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Enclosure Plant Recommendations

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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 http://www.chameleonforums.com/plantLink will open in a new window.

Photo Scientific and Common Name Description and Tips Rating
ficus - Link opens in a new pop-up window

 ficus - Link opens in a new pop-up window

Ficus Benjamina

weeping fig or benjamin's fig

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.

It is 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.

Excellent
ficus - Link opens in a new pop-up window

 ficus - Link opens in a new pop-up window

Ficus elastica

Rubber Tree
Rubber Plant
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.

Poor
hibiscus - Link opens in a new pop-up window

 hibiscus - Link opens in a new pop-up window

 

 

 

 

 

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

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.

Excellent
ivy - Link opens in a new pop-up window

 ivy - Link opens in a new pop-up window

Epipremnum aureum

pothos,devil's ivy, 
Centipede tongavine, money plant, and sometimes mistakenly called philodendron

 

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 baskets.

Excellent
china doll - Link opens in a new pop-up window

 china doll - Link opens in a new pop-up window

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.

PRUNING:

If a bushy appearance is desired keep new growth pinched out.
Good for smaller chams and juveniles, but not strong enough for larger species.
Schefflera arboricola - Link opens in a new pop-up window

 Schefflera arboricola - Link opens in a new pop-up window

Schefflera arboricola

Dwarf Umbrella

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.
Excellent
Schefflera actinophylla - Link opens in a new pop-up window

 Schefflera actinophylla - Link opens in a new pop-up window

Schefflera actinophylla Octopus Tree, Queensland Umbrella Tree

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 allowed.

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.

Poor

 

For more information and an extensive database go to http://www.chameleonforums.com/plantLink will open in a new window.

Enclosure Links on bottom of page 2

Sources: Dave's GardenLink will open in a new window., House of PlantsLink will open in a new window., evergrowing.comLink will open in a new window.



 

Some Product Links

Lighting

 Zoo Med ReptiSun Compact Fluorescent UVB LampLink will open in a new window.

 Zoo Med ReptiSun Compact Fluorescent UVB LampLink will open in a new window.

 Zoo Med Reptisun 5.0 Ultraviolet Flourescent Bulb 36inLink will open in a new window.

 Reptisun 10.0 High Output UVB Lamp - 48 in.Link will open in a new window.

 Reptisun 10.0 High Output UVB Lamp - 24 in.Link will open in a new window.

 PET LIGHT BULB MERCURY VAPOR 100 WATT R30 FLOOD SOLAR BRITE REPTILE LAMPLink will open in a new window.

 T-REX ACTIVE UV HEAT LAMP 100WT FLOODLink will open in a new window.

 Zoo Med Economy Clamp Lamp for ReptilesLink will open in a new window.

 Zoo Med Reptile Lamp StandLink will open in a new window.

Temperature/Humidity

 Fluker's Digital Thermometer / HygrometerLink will open in a new window.

 Maverick Remote-Check ET-7 Wireless Thermometer with 2 ProbesLink will open in a new window.

 KINTREX Clear Temp IRT0421 Non-Contact Infrared Thermometer with LaserLink will open in a new window.

 Super Accurate Adjustable Round Digital HygrometerLink will open in a new window.

 Timex TX5170 Indoor/Outdoor Thermometer with Indoor Hygrometer and ClockLink will open in a new window.

Enclosures

 Terrarium and Cage Construction and CareLink will open in a new window.

 Reptile Screen Cage Chameleon Lizard 24'' X 24'' X 48''Link will open in a new window.

 Zoo Med NT-1 Naturalistic Terrarium 12in x 12in x 12inLink will open in a new window.

 Zoo Med NT-2 Naturalistic Terrarium 12in x 12in x 18inLink will open in a new window.

 Zoo Med NT-3 Naturalistic Terrarium 18in x 18in x 18inLink will open in a new window.

 Synergy Cage Wizard Reptile Tank Cleaner 16 OunceLink will open in a new window.