Plants to Use and Not to Use
As you can see from the Ficus and
Schefflera examples, you need to be sure the scientific name is used during
selection of plants. Some plants contain irritants and others can be even worse.
Choose plants that will not only do well in the warm humid environment needed by
most chameleons but are also safe for them to ingest. They have been known to
eat some vegetation i.e. the flowers of the hibiscus.
For more information and an extensive
database go to
||Scientific and Common Name
||Description and Tips
weeping fig or benjamin's
|The most common complaint is that the leaves
turn yellow and fall off. This occurs when the plant is stressed. Avoid
over watering. Fertilize monthly during the growing season with
half-strength liquid fertilizer or slow-release fertilizer according to
label directions. Do not fertilize in the winter months.
a very popular house plant in temperate areas, due to its elegant growth
and tolerance of poor growing conditions. It does best under bright,
sunny conditions but will also tolerate considerable shade. It requires
a moderate amount of watering in summer, and only enough to keep it from
drying out in the winter. It does not need to be misted. The plant is
sensitive to cold and should be protected from strong drafts. When grown
indoors, it can grow too large for its situation, and may need drastic
pruning or replacing.
The leaves are very sensitive to small changes in light. When it is
re-located it reacts by dropping many of its leaves and replacing them
with new leaves adapted to the new light intensity.
This is a favorite for chameleon enclosures because it is relatively
easy to care for and needs little sun light. It has a good amount of
leaf cover for hiding and various strength limbs for climbing.
India Rubber Plant
|Ficus elastica is the classic Rubber
Tree, Rubber Plant or India Rubber Plant. Native to India and Malaysia,
elastica is among the oldest plants used as houseplants worldwide.
Elastica leaves and stems and even wood 'bleed' white sticky sap when
broken or damaged from which rubber can be made. Some people are
allergic to this sap when applied to the skin.
This plant is
considered toxic to chameleons.
china rose, shoe flower, hibiscus
|The Chinese hibiscus is an evergreen shrub native to East
Asia. It is also known as China rose and shoe flower. It is widely grown
as an ornamental plant throughout the tropics and subtropics. The
flowers are large, red, firm, but lack any scent. Numerous cultivars,
varieties, and hybrids have been created, with flower colors ranging
from white through yellow and orange to scarlet and shades of pink, with
both single and double sets of petals.
The flowers are used to shine shoes in parts of India. Hibiscus flowers
are also used for hair care.
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do
not over water.Plant needs to be deep watered often, especially during
the hottest days, but soil has to be well drained because it doesn't
like waterlogged roots.
Another great plant for use in your enclosure. It is not as hardy as other
indoor plants, but with care will do well. Many chameleons will eat the
flowers which have many other uses and are harmless to the animal. The
plant has thick foliage and strong branches.
Centipede tongavine, money plant, and sometimes mistakenly
|As a houseplant it can reach a height of two meters or more, given
suitable support. For best results it requires medium indirect light;
bright light is tolerated, but lengthy spells of direct sun will scorch
the leaves. The plant prefers a temperature of between 17 to 30 °C (63
to 86 °F). Generally it only needs water when the soil begins to feel
dry to the touch. For best results a liquid fertilizer can be added in
spring, and they should be repotted every couple of years. However, this
is a robust plant that can stand a fairly high degree of abuse.
This plant likes bright indirect light, too much shade and the
variegation will fade.
Water well in the growing season. Be careful to let the compost dry out
slightly between waterings. High humidity so mist frequently.
If your plant is getting too leggy pinch out the growing tips in spring
and it will bush out nicely.
Sturdy with lots of foliage and vines for chameleons to climb. These
should be hung in the enclosure as they are best suited as hanging
China Doll Radermachera Sinica
|These plants are pretty and delicate
looking, they have a compact shape to begin with but with time they
stretch out and become leggy.
Watering must be very consistent. Yellow brittle leaves indicate under
watering, blackish tips on green leaves indicate over watering. If the
environment of this plant remains constant, water regularly every week,
or every other week, depending on how the topsoil feels.
If a bushy appearance is desired keep new growth pinched out.
|Good for smaller chams and juveniles, but not
strong enough for larger species.
|The Schefflera arboricola can adapt to
a wide variety of light levels but prefers higher light if possible
especially the varigeated varieties - 'Gold Capella' & 'Trinette'. If
left alone the branches can stretch and grow "out of shape". It's easy
to keep them shaped with occasional selective pruning. Fortunately, just
like a Ficus the dwarf Schefflera can also handle some radical pruning
and come back strongly. Don't be afraid to prune the plant when needed.
If leaves turn black and begin dropping off it's a good signal the soil
is staying too wet or moist. On the flip side when leaf tips wrinkle if
they are too dry.
Octopus Tree, Queensland
|The Schefflera actinophylla has a
similar appearance to the Schefflera arboricola. The Schefflera
actinophylla has larger more firm leaves and grows to a taller tree if
This slim upright tree is made up of multiple trunks, each topped
with a small crown of large showy leaves. The compound leaves form an
umbrella shape rosette which gives the tree one of its common names. Ten
to fifteen stalks of bright red flowers appear in summer and are
followed by round dark berrries.
It is considered toxic to chameleons.
For more information and an extensive
database go to
Enclosure Links on bottom of page 2
House of Plants,