Plants and trees make chameleons happy. It plays a significant role in the cage decoration as well as for your chameleon’s health. They bring the natural environment to your pets. They also play a major role in your chameleon’s life cycle.

Importance of plants and trees in chameleon’s cage

The three main reasons why plants and trees are used in the chameleon’s cage are for
⦁ Climbing
⦁ Hiding
⦁ Drinking water

Chameleons are rarely found on the floor, and they are tree lovers. They always climb the tree and hide in between the leaves if they are threatened. It is their nature to climb and to hide to be safe from other predators. Without trees and plants in the cage, your chameleon won’t feel safe, which will shorten its life span.

Chameleons won’t drink water from a bowl. In the forest, dewdrops in the leaves are the source of their drinking water. You have to create the same environment in the cage. For this purpose, misting is done, and chameleons drink the water which is in the leaves. Without plants, they don’t even drink, and they become dehydrated.

What plants to use

You can either use fake plants or live plants. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. When you use artificial plants, your chameleon will miss how it feels to be surrounded by natural plants and trees.

Using live plants have more advantages than disadvantages. They are,

⦁ Maintain a humidity level of the cage
⦁ Provides fresh air
⦁ Increases the oxygen level in the cage

With live plants in the cage, it is enough if you mist the cage twice per day as the plants maintain the air’s moisture. The shedding and respiratory problems won’t occur if the humidity is maintained, but artificial plants won’t provide this.

Despite these advantages, there is a chance for bacterial infections because plants provide the environment for bacterial growth as well because of the stagnant water in the pot.

Due to this reason, you have to roughly clean the cage daily and remove the stagnant water and a deep clean once a month. You can use the combo of live plants and fake plants to link the branches.

How to choose live plants

The factors that you have to consider while buying a plant are,
⦁ Non-toxic
⦁ Maintainable
⦁ Size and growth
⦁ No sharpy leaves and thorns
⦁ Strong enough for climbing
⦁ Shouldn’t burst seeds

Unfortunately, there is no specific research that stays about the plants which are toxic to chameleons. So what we can do is to avoid all the plants which are toxic by nature. When your chameleon chews any leaves and falls ill, then try to change the plant.

How to choose a plant

You have to come up with a cage plan like what type of plants you want and what plant covers the walls, which serves as the centrepiece and bushy plants used for hiding purpose by chameleons and attractive plants that make your cage beautiful.

Roughly draw a diagram and make a plan about the cage and stick to it.

What type of plants to use for different purposes

I would recommend you have wall hangings covering the sides of the cage, a center quite big tree and branches that serve as a hiding spot, trailing plants where chameleons can drink water, accent plants that give brightness to the cage.

Ficus Benjamina Chameleon


Recommended plants that are commonly used for chameleon’s cage:

For wall cover/ Hanging plants

  1. GOLDEN POTHOS
  2. GRAPE IVY
  3. WANDERING JEW
  4. BOSTON FERN

Big plants as a centrepiece/foliage plants

  1. FICUS BENJAMINA
  2. DRAGON TREE
  3. PARLOR PALM
  4. ARECA PALM
  5. SCHEFFLERA TREE
  6. CORN PLANT
  7. RUBBER PLANT
  8. ASPIDISTRA PLANT
  9. HIBISCUS
  10. YUCCA PLANT
  11. SWISS CHEESE PLANT
  12. JAPANESE ARALIA

Accent plants

  1. BROMELIAD
  2. TI PLANT
  3. WAX BEGONIA
  4. PETUNIAS
  5. EASTER CACTUS

Where to get the plants

You can get the plants from the local nursery. I recommend you not to get the plants online because you don’t know about the fertilizers and pesticides they use for the plants.

If you get it from the nursery, you can directly ask about the fertilizers and pesticides they are using, and you can avoid the plants if they use some highly chemical content pesticides. Hand-picked plants are far better than the online ordered plants.

After buying the plants, do this:

After buying the plant, gently rinse them with water or even soak them in water to eliminate the pesticides. I also recommend changing the pot for the plant.

One or two foliage plants in the centre. If you use more, the cage will be entirely enclosed with bushy leaves.

Hang baskets on opposite sides of the cage and opposite the heat lamp.
One Climber plant encloses the walls of the cage. You can manually spiral it along the walls or even on the floor of the cage.

Accent plants are not essential. They are mainly used to bring attractiveness to the cage. Use one or two and keep it on the floor of the cage.

You should fill the cage, but at the same time, it should not be crowded. You have to understand the plants’ purpose and how it helps for your chameleon, as previously mentioned. If you know the purpose, then it will be easier to set the cage.

Plant care tips

Taking care of plants is as important as you take care of your chameleon. You should water the plants properly and provide proper sunlight and natural fertilizers.

You should water them only when the pot is dry. The soil should be moist but not soaked with water. Failing this will encourages bacteria growth. Every time you water the plant, notice the soil.

Plants which survive in low light conditions are more suitable for the cage. The heating lamp and UVB lights are more than enough for those types of plants. If possible, place your cage nearer the window as it benefits your plant and your chameleon because nothing is as good as the natural sunlight.

Use organic soil and soil mixtures because it won’t affect your chameleon. Avoid using pesticides; instead, use organic ones. Go organic should be the complete theme of your pet’s cage.

The average cost of live plants

Plant Cost
Pothos $15-23
GRAPE IVY  $8-35
WANDERING JEW $6-10
BOSTON FERN $20-40
FICUS BENJAMINA $50 -100
DRAGON TREE $15-25
PARLOR PALM $15-50
BROMELIAD $20-45
TI PLANT $15-20
ARECA PALM $14-200