Houseplants Safe for Reptiles

One of the pleasures of owning a reptile is creating an attractive vivarium for your pet to enjoy, frequently including live plants. Raising food for herbivorous reptiles is another interesting challenge. Whenever you are purchasing or growing plants for use around your reptiles there are a few very important things to keep in mind. Most plants you purchase have been treated with a variety of pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers. The residues of these chemicals in or on the plants may be harmful to your pet even if the plants themselves are nontoxic. Take care to purchase plants only from a reputable nursery or organic farm that raises its own stock, and ask about chemical treatments used on the plants. Also pay attention to the soil the in which the plant is potted. Perlite, a white, Styrofoam-like pellet, is found in many potting soils, and can cause impactions in some reptiles if ingested in large quantities. Whenever feeding plants to your reptiles, always monitor their droppings, weight, appetite, and water consumption. Look for signs such as salivation, rubbing the mouth or face, or changes in breathing and contact your veterinarian if any unusual behaviors are noted.

Edible Plants for Herbivorous Reptiles

Common Name Scientific Name Edible Portion
Astilbe Astilbe spp.
Carnation (Pinks) Dianthus spp. petals
Dahlia Dahlia flowers
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale leaves, flowers
Ficus benjamina leaves
Geranium Pelargenium spp. flowers, leaves
Hibiscus Hibiscus rosa-sinensis flowers, leaves
Johnny jump-ups Viola tricolor spp. flowers
Pansies Viola tricolor hortensis flowers

Common Houseplants Considered Safe for Reptile Vivaria

Ficus (Ficus benjamina) Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) – high in oxalic acid, may cause oral irritation if ingested in large quantities. Philodendron (Monstera spp.) – high in oxalic acid, may cause oral irritation if ingested in large quantities. Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) – sap may be a skin irritant The above lists are by no means complete. For further information on safe and toxic plants for reptiles, the reader is referred to the following website: