Including plants in a terrarium with reptiles adds a beautiful living touch. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but the reptiles and houseplants will benefit each other in your mini-ecosystem. It is important to only include non-toxic reptile-safe plants in case your terrarium critters nibble on them!
Let’s take a look at some great choices of plants for a terrarium that includes reptiles. We will also explore how they are mutually beneficial to each other.
Indoor Plants for Reptiles
It is especially important to know which houseplants are toxic if you have any reptiles or other animals that are herbivores or omnivores. Get to know exactly which reptile you will have in your terrarium because the tolerance of ingesting certain plants can vary depending on the species of plant, and the animal. Check with wherever you purchased your reptile and ask about this information to be absolutely safe.
For reptiles that are herbivores or omnivores which may nibble on vegetation, some good choices of plants for a terrarium include:
- Dracaena species
- Geranium (Pelargonium)
- Echeveria species
For terrariums where your resident reptiles do not eat any vegetation, you can consider the following:
- Bromeliads (including earth star)
- Sansevieria species
Note that some plants are high in oxalic acid and will be OK if eaten in smaller amounts. That being said, it may cause some trouble if your reptile eats too much. These include pothos and Monstera.
Reptiles and Houseplants
Besides being beautiful to look at, why do houseplants make good choices in a terrarium that has reptiles? The animal waste from your reptiles breaks down into ammonia, then into nitrite, and lastly into nitrate. This is called the nitrogen cycle. Nitrate build-up is toxic to animals, but the plants in the terrarium will use up the nitrate and keep the terrarium in good shape for your reptiles.
Houseplants will also help to maintain the air quality in the terrarium, increase humidity, and add oxygen to the air.
In the end, be sure to check the specific needs of each reptile that you will be including in your terrarium to be safe. Check with your veterinarian and the place you purchased your animals from. This will ensure that you will have both a beautiful and functional terrarium!