The crested gecko is native to New Caledonia (Correlophus ciliatus) and an arboreal gecko species. They spend most of their lives in trees, so it’s important to provide them with plenty of live plants in their vivariums.
Safe plants to put in your crested gecko’s vivarium include zebra plant, jade jewel, pothos, dracaena, zebra plant, Chinese evergreens, peace lilies, and different types of bromeliads. These plants provide your gecko with a place to climb, hide, and shelter under.
Are you setting up a crested gecko’s vivarium with live plants?
Plants are part of a crested gecko’s natural habitat. Since these geckos are arboreal, they climb trees and perch on stems and leaves to hunt for insects. Therefore, when setting up a crested gecko’s vivarium, it is a good idea to add plants to the tank.
Not all plants are safe for geckos and other reptiles, so be careful when choosing plants to put in your gecko’s tank. Choose only safe plants – edible and even non-edible plants.
Here are the benefits of setting a crested gecko’s vivarium with live plants:
- They provide an opportunity for exercise – they can be used as hiding spots or climbing areas, and some can even help with issues to do with shedding in crested geckos.
- Plants help regulate humidity in the vivarium – which helps keep skin moist.
- Plants create a more natural habitat that mimics the natural environment of crested geckos.
- Plants provide hiding spots in the vivarium.
- Some plants are also food for crested geckos (a great dietary supplement)
Therefore, when choosing these plants, it is important to consider their benefit to the crested gecko.
10 Safe Plants for Crested Geckos
When setting up the vivarium with live plants, choose plants safe for crested geckos. Toxic plants can poison the gut of your pet in case they take a bite or even irritate their skin and mucous membranes. So, what plants are safe for crested geckos?
Here’s a list of 15 plants that are safe for crested geckos and their needs:
1. Dracaena plant
Dracaena plants, also known as the dragon trees, are safe for leopard geckos and can provide the reptile with a place to climb. They can also help bring a little bit of the outdoors into your gecko’s vivarium!
Crested Geckos love climbing, so ensure you provide them plenty of places to go up. Adding a single dracaena plant or two in their enclosure will do just fine.
The dracaena plant is a popular choice for crested geckos due to its wide variety of leaf shapes and sizes. The leaves are typically green but can branch out in yellow or brown depending on how much light they receive.
- The branches are sturdy and can provide enough support for the geckos to climb on.
- The wide leaves provide a good surface for the lizard to perch on, while the coloration can help beautify the pet’s vivarium.
Dracaenas are too easy to care for, requiring minimal water and humidity levels (low-medium). This makes them great plants for beginners looking to start their crested gecko vivariums off right!
Although snake plants contain saponins, they’re safe for crested gecko habitats. The reptile rarely eats sansevieria, that’s why it is a safe choice for the vivarium.
The leaves are long and a light green color, with occasional dark specks on them. They’re tough for insect pests to chew through, so this is another easy-care plant – requiring only minimal water and humidity levels (low).
Sansevierias also look great in vivariums, with tall vertical stems adding an exotic element while providing places for the gecko to climb up on.
3. Pothos (Golden pothos)
Pothos is a great houseplant you can grow safely in a crested gecko’s vivarium. The plant’s low-lying vines will provide your gecko with great climbing spots.
Pothos plants don’t need much light or water and are not toxic to your pet. The vines can grow up on a wall, around a branch or stake in the ground, across rocks you place in their habitat, and even along branches of other trees that may be included in the gecko’s tank.
Pothos also provides shelter from higher levels by hanging down near ground level where climbing predators cannot reach them easily.
The pothos vine will also provide lots of shade, which could enhance relaxation time for lonely crested geckos during peak hours of sunlight exposure.
4. Weeping fig
The weeping fig plant (Ficus benjamina) has silky leaves that crested geckos will love climbing on. The crested gecko’s claws won’t damage this plant, because the leaves are delicate and clingy – not tough like other plants that would require a lot of maintenance for spots where geckos have climbed or scratched their way through.
Weeping figs are non-toxic indoor plants that won’t harm your reptile when grown in their vivarium. You can choose to use it as a fake or live plant.
Weeping figs come in many different sizes and colors from purple, greenish-blue, dark green, and even variegated varieties with speckles of white among the leaves. This makes them an attractive addition to a crested gecko’s vivarium no matter what type you decide upon.
READ ALSO: Best Substrate for Crested Geckos
5. Creeping Fig
The creeping fig can be a great way to provide crested geckos with some extra cover from predators and help them feel more secure in their environment.
Creeping figs will not overtake the tank as other vines do but will grow up onto branches, over rocks placed on top of the substrate, or around any tree trunk included in the vivarium.
This plant is very easy to care for because it does not need to be watered often and only needs moderate lighting levels which crested geckos enjoy too!
To keep this plant happy you need to pinch off dead leaves and trim off new growth when it starts getting long and out of hand.
6. Jade Jewel
The jade jewel is a succulent found in the wild and does well in dry environments. The plant is so low-maintenance, does not require much light, and grows slowly enough to leave them alone for months at a time. This makes them perfect safe plants for crested gecko vivariums.
- The Jade Jewel has green and white striped leaves, providing an excellent climbing surface for your gecko.
Crested geckos enjoy this plant because they will climb onto its leaves or stems where there is more cover for them to rest and hide.
7. Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreens)
Aglaonema is a type of plant that can handle low light levels and will not grow too large, which makes them perfect for crested gecko vivariums.
The Aglaonema has broad leaves with yellow variegation on the edges; these plants are known to be easy to take care of. They also have long stems where your crested geckos could climb around when they want more space than their tank offers.
Crested Geckos enjoy this type of plant because it provides excellent climbing surfaces as well as shelter from other animals in the enclosure or outside environment.
Bromeliads are a group of plants known to thrive in wet environments, making them perfect for crested gecko vivariums.
The Bromeliads have long leaves; their flowers come out of the top of the plant and grow a lot like vines. Crested geckos love this type of plants because it provides great climbing surfaces as well as shelter from direct sunlight.
Some of the best bromeliads that are safe to add to your crested gecko’s bioactive vivarium include the following:
- Aechmea (Aechmea spp.)
- Guzmania (Guzmania spp.)
- Neoregelia (Neoregelia spp.)
- Vriesea (Vriesea spp.)
- Tillandsia (Tillandsia spp.)
- Billbergia (Billbergia spp.)
- Cryptanthus (Cryptanthus spp.)
Bromeliads are great for the vivarium because the leaves are sturdy and can easily support even the biggest of crested geckos.
9. Zebra plant
The Zebra plant is a tall, slender tree with an arrow-shaped leaf. This type of plant can grow up to six feet in height and is perfect for crested geckos because they love spending time with the viney branches and climbing on their leaves.
Zebra plants are great if you have larger vivariums where your crested gecko could get lost or just plain bored because this plant provides a lot of wonderful things to do inside the enclosure such as climb around and explore all over them while hiding from other animals living there.
Crested Geckos also benefit from these types of trees because it helps keep maintain the humidity levels in the vivarium.
10. Spider plants
Spider plants are great air-purifying plants that require minimal care. They come in various colors and can grow up to three feet high.
This plant is perfect for crested geckos because these reptiles like sitting on top of the green leaves, hiding from other animals that might be living with them inside their enclosure.
Crested geckos love the bushy leaves of spider plants because they provide them with so many spots to hide behind. Since they clean the air in the vivarium, the plants may play a part in lengthening the lifespan of your crested gecko.
11. Peperomia (radiator plants)
Peperomia are also perfect plants for crested geckos because they require minimal care and can grow up to one foot tall – meaning they can easily fit in small tanks.
These types of plants have round-shaped leaves that work well with crested gecko’s climbing abilities. The leaves provide them with ample places to go when other animals might disturb their peace.
Crested geckos love the texture on peperomia plant leaves as it gives them an easy time climbing and perching.
12. Peace lily (Spathiphyllum)
Peace lilies are another safe plant perfect for crested geckos because they can grow 1-4 feet tall, with some species growing to a maximum of six feet tall. The leaves are dark green, which means it will provide a nice place of shade that the crested gecko needs in order to stay cool on those hotter summer days.
The peace lily has white flowers that also attract pollinators and give off a sweet smell. Crested geckos love these plants too as they have places to climb inside its thick vines; plus there’s plenty of bugs hiding behind the petals that the gecko can hunt for food.
13. Pillow moss
Many crested geckos enjoy nibbling on these pillow moss, especially the soft feathered mosses. This plant is a great addition to your reptile vivarium because it is a safe and low-maintenance option.
Pillow moss doesn’t need much water either, so the vivarium will not be too humid or wet for the liking of your pet lizard.
Tillandsia is a very resilient plant, making it suitable for vivariums with plenty of lizards and other tankmates.
Crested geckos like to bask on these plants and they will often use them as a hideout when they feel threatened or scared in their environment.
The Tillandsia also produces oxygen which helps purify air and cut back on the amount of humidity in the air which means less mold growth inside the enclosure for you to clean up.
Can you put plastic plants in a crested gecko’s vivarium?
Fake plants can look realistic, so you can build a natural-looking vivarium using them. They are also sturdy and tough to break, so your gecko can climb on them easily without causing any damage. In addition, fake plants are very low maintenance – all they need is cleaning up on occasion unlike real plants that need pruning, watering, fertilizer, and sometimes repotting.
Here are some fake plants that can add benefit to your gecko’s vivarium:
- Bamboo bars
- Pothos vines
However, since crested geckos are known to chew on plastic material and could injure their mouths, I would not recommend them as well as plants with sharp spines or leaves that can poke your pet lizard.
The preferable option is to place live plants in a bioactive vivarium because they provide plenty of benefits such as: hiding spots, food sources, humidity reduction, fresh oxygen production and much more!
Toxic plants to avoid
These plants are known to be toxic to geckos and reptiles in general. Take note that while you can put pothos in the vivarium, do not confuse it with philodendrons, which are known to cause problems to geckos and other reptiles.
Here’s a list of plants that are poisonous to crested geckos:
|Milkweed – Asclepias spp.||Poppy – Papaver somniferum and related spp.|
|Poison Ivy – Toxicodendron radicans, includes T. rydbergii||Oleander – Nerium oleander|
|Jonquil – Narcissus jonquilla||Locoweed – Astragalus spp. and Oxytopis spp.|
|Marijuana – Cannabis sativa||Poinsettia – Euphorbia pulcherrima|
|Peyote – Lophophora williamsii||Privet – Ligustrum vulgare|
|Peony – Paeonia officinalis||Pothos – Eprimemnum aureum|
|Primrose – Prmula spp.||Poison Sumac – Rhux vernix|
|Jerusalem Cherry – Solanum pseudocapsicum||Jack-in-the-Pulpit – Arisaema spp.|
|Lobelia – Lobelia spp.||Periwinkle – Vinca minor, Vinca rosea|
|Poison Oak – Toxicodendron querciflium and T. diversilobum||Poison Hemlock – Conium maculatum|
|Oak – Quercus spp.||Lily-of-the-Valley – Convalleria majalis|
|Larkspur – Delphinium spp.||Potato – Solanum tuberosum (sprouts, leaves, berries, green tubers)|
|Plum – Prunus spp. (leaves, pit, bark)||Lupine – Lupinus spp.|
|Philodendron||Philodendron – Philodendron spp. and Monstera spp.|
|Juniper – Juniperus spp.||Pear – Pyrus spp. (leaves, seeds, bark)|
|Pokeweed – Phytolacca Americana||Peach – Prunus persica (leaves, pit, bark)|
|Lantana – Lantana camara||Laurel – Kalmia spp.|