20 Best Plants For Chameleons (Live and Artificial)

When it comes to keeping chameleons as pets, it’s important to provide them with a habitat that closely mimics their natural environment. This includes incorporating live or artificial plants into their enclosure.

In the wild, the chameleon spends a solitary life on the bush and is surrounded by many plants. So, you need to fill the chameleon’s enclosure with live or artificial plants to give it a more natural look. Make sure to choose plants that are safe for chameleons, so they don’t accidentally ingest toxic materials. In this article, we’ll explore the best and safest plants for chameleons, as well as tips for choosing and caring for them.

Best Live Plants for a Chameleon Cage

When it comes to creating a suitable habitat for your chameleon, live plants are an essential component. Not only do they provide natural beauty, but they also play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy environment for your pet. Live plants can help to improve air quality, provide natural hiding places, and offer a source of food and moisture.

1. Golden Pothos

No products found.

Golden Pothos or devil’s Ivy is a very tough plant that provides great foliage for the cover, which your chameleon would love to chew down bit by bit. The vines of this plant trail down, providing an opportunity for your reptile pet to climb. The plant sustains well in good drainage and should be watered only when the soil has dried out.

This plant can sustain in low lights and must not be exposed to very bright lights directly. You can use this both as hanging and a ground plant in your chameleon’s enclosure.


  • Pretty tough to all weather conditions
  • Provides a good trail for your chameleon to climb.
  • Gives an aesthetic look to the cage.
  • Tolerant in low-light conditions.


  • Cannot survive in very bright lights.

2. Ficus Benjamina

No products found.

Ficus Benjamina or Weeping fig is the widely used plant by the chameleon keepers because of its fantastic leafy foliage and strong wooden stem to let the chameleon enjoy its natural climbing habit. The plant should be kept in a fast-draining pot and watered regularly once the soil is dried up to 3cm.

The plant needs to be exposed to bright lighting and requires a more humid environment.


  • Can sustain well in strong lighting conditions.
  • Have leafy foliage to provide cover.
  • Strong wooden stem to allow chameleon’s climbing


  • Cannot survive in low-light areas.
  • Need extensive care, or the leaves start falling.

3. Dragon Tree

No products found.

Dragon Tree provides good foliage and has one or two thick trunks which help your chameleon to engage in the natural habit of climbing. The plant is very tough and grows slowly, making it ideal to be placed in the enclosure. It must be kept in a large pot to help in accommodating the complex root system and watered when the top half of the soil is dry. You must schedule the watering of this plant once every two or three weeks.

These plants can survive in bright and dim light conditions and prove to be an excellent plant for the chameleon’s enclosure.


  • Provides good foliage
  • It has a thick trunk to engage chameleon in climbing.
  • Can survive in both dim and bright light.


  • Relatively small in size, so it’s essential to buy an established one.
  • Expensive

4. Rubber Plant

No products found.

The rubber plant produces a sap that is used to manufacture rubber. In the wild, the plant may grow up to 100 feet; however, a house plant grows around 6 feet tall. The thick wooden stem, thick and glossy green leaves, and moderate height make the plant a perfect addition for the chameleon’s cage.

The plant should be kept in a mixture of sand, soil, and bark, and water only when the soil turns dry to touch; underwatering or arid soils must be avoided as the plant starts dropping its leaves in this condition. The plant is tolerant to indirect or low-light conditions and must not be placed in direct or bright lights.


  • It has great foliage and a wooden stem for the chameleon to hide and climb easily.
  • Tolerant to low-light conditions.


  • It can’t survive direct or bright light conditions.

5. Jade plant

No products found.

With the strong woody stem and lush exotic flair, the Jade plant proves to be an excellent addition to the habitat of your color-changing reptile. This plant needs to be trimmed regularly as it grows rapidly, even outgrowing large terrariums at times. This plant needs direct sunlight, and hence before keeping it in the enclosure, you need to arrange a strong UVB light.

The jade plant being succulent doesn’t require much water and works fine even if you don’t water it at all, especially during winters. Keeping the soil of this plant moist would work just alright; however, do not use tap water, as the sodium content in the tap water can be harmful to this plant.


  • Works fine with less water.
  • Provide a pleasant aesthetic to the enclosure.
  • Provides space for the chameleons to climb and hide.


  • This plant works well only if the UVB light is strong enough.
  • It grows rapidly and needs to be trimmed regularly to prevent outgrowth.

6. Yucca Plant

No products found.

Yucca plant seems like a hybrid of the corn plant and dragon tree, as it has a hard wooden cane like the corn plant, and the leaves are a mixture of the corn plant and dragon tree. It should be kept in a well-draining standard potting soil to prevent root rotting and watered lightly just once a week because of their resistance to drought.

The plant is medium-light tolerant and must not be exposed to direct bright light or low light. Feeding the plant a good liquid fertilizer every few weeks will help improve the plant’s better growth.


  • Provides a good foliage
  • It gives space for the chameleon to climb
  • Tolerant to medium-light conditions
  • Resistant to drought


  • Intolerant to overwatering.
  • Intolerant to extreme lighting conditions

7. Hibiscus

No products found.

The Hibiscus plant contains Vitamin C, and chameleons love to munch down the flowers of this plant. These plants are difficult to handle and should be kept in a fast-draining all-purpose potting mix. The watering is scheduled when the top inch of soil dries out slightly, and the plant must be placed in direct bright light. The hibiscus plant is intolerant to cold weather conditions and must be brought back to the cage before it gets too cold.


  • Chameleon likes to eat the flower grown on this plant.
  • Provides space for the chameleon to climb
  • Tolerant to bright and direct light


  • Intolerant to cold weather conditions.
  • It cannot survive in dry soil.

8. Bromeliad

No products found.

The Bromeliad is a flowering foliage plant that grows up to 5 feet high. It should be kept in sand-based soil, with fast-draining peat, and must be watered once a week. The plant is intolerant to overwatering, and the watering frequency must be reduced further in the winter season.

Bromeliad is tolerant to medium light conditions and must be fertilized with a liquid fertilizer every two weeks.


  • Provides great foliage.
  • Tolerant to medium lights.


  • Cannot survive in extreme light conditions.
  • Intolerant to overwatering

9. Wandering Jew

No products found.

The wandering jew is a bright and colorful plant, adding great value to the chameleon’s enclosure. It’s pretty tough-natured and can adapt to almost any environment. The plant has a rapid growth producing long stems for the chameleon to climb. You can keep the wandering jew in a standard plant potting mix and watered approximately once a week.

The plant needs to be placed in bright light for growth and ideal for a chameleon enclosure, as they like warmth and humidity.


  • Brightly colored
  • Grows rapidly
  • Adapt to all weather conditions


  • Intolerant to low lights.

10. Boston Fern

No products found.

Boston fern because of its thick foliage, which is great for collecting water and providing a hiding spot to the chameleon. This plant doesn’t provide a trail for your chameleon to climb on, yet the foliage cover is great. The plant can be grown in peat moss soil mixed with regular soil, which drains the water well while retaining the moisture.

The plant sustains and grows well in soil that is moist but not soggy and must be placed in a shady area because of its intolerance to the light.


  • Dense foliage providing a good cover for the chameleon.
  • Can grow well in shady areas.


  • It doesn’t provide a trail for the chameleon to climb.
  • Intolerant to strong light.

11. Spider Plant

No products found.

This plant is a good space filler for the chameleon’s enclosure because of its long spindly leaves. This plant is easy to grow and sometimes produces white flowers, which are very delicate and add a great aesthetic to the enclosure. The plant is sensitive to bright light, so you must provide filtered light for better growth.

You need to set up a balance for the soil where you’re growing the spider plant, as this one doesn’t grow in dry or damp soil. Ensure to have good drainage while dealing with a spider plant. In addition to this, the plant needs to be replanted once a year and produce baby plants or “Pups,” which can be replanted to create a new spider plant.


  • Provides an excellent aesthetic to the enclosure.
  • A good hiding spot for your chameleon.


  • It can’t grow in bright and intense light.

12. Nasturtiums

No products found.

This plant provides a rich, colorful display and is edible and tasty, which means your chameleon will enjoy munching down this plant. The plant needs partial sunlight at the very least to grow well; this means you need to arrange a good UVB light for the enclosure. The plant nourishes damp soil, so watering the plant once or twice a week would be perfect.

This plant climbs as a creeper plant if there is something beside it which the plant can latch onto. The creeping feature of the plant is enjoyed by most of the chameleons, who love to traverse in the vine-like stems.


  • Edible plant
  • A colorful plant to add value to the enclosure.
  • It can even climb on the sides of the enclosure, providing a climbing opportunity to the chameleon.


  • It cannot grow without light.

13. Grape Ivy

No products found.

The plant is named grape Ivy because of the close resemblance of its leaves with the grapevines. This plant is easy to grow and requires a little effort. The plant doesn’t have very thick vines but provides good foliage. You can plant this one in any type of well-drained soil, and it must be watered only when the soil dries out of the previous watering.

The plant is very sensitive to bright or strong lights and must be kept in a partially shaded area.


  • Easy to grow and maintain
  • Grows in all types of soil
  • Tolerant to low-lights


  • It doesn’t grow in very bright and strong lights
  • It doesn’t have very thick vines for your chameleon to climb.

14. Parlor Palm

No products found.

Parlor palm provides great foliage, and its leaves cover the whole enclosure, which works great to collect water in the form of droplets for your chameleon to drink. The stem isn’t very sturdy, which means the chameleon doesn’t have a chance of climbing this plant. You can keep this plant in an organic potting mix, which doesn’t break too much.

The plants need to be watered sparingly, and the soil must be kept evenly moist. Overwatering the plant will turn the leaves brown. Finally, expose the plant to partial light or less light which means the plant adapts well to low-lit areas.


  • Great foliage covering the whole enclosure.
  • Large leaves collect enough water for the chameleon to drink.
  • Adapts well to low light areas.


  • The stem isn’t sturdy for the chameleon to climb.
  • It cannot survive in bright lights.

15. TI Plant

No products found.

The TI plant has colored leaves, providing great foliage that allows the chameleon to hide, and makes a great addition to the chameleon’s cage. TI plant should be kept in a well-draining bark soil, watered occasionally to keep the soil moist, as the plant likes to be in humid places. The plant is tolerant to indirect light, which is also called a medium-light; exposing the TI plant to very bright or low light can kill it.


  • Great foliage that provides a hiding area for chameleon.
  • Suitable for chameleon’s cage because of its likeness to humid weather conditions.
  • Tolerant to medium light.


  • It cannot tolerate bright or low light conditions.

16. Swiss Cheese Plant

No products found.

The swiss cheese plant, also named split-leaf philodendron, a low-maintenance tropical plant with big, glossy leaves, is a perfect fit for the cage of your color-changing reptile. The plant grows rapidly, providing huge leaves for the chameleon to hide and drink from.

You can keep this plant in well-draining organic soil with a bit of peat moss and water the plant once the top three layers of soil dry out. Overwatering the swiss cheese plant can cause root rot which may kill the whole plant eventually. The plant is tolerant to medium or bright lights and is a well-suited option for a chameleon cage.


  • Low-maintenance
  • Tolerant to medium and bright lights.
  • Long and bigger leaves provide a good hiding spot and enough water for the chameleon.


  • Overwatering the plant can cause root rot.
  • Intolerant to low lights.

17. Jasmine

No products found.

Another climber plant with beautiful white flowers and a delightful fragrance is the Jasmine plant. This climber is easy to grow indoors and can tolerate high temperatures. You need to keep this plant in well-draining organic potting soil, a mixture of bark and peat.

Ensure to keep the soil moist, but avoid making it soggy. In addition to this, the jasmine plant needs to be placed in filtered light, which makes it perfect for the chameleon’s enclosure.


  • Easy to grow indoor.
  • Tolerate high temperatures.
  • Adds great value to the ambiance of the enclosure.


  • Cannot survive in standing water or overwatering.
  • Intolerant to low light.

18. Gardenia

No products found.

The physical appearance of the Gardenia plant is similar to that of Jasmine, so choose one out of the two. This plant grows well in humidity, and indirect sunlight, making it perfect for your pet chameleon’s cage. Keep the plant in well-draining potting soil, and do not let it dry. You can keep the soil moist by watering frequently; however, ensure not to moisturize too much that the soil becomes squishy to touch.


  • Improves the ambiance of the enclosure.
  • Provides a hiding spot for the chameleon.


  • Intolerant to dry weather condition
  • It cannot survive in low or direct bright light.

Best Artificial Plants for a Chameleon Cage

Artificial plants can be a great option for chameleon cages because they are easy to maintain, safe for the chameleon, and can provide a beautiful and natural-looking environment.

1. Magnatural jungle vine bridge

No products found.

The Magnatural jungle vine bridge is an artificial vine that you can attach easily in the chameleon’s enclosure. It comes with magnets that help attach the vine to the enclosure safely and make it capable of holding the chameleon’s weight as it climbs the vine. With the help of these detachable magnets, you can change the setting of the enclosure easily as desired.

It’s stronger than natural vines and comes with lush green leaves that stay green forever.


  • Easy to install
  • Secured by magnets
  • Visually appealing


  • Not safe for the chameleon to chew.

2. Penn Plax Reptology climber vine reptile terrarium plant decor

No products found.

This climber vine provides you with the beauty of the plant, saving the effort of taking care of the plant. These vines come in various colors that are 12 inches long and securely connected to the base. You can attach this vine to the wall of the chameleon’s enclosure with the help of suction cups and even tie it down if there is a screen cage.

You can use this vine to create bridges for the chameleon to climb on and provide cover for the chameleon.


  • Safe for the chameleon to climb
  • Provides good climbing and hiding opportunities.
  • It comes in various colors to give a more pleasant look.


  • It can cause health complications if ingested by the chameleon.

3. Mokook jungle vines decor for lizards

No products found.

Mokook jungle vines are thick and high-quality artificial vines that are perfect for your chameleon’s enclosure. The vines are flexible and can be shaped as desired and passed through even the congested holes inside the chameleon’s cage.

These vines are easy to clean and non-toxic because of the aseptic material that it’s made of. This natural-looking vine setup is just perfect for both young and adult chameleons to hide and climb on.


  • Flexible enough to shape as desired.
  • Easy to install and handle
  • Easy to clean
  • Made of non-toxic material
  • Perfect for the chameleon to hide and climb


  • Although non-toxic, the ingestion of this artificial plant can cause health complications.

Factors to Consider when Choosing Plants for Chameleons

When choosing plants for your chameleon’s habitat, there are a few key things to consider. Here’s a quick list of what to look for:

Size and Shape of the Cage

The size and shape of the cage will affect the type and number of plants that you can use. Make sure to choose plants that will fit comfortably in the cage and that will provide enough space for the chameleon to move around and explore.

Non-Toxic Plants

One of the most important things to consider when choosing live plants for chameleons is the toxicity level of the plant. Chameleons have delicate systems, and ingesting toxic plants can cause serious health issues. Before purchasing any plants, make sure to research their toxicity levels, and avoid any plants that are known to be toxic to reptiles.

Climbing and Basking Areas

Chameleons are arboreal creatures, meaning they spend most of their time in trees and other elevated surfaces. They need a place to climb and bask, so make sure to include plants that will provide these areas. Look for plants with sturdy stems or branches that will support the chameleon’s weight.


Both live and Artificial plants need to be durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of a chameleon’s claws and tail. Also, consider the ease of cleaning and maintenance.

Safety for the Chameleon

Plants should be safe for the chameleon to interact with. In case of artificial plants it’s important to choose plants that are made of non-toxic materials that will not harm the chameleon if ingested.

Proper Lighting and Humidity Requirements

Chameleons have specific lighting and humidity requirements to maintain their health and well-being. When choosing live plants, make sure to research their lighting and humidity needs, and ensure that they align with the needs of your chameleon. For example, Boston Ferns require high humidity, while Snake Plants are more tolerant of lower humidity levels.

Hiding Spots

Chameleons are solitary creatures and prefer to have their own space. They need plants that provide them with hiding spots where they can retreat and feel secure. Choose plants that have thick foliage, such as Boston Fern and Philodendron. These plants can also provide a sense of privacy and security for your chameleon.

Low Maintenance

As a pet owner, you want to ensure that your chameleon’s environment is as low maintenance as possible. Choose plants that are easy to care for, such as Snake Plant, which requires minimal watering and can tolerate low light conditions. This will allow you to focus on providing the best care for your chameleon without having to spend too much time maintaining the plants in their habitat.

How to prepare plants for the chameleon

The plants mentioned above are mostly available online and can easily be found in a plant nursery. Remember, plants are mostly treated with pesticides, which could be fatal for your reptile’s health. You will need to prepare them before you can put them in your chameleon’s cage.

  1. Before adding the plants to your chameleon’s cage, it’s essential to clean them thoroughly. This includes removing any dead leaves or debris and washing the leaves with water to remove any dust or pesticides.
  2. It’s also essential to quarantine the plants for at least two weeks before adding them to your chameleon’s cage. This will allow you to monitor the plants for any signs of disease or pests, which could potentially harm your chameleon.
  3. Repot the plants in organic soil to reduce the risk of exposing your chameleon to any harmful fertilizers.

Why are plants important in a chameleon habitat?

The Importance of Live Plants in a Chameleon Habitat

Natural Environment: Live plants provide a natural environment for your chameleon. Chameleons are arboreal animals, meaning they spend most of their time in trees. Therefore, having plants in their enclosure simulates their natural habitat and makes them feel more comfortable.

Climbing Surfaces: Chameleons are excellent climbers and need vertical surfaces to climb and explore. Live plants provide natural climbing surfaces for your chameleon to exercise and explore.

Hiding Spots: Chameleons are shy and need hiding spots to feel secure. Live plants provide natural hiding spots for your chameleon to retreat when they feel threatened or stressed.

Humidity: Chameleons come from tropical environments and need high humidity levels to stay healthy. Live plants help to increase humidity levels in the enclosure, which is essential for your chameleon’s respiratory and skin health.

Air Purification: Live plants not only add oxygen to the air but also help to remove toxins and pollutants from the air. This is beneficial for both your chameleon and yourself.

Interior design with plants

Plants are essential for both their functions and the aesthetics look which they create in the enclosure. After fulfilling the functional purpose, you can choose any plants that match your taste; you need to use different plants in the chameleon’s enclosure to fulfill the needs.

There are four different plant shapes that you can work with, i.e., Centerpiece, Trailing, wall cover, and Accent.

1. Centerpiece plant

It is the simplest way of plant placement in the enclosure, where you place the plant in the center of the terrarium. It is the way of adding plants most quickly and easily to the chameleon’s enclosure; however, this strategy comes with some disadvantages.

Most significant of all is that the pot placed on the floor creates an ideal dark place for dirty water to allow the growth of bacteria. The best plant choices for this strategy are Ficus Benjamina (Weeping fig) and the Schefflera (Umbrella plant).

2. Trailing plants

These plants are mounted from the sides of the cage trailing downwards and ideal for creating hiding spots for the chameleon. Moreover, there are plenty of places where your chameleon can drink from in the presence of trailing plants.

The ideal situation of using these plants is to hang them from the sides of cages, or you’ll have to arrange a pot to hang it from the center, and that will occupy a lot of space which can be used for perching branches.

The most famous trailing plants are Pothos vine, spider plant, oak leave grape Ivy, and tropical pitcher plant.

3. Wall cover

Wall cover plants are a great addition to the enclosure, contributing significantly to humidity, aesthetics, and visual isolation for the chameleon. The wall covers are created by placing miniature centerpiece plants in small pots inside the cage that grow along the wall. Two famous cover plants are Pachira (Money plant) and Schefflera (umbrella plant).

4. Accent plants

These plants add significant value to the overall ambiance of the terrarium, making the environment look beautiful. You can add plants of different shapes and colors by following the conditions they need to stay alive and grow.

A famous accent plant to add to your enclosure is the polka-dot plant, which comes with green leaves and white, pink or red polka dots all over.

Where to look for chameleon cage plants

Each of the aforementioned plants has particular functional purposes, and the best place to find these plants are nurseries or local home improvement stores. You need to find indoor plants for the enclosure, as you’re keeping them inside a room; indoor plants will survive in these circumstances.

If you’re planning a close replication of the wild, you need to create a cage with lighting as strong as the sun, and for this, you can find several plants online.

How to choose a plant that will work for you?

You can select the plants for your reptile’s enclosure, randomly depending on your approach to fulfill the functional needs. You can go for a hybrid approach, where you may add a centerpiece plant to arrange the hiding spot, and the rest can be chosen artistically.

Having a basic idea and Workplan of adding plants to the enclosure is all you need to set up the enclosure.

How to set up plants in the enclosure

Following is a list of steps that you may follow to set up plants in your chameleon’s enclosure.

One hanging basket

You can use a hanging basket to covering the bare space on top of the enclosure, even without overcrowding it. You can hang the baskets on the opposite corners of the heating lamp.

Two foliage plants

Putting two foliage plants in the enclosure will create a perfect balance; you can up to 4 foliage plants, but more than these will make the enclosure crowded. These plants will make good hiding and climbing space for the chameleon.

One climber plant

Having one climber on the enclosure side is great to give the cage a more natural and appealing look. Moreover, the climber will provide space for the chameleon to climb; you can spread the climber to the floor, top, and sides of the enclosure.

Three Filler plants

This depends on your personal preferences, where you can add two or three on the floor and one on the sides to cover the cage.

General plant care tips

Some general plant caring tips that you might need to know are mentioned below.


Water the plant according to its need, overwatering or underwatering a plant against its requirement will kill it. Ensure to check the soil and keep it moist and follow the feeding schedule religiously.


The plants that are well suited for the enclosure require medium or filtered light, so try not to place them under direct sunlight. Moreover, the plants that grow well in shady or bright areas must be catered accordingly for best results.


It’s essential to check the soil of plants that you’re keeping in the enclosure regularly. Most plants require well-draining pots and organic potting soil, and for others, you need to handle them with their desired soil and draining procedures.

Common plant care mistakes you should avoid


Plants need water to survive, but some plants need less water than the other species and overwatering those plants can kill them. Try to check the watering guideline about the plant that you’re planning to keep in the enclosure.


Like overwatering, underwatering can dry out the plant, requiring more moisture than other plant species. Most of the plants mentioned above need to be watered once the soil dries out a bit, but not overdry the soil.

Using the wrong soil

Every plant requires a different soil to grow and nourish, some needing good drainage while others are doing just fine with dense soil. So selecting the appropriate soil for your plant is crucial for its growth.

Too much/less light

The plants you keep in the enclosure require filtered light; however, some need to be in shady areas or bright light. Ensure to meet the light requirements of your plant for its better growth.


As you plan to bring a chameleon home, you must create a cage that replicates nature which means there should be plenty of plants in the enclosure to keep your pet happy and healthy. Ensure to use a plant that is not toxic, as your chameleon sometimes might try to chew it down.

In addition to this, the plants that you’re choosing must not overcrowd the cage and must be able to provide a good hiding and climbing spot for the chameleons. As you select the plants for the cage, ensure that they are medium heightened, or you’ll have to trim them frequently from overgrowing.

The cage can be set up by adding a centerpiece plant, trailing plants, wall covers, and accent plants to improve the ambiance. Try the plants recommended in the article above; you may change the plants to fit your needs. Finally, go slow and plan well for finding the perfect plants to add to the enclosure of your chameleon.

Filled under: Lizards

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *