As surprising as it might seem, there are a number of safe plants for bearded dragons. You can even include some of them directly inside their enclosure!
This list of plants will give you a great place to start if you’re planning on adding vegetation into the mix.
Is It Possible To Keep Live Plants With Bearded Dragons?
Plants can be an excellent addition to your bearded dragon’s enclosure. The mix of humidity, heat, and reliable lighting can make many plants thrive.
Live plants offer an excellent opportunity to create an enriching environment for your bearded dragon. They provide new places to explore and can turn drab enclosures into natural habitats these pet lizards love. While plants can be messy and require more upkeep to keep healthy, many bearded dragon owners will tell you that the extra work is well worth it.
Safe Plants For Bearded Dragons
There are many advantages to including some safe plants in your bearded dragon’s habitat, but you can’t simply go to your local plant nursery and choose random cultivars. Bearded dragons love to munch on live plants, so selecting safe and healthy varieties is paramount.
Here are some of the best plants you can add to your beardie’s home.
1. Hoya Australis
Also known as “wax vine,” Hoya australis is an excellent and safe plant for bearded dragons. It’s a fast-growing vine that can reach lengths of 33 feet! Regular trimming makes it easy to manage while giving your lizard all the lush foliage they need.
Bearded dragons aren’t known to eat Hoya australis. However, they use it to climb and explore. The vines are sturdy, and the plant’s climbing nature makes shaping it a breeze.
Many reptile enthusiasts use it to wrap climbing branches, create a waterfall of leaves as a backdrop, and more. While pricey, the Hoya australis is a versatile plant that’s safe and easy to maintain.
You can’t go wrong with a Ficus plant. These small trees are a popular indoor plant that you often see in home goods stores and nurseries. They do well inside, and good lighting can make them thrive.
Ficus trees do best in pots. Simple sand and gravel substrate isn’t enough to support the branching roots. The good news is that you can easily move a potted Ficus around the habitat for cleaning and rearranging.
Bearded dragons do eat Ficus leaves occasionally. However, it’s not dangerous for them. It’s a safe live plant to eat that adds a burst of greenery to the space.
There are about 150 species of Echeveria plants, and the common species you’ll find in nurseries are completely safe for bearded dragons.
Echeveria plants are small succulents. They’re only a few inches in diameter and grow in beautiful rosette-style configurations. The leaves are thick, plump, and sturdy enough for your beardie to walk on.
You can find Echeveria in many colors, giving you plenty of opportunities to create a pop of color. The great thing about these succulents is that they’re low-maintenance. They don’t require much water, and the humidity and light misting are enough to keep them healthy.
4. Bolivian Wandering Jew
Here’s a thick plant that produces gorgeous dense foliage. It’s a mounding plant that develops vine-like tendrils that grow tightly against one another. The result is a mound or carpet of greenery that offers impressive coverage.
Like the other live plants on this list, Bolivian Wandering Jews are safe for bearded dragons to eat.
This plant requires rich, moist soil. In the right conditions, it grows relatively quickly. As a result, regular pruning is a must!
The good news is that you can keep those trimmings to start a new plant. Propagation is easy, and it won’t take long to get the lush look you want for your lizard’s enclosure.
Believe it or not, you can grow basil in bearded dragon habitats!
This popular herb grows best outdoors. However, the simulated environment you have in your lizard’s tank is perfectly suited for basil. It needs a lot of light, good humidity, and fast-draining soil.
The downside of basil is its taste. Bearded dragons love these plants! They give off a fantastic aroma that many lizards can’t resist.
It can be tough keeping basil around for a long time due to its delicate nature and the appetite of a hungry beardie. But with a healthy diet, you can keep your lizard satiated enough to limit snacking on this plant.
Another tasty herb, oregano is a leafy plant that gives off a pleasant aroma. It’s a good thing this plant is safe for bearded dragons, because these reptiles love to eat it!
Like basil, oregano is a delicate plant that hungry bearded dragons easily destroy. Therefore, providing your reptile with a healthy diet is a must if you want to keep oregano alive in its enclosure.
Oregano does well in warm and humid environments like your bearded dragon’s enclosure. It requires soil or substrate with excellent drainage.
7. Leatherleaf Sedge
Leatherleaf Sedge is a unique grass plant perfect for creating a desert-like environment. The rust-colored blades of grass are similar to what a bearded dragon might see in its natural habitat.
This is a great plant for bearded dragons for a couple of reasons. It’s too soft for lizards to crawl on, and they’ll likely avoid eating it. As a result, you have plenty of versatility in how you want to use the plant.
Leatherleaf Sedge can get unwieldy, so regularly trim it to avoid dense vegetation clumps. The best way to establish Leatherleaf Sedge is to grow it from seed. That can take some time, but the payoff is worth it.
8. Blushing Bride
Also known as Tillandsia ionantha, Blushing Bride is a low-maintenance live plant for bearded dragons that doesn’t require any soil whatsoever. It’s an air plant that pulls moisture from the air to stay healthy, so it can thrive in a humid environment like your bearded dragon’s enclosure.
The unique thing about Blushing Bride is that you can affix it to nearly any surface. Attach it to branches, glue it to a piece of decor, or stick it on the glass. Mist it every couple of weeks, and the plant will do just fine.
Blushing Bride is safe for bearded dragons to eat, and it’s a slow grower that doesn’t overcrowd your tank. It’s also beautiful and comes in many beautiful colors.
9. Hybrid Petunia
Petunias are iconic flowering plants that produce eye-catching blossoms. Wide color varieties are available, including pink, purple, and white.
This plant does best outdoors, and many bearded dragon owners prefer to use them in outdoor play areas rather than primary enclosures. However, you can set up the right conditions to watch your hybrid petunia bloom in a closed habitat.
This plant requires a lot of water and full sun. Both requirements are manageable, but hybrid petunias need a vigilant hand to stay healthy.
Don’t worry: The petunia blooms and leaves are perfectly safe for bearded dragons to eat.
10. Resurrection Plant
This unique plant goes by many names. You might see it called the “Rose of Jericho.” Whatever you call it, there’s no denying it’s a compelling plant.
This shrub-like cultivar gets its name from its tolerance to drought. When it goes for extended periods without water, the plant curls in on itself to create a dry ball. Most sellers ship the resurrection plant in that dry form.
Soaking the balled-up plant in water for several hours brings it back to life, revealing its curly green leaves. You can grow the resurrection plant in water most of the time, but it will need some out-of-water periods to stay healthy.
11. Prickly Pear Cactus
This cactus is a beautiful and nutritious addition that many reptile enthusiasts love to grow. Spineless varieties are available, but standard variants can also be used. Of course, you’ll have to pluck out the spines to ensure that your bearded dragon avoids injury.
New spines continue to grow, so regular plucking is necessary. Fortunately, removing the spines doesn’t harm the prickly pear cactus.
The best thing about growing this plant is that it’s edible and can actually be a great part of your bearded dragon’s diet. It’s a nutritious treat akin to fruits and vegetables. Having a supply growing within your bearded dragon’s habitat is always a plus.
Nasturtiums are trailing plants that produce colorful flowers. Every part of the plant is edible and safe for bearded dragons.
One compelling thing about nasturtiums is that they’re fast-growing and hardy. If your beardie consumes a good portion of the plant, it can continue thriving. Nasturtiums are available as perennials, but most reptile keepers use the annual varieties.
Even if your lizard destroys the plant entirely, it’s not a big deal when dealing with annuals. You can grow them again and take advantage of their trailing branches to create a beautiful backdrop.
Bromeliads are colorful plants that thrive in enclosed environments. They don’t require a ton of water and can do fine without full sunlight.
This plant belongs to the same family as pineapples, and that relationship is evident through the unique growth pattern of the leaves. Taller stalks full of color sprout from the middle of the plant, and larger leaves surround it.
The leaves are durable and can withstand bearded dragon munching. They’re so tough that most beardies will learn to avoid eating the plant entirely, making it a long-lasting plant.
14. Ponytail Palm
This appropriately named plant features long blade-like leaves that sprout from the top of a thick trunk. The leaves fall to the sides, creating that signature ponytail look.
Despite the appearance, ponytail palms aren’t actually trees. They’re more like succulents, using the bulbous trunk-like base to store water. These plants don’t need a lot of water and should be dried out between waterings.
Naturally slow-growing, ponytail palms are long-lasting. They do fine without regular sunlight, but the simulated light in your bearded dragon’s enclosure may cause it to flourish faster than expected. In some cases, they can grow several feet tall.
Here’s yet another herb that can do well in bearded dragon enclosures. The plant is thin and delicate, producing flavorful leaves that lizards love to munch.
The reason why reptile keepers love parsley as a plant for bearded dragons is that it’s nutritious. Compared to other ornamental plants, parsley is one of the healthier food items to provide. Many bearded dragon owners already provide parsley as part of their lizards’ diet, so why not grow some in the habitat?
Haworthia plants are one of the more popular cultivars to grow in enclosures. They’re succulents and do well growing indoors.
These plants are hardy, don’t require much water, and are safe for bearded dragons. They don’t take up a lot of space, producing a small rosette of leaves that are only a few inches across.
At first glance, it’s easy to mistake Haworthia for Aloe Vera. They have similarly thick leaves that grow in points. However, Haworthia has soft spikes and raised stripes. Many varieties of Haworthia exist, and most are safe for bearded dragons.
17. Dwarf Jade
Dwarf jades, not to be confused with the jade plant, are safe plants for bearded dragons. Standard jade plants are mildly toxic, so be aware of what you’re buying before you add it to the enclosure.
This plant produces egg-shaped leaves. They’re thick and juicy, sprouting from red fleshy stems. In the wild, dwarf jades can grow pretty big.
But regular pruning in a reptile enclosure keeps them small and compact. Dwarf jade plants do best in succulent potting mix or substrate with sand and gravel. They grow slowly and can live for many years with proper care.
18. Japanese Sago Palm
The Japanese sago palm is a great addition to larger enclosures. While it doesn’t take up much room, the large leaves have an impressive spread.
The arched branches sprout from a thick, stubby trunk. From the branches grow glossy leaves with a deep green color. It’s a beautiful plant that has a lot to offer bearded dragons.
Not only is it sturdy enough to climb, but the coverage of those leaves provides excellent shelter.
This plant needs decent humidity levels, warm temperatures, and indirect light, making it perfect for a bearded dragon habitat.
19. Aloe Plant
Last but not least, we have the Aloe plant. There are about 500 different species of Aloe. Some of them have spikes, but they’re not known to cause problems for bearded dragons.
Like other succulents, Aloe has thick leaves full of moisture. This plant has a long history of medicinal use, and the thick gel from the leaves is said to have many health benefits. Bearded dragons like to nibble on Aloe.
For the most part, that’s not a problem. However, eating too much can cause diarrhea due to the moisture content. Be mindful of how your bearded dragon interacts with the plant.
Plants To Avoid
Now that you know some safe plants for your bearded dragon, let’s discuss some you should avoid. Bearded dragons are naturally curious creatures and will often chew on plants, not knowing whether they’re safe or not. It’s your job to avoid placing anything in their habitat that could cause problems.
Many plants pose potential health risks. Some contain harmful compounds that could cause issues when eaten by your bearded dragon. The effects vary.
For some plants, only the leaves or flowers are toxic. For others, it’s the entire plant! Eating those compounds could lead to digestive troubles, organ damage, and even death in some cases.
Some plants to avoid include:
- Poison Ivy
There are plenty more. Do your research, and avoid anything that’s remotely toxic. If you’re unsure, the best thing you should do is stick to one of the plants above that are known to be safe.
The Importance Of Avoiding Chemicals & Pesticides
Don’t assume that a safe plant is 100 percent fine to go into your bearded dragon’s enclosure. While the plants we went over are inherently safe, there’s always a chance they might have chemicals on them.
Many nurseries and big-box stores treat plants with chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, and more. Those treatments aim to keep plants healthy, but they’re not safe for bearded dragons.
Chemicals can wreak havoc on your beardie’s system. Consuming a chemical-laden leaf can cause immeasurable health problems. But that’s not all.
Those plants can leach chemicals into the soil or substrate, turning your bearded dragon’s enclosure into an unsafe environment! Be wary of where you get your plants and what treatments the sellers use.
Ideally, you should buy plants from all-natural nurseries or sellers who specialize in plants for reptiles. But if you can’t do that, you can take steps to clear your plant before introducing it into the habitat.
Let new plants live outside the enclosure for several weeks or months. During that time, the chemicals will weaken and wear off. It should be safe if you don’t treat it anymore.
After introducing the plant to the habitat, avoid using any chemical fertilizers. Organic fertilizers are available, but it’s best to rely on environmental conditions to keep your plants healthy.
These safe plants for bearded dragons can be a great option to include if you’re looking to add some greenery into your setup.
But remember, always err on the side of caution. Be sure there aren’t any pesticides and chemicals, and keep an eye on your beardie to make sure they don’t consume an unhealthy amount of whatever plant you choose.