15 Safe Crested Gecko Plants (Vivarium Plants)

Crested geckos, or ‘cresties’ as we fondly call them, come from the lush, tropical rainforests of New Caledonia, a group of islands in the South Pacific. Imagine dense canopies of trees, a humid climate, and a variety of plants flourishing in every corner. Quite the paradise, isn’t it?

Now, you might be wondering why it’s crucial to replicate this environment in your crestie’s vivarium. Well, here’s the thing. Crested geckos have evolved over thousands of years to thrive in these conditions. Their bodies are adapted to a certain temperature, humidity level, and light cycle—all of which are influenced by the flora around them.

Plants in the natural habitat of our cresties play several roles. Firstly, they provide shelter, a place for the geckos to hide and feel safe. You know those moments when your little guy just disappears into the foliage in his tank? That’s him taking a leaf out of his wild cousins’ playbook!

Secondly, plants maintain humidity by releasing water into the air, just like in the rainforest back home.

Lastly, the greenery also aids in their hunting tactics. In the wild, cresties use plants as launching pads to leap onto unsuspecting insects!

Incorporating plants into your crestie’s vivarium isn’t just about aesthetics (though a well-planted vivarium is indeed a sight to behold). It’s about creating an environment where your crested gecko can exhibit natural behaviors, which is key to their health and happiness.

As we delve further into this topic, we’ll explore a variety of safe plants that you can use to transform your crestie’s vivarium into a slice of New Caledonian rainforest.

Best Crested Gecko Plants in 2023

Image Product Feature Price
Pothos (Epipremnum Aureum)
  • Hard to kill
  • Can survive in a wide range
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Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium Nidus)
  • Doesn’t require soil to grow
  • Doesn’t require much pruning
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Snake Plant Or Mother-In-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria Trifasciata)
  • Excellent air purifier
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Bromeliads (Bromeliaceae)
  • Doesn’t require soil
  • low-maintenance plant
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Top 20 Safe Plants for a Crested Gecko Vivarium

1. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Light Requirements: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Sturdiness: Very sturdy, resilient to handling and various conditions
  • Maintenance: Low; water when soil is dry, can tolerate neglect

Pothos, also known as Devil’s Ivy, is a popular choice for crested gecko vivariums. As an avid crested gecko enthusiast, Pothos has been my go-to plant for years!

This hardy, vine-like plant is a favorite for gecko vivariums, thanks to its ability to thrive in the same conditions that our crested friends love.

It provides great coverage and climbing opportunities, too! However, it’s essential to keep it in check, as it can get a bit overzealous and take over your vivarium.

Pothos are incredibly adaptable and can grow in a variety of lighting conditions, making them perfect for a vivarium setting.

For maintenance, they prefer to be watered sparingly but don’t fret if you forget – they’re pretty drought-tolerant. When it comes to temperature, they can handle anything from 60 to 80°F, which aligns well with a crested gecko’s needs.

This plant is also non-toxic and safe if your gecko decides to nibble on it.


  • Easy to care for.
  • Hardy and adaptable
  • Provides excellent coverage and climbing opportunities


  • Can grow rapidly and might need regular trimming.

2. Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus)

  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Light Requirements: Low to medium light, prefers indirect sunlight
  • Sturdiness: Moderately sturdy, but fronds can be delicate
  • Maintenance: Medium; prefers high humidity and regular watering

The Bird’s Nest Fern is an attractive and unique addition to your gecko’s home. Its lush, ripple-edged fronds provide a naturalistic aesthetic to the vivarium and make great climbing spots for your crested gecko.

They thrive in indirect light and high humidity – conditions that mimic a crested gecko’s tropical habitat. However, they’re not big fans of soggy soil, so make sure the water drains well.


  • Provides good climbing structure.
  • Loves humidity, aligning with a crested gecko’s needs.
  • Non-toxic to reptiles.


  • Requires well-draining soil.
  • Can be sensitive to direct light.

3. Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

  • Growth Rate: Slow to moderate
  • Light Requirements: Low to bright light, highly adaptable
  • Sturdiness: Extremely sturdy, almost indestructible
  • Maintenance: Low; water sparingly, can tolerate neglect

Known for its long, upright leaves, the Snake Plant is an excellent choice for a crested gecko vivarium. Its stiff, succulent-like leaves add a different texture to the enclosure and can tolerate a range of light conditions – from low light to full sun.

This plant is a great choice if you’re a busy gecko parent, as it requires minimal watering and is known for its air-purifying properties. However, be careful with the pointy ends of the leaves as they could potentially harm your gecko.


  • Low maintenance and hardy.
  • Tolerates a wide range of light conditions.
  • Air-purifying properties.


  • Pointy leaves could potentially harm the gecko.
  • Can be toxic if ingested in large quantities, so keep an eye on any plant-nibbling behavior.

4. Bromeliads (Bromeliaceae)

  • Growth Rate: Slow to moderate
  • Light Requirements: Medium to bright light, some species can tolerate low light
  • Sturdiness: Generally sturdy, but some varieties can be delicate
  • Maintenance: Medium; prefers high humidity, water inside the cup of the plant

Bromeliads are stunning tropical plants that can add a pop of color to your crested gecko vivarium. They have thick, waxy leaves that grow in a rosette pattern, creating a natural “cup” in the center that collects water. This water pool can serve as a fun drinking spot for your gecko.

Bromeliads prefer bright, indirect light and well-drained soil. They can be attached to the vivarium’s sides or placed on the ground, offering versatile decoration options.


  • Provides a natural water bowl for the gecko.
  • Adds color and variety to the vivarium.
  • Can be placed in various locations in the vivarium.


  • Might be a bit challenging for beginners as they require specific care.
  • Some species can have sharp leaf edges, which may need to be trimmed.

5. Pink Quill (Tillandsia cyanea)

Pink Quill Plant
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Light Requirements: Bright, indirect light
  • Sturdiness: Sturdy but delicate to touch due to thin leaves
  • Maintenance: Low; needs good air circulation and occasional misting

The Pink Quill, a type of bromeliad, is a fantastic plant choice for a crested gecko habitat. Its vibrant pink “quill” from which blue flowers bloom is a true showstopper. Being an air plant, it doesn’t require soil and can be mounted on driftwood or other surfaces.

This plant prefers bright, indirect light and requires watering by misting. Ensure the plant dries out between waterings to prevent rot.


  • Beautiful and unique appearance.
  • Doesn’t require soil.
  • Easy to mount in various places.


  • Requires drying out between waterings, which could be tricky in a high-humidity vivarium.
  • The pink quill and blue flowers are temporary and will eventually die off, though the plant will continue to live and produce offsets.

6. Lemon Button Fern (Nephrolepis cordifolia)

Lemon Button Fern (Nephrolepis cordifolia).webp
  • Growth Rate: Moderate to Fast
  • Light Requirements: Partial shade to full sunlight
  • Sturdiness: Hardy, can withstand a bit of rough handling
  • Maintenance: Medium; prefers damp soil but not overly waterlogged

The Lemon Button Fern is a petite fern variety that’s perfect for a crested gecko vivarium. Its small, round, button-like leaves provide a nice contrast to other larger-leaved plants. This fern adds a sense of depth and texture to the enclosure and offers excellent coverage for a gecko.

Ferns love humidity, making them perfect for a crested gecko’s environment. They prefer indirect light and regular watering, but be careful not to overwater.


  • Great for providing coverage and privacy.
  • Thrives in high humidity.
  • Non-toxic to reptiles.


  • Requires regular watering but can be sensitive to overwatering.
  • Prefers indirect light and might not do well under strong lights.

7. Dwarf Umbrella Tree (Schefflera arboricola)

  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Light Requirements: Bright, indirect light
  • Sturdiness: Very sturdy, can tolerate occasional rough handling
  • Maintenance: Medium; needs well-drained soil and occasional pruning

The Dwarf Umbrella Tree is a popular choice for crested gecko vivariums due to its attractive foliage and resilient nature. Its umbrella-shaped leaf clusters offer excellent climbing opportunities and hiding spots for your gecko.

This plant prefers bright, indirect light and a well-draining soil mix. It’s a hardy plant that can handle occasional over or under-watering.


  • Provides great climbing and hiding spots.
  • Hardy and can tolerate a range of conditions.
  • Non-toxic to reptiles.


  • Can grow quite large and may need regular pruning.
  • Prefers bright light, which may not suit all vivarium setups.

8. Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)

  • Growth Rate: Slow to Moderate
  • Light Requirements: Low to medium light
  • Sturdiness: Hardy and tough
  • Maintenance: Low; can tolerate neglect and a range of conditions

Chinese Evergreens are fantastic plants for crested gecko enclosures due to their tolerance of lower light conditions and beautiful patterned foliage. They are easy to care for and come in a variety of colors and patterns.

They prefer a well-draining soil mix and will need regular watering, but ensure the soil is allowed to dry out slightly between waterings to prevent root rot.


  • Tolerates lower light conditions.
  • Offers beautiful and varied foliage.
  • Easy to care for.


  • Some varieties can grow quite large and may require pruning.
  • Can be sensitive to over-watering.

9. Petra (Codiaeum variegatum)

  • Growth Rate: Slow to Moderate
  • Light Requirements: Bright, indirect light
  • Sturdiness: Fairly sturdy, but leaves can be fragile
  • Maintenance: Medium; needs regular watering and well-drained soil

The Petra, or Croton, is a vibrant plant that can add a splash of color to your gecko’s vivarium. Its leaves come in shades of yellow, red, and green.

This plant prefers bright, indirect light, and a humid environment, which aligns well with the needs of a crested gecko. It does require well-draining soil and should not be left in standing water.


  • Adds a burst of color to the vivarium.
  • Prefers a humid environment.
  • Provides good coverage for geckos.


  • Requires bright light to maintain vibrant leaf colors.
  • Can be sensitive to over-watering.

10. Jade Jewel (Dracaena fragrant)

Jade Jewel (Dracaena fragrans)
  • Growth Rate: Slow
  • Light Requirements: Low to medium light
  • Sturdiness: Very sturdy with tough, thick leaves
  • Maintenance: Low; can tolerate a range of conditions and neglect

The Jade Jewel, a variant of Dracaena, is an excellent addition to any crested gecko vivarium. Its striking variegated leaves, featuring shades of green, yellow, and white, add visual interest to your gecko’s home.

This plant thrives in indirect light and moderate humidity, making it well-suited for a gecko’s environment. It is relatively low-maintenance and only requires watering when the top inch of soil is dry.


  • Attractive variegated leaves.
  • Requires minimal care.
  • Tolerates a variety of light conditions.


  • Can grow tall, so may need occasional pruning.
  • Overwatering can lead to root rot.

11. Elephant Ear (Alocasia polly)

Elephant Ear (Alocasia polly)
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Light Requirements: Bright, indirect light
  • Sturdiness: Somewhat delicate; large leaves can be damaged easily
  • Maintenance: High; needs regular watering, high humidity, and well-drained soil

Elephant Ear plants, with their large, arrow-shaped leaves, offer a dramatic visual effect and excellent climbing surfaces for your crested gecko. They thrive in a humid, warm environment, which aligns perfectly with a gecko’s needs.

These plants require well-draining soil and prefer indirect light. They are slightly more demanding in terms of care and will need consistent watering and humidity.


  • Provides excellent climbing surfaces.
  • Thrives in warm, humid environments.
  • Offers a dramatic visual effect.


  • Requires consistent care and attention.
  • Can be sensitive to over or under watering.

How to Arrange Plants in a Crested Gecko Vivarium

Creating a naturalistic habitat for your crested gecko is akin to painting your own little piece of rainforest right at home. Now that we’ve talked about the best plants to use, let’s dive into arranging them in the most beneficial way for your beloved gecko friend.

When arranging plants in your vivarium, it’s essential to think like a gecko. Crested geckos are arboreal creatures, meaning they love to climb and spend most of their time in treetops. To cater to this instinct, your plant arrangement should encourage vertical exploration.

Creating Layers

Arrange your plants in layers, with taller ones like snake plants or umbrella plants at the back and shorter ones, like the peperomia, at the front. This provides your gecko with a vertical gradient to climb and explore, much like they would in their natural habitat.

Climbing and Hiding Spots

Strategically place plants to provide climbing opportunities and hiding spots. I often use bromeliads for this purpose, as their sturdy leaves are perfect for a little gecko to climb onto and rest. And let’s face it, there’s something undeniably adorable about a gecko peeking out from a bromeliad!

Positioning Plants

Position your plants in a way that they offer both cover and visibility. You want to create a lush environment, but it’s also important to keep a few sightlines clear so you can spot your gecko when you need to.

Combining Different Types of Plants

Mix real and artificial plants to create an optimal vivarium design. While live plants enhance humidity and create a natural environment, artificial ones can provide more sturdy climbing surfaces and require less maintenance. Remember, it’s about creating a balance that works best for both you and your gecko!

In my own vivarium, I have a beautiful blend of pothos, bromeliads, and a few artificial vines. I love watching my crested gecko, Luna, exploring her little jungle, hopping from leaf to leaf with such glee!

Factors to Consider When Choosing Plants for a Crested Gecko Vivarium

Choosing the right plants can be a fun and rewarding process. Not only do you get to create a beautiful, naturalistic environment for your crested gecko, but you also learn more about the amazing biodiversity of our world.

Gecko Safety First

The health and safety of our gecko pals are always our top priority, right? So, when choosing plants for their vivarium, we must ensure these plants are non-toxic and non-irritating. Crested geckos are curious climbers, and the last thing we want is for them to nibble on something harmful. I remember when my gecko, Ziggy, decided that he’d try a taste of every plant I introduced into his vivarium. Thankfully, I had made sure all the plants were gecko-safe first! You can usually find lists of safe plants online or in specialist reptile care books.

Suitable Temperature and Humidity Conditions

Crested geckos hail from New Caledonia, where the environment is typically warm and humid. As such, the plants we choose need to mimic those conditions. Tropical plants are typically an excellent fit. They love the same heat and humidity that our geckos do! But be mindful of the specific needs of each plant. Some may require more heat or humidity than others, and balancing these needs can be quite the juggling act!

Physical Properties of Plants

Crested geckos are arboreal, meaning they spend most of their time climbing in trees. So, the plants in your vivarium should ideally provide sturdy branches or broad leaves for climbing and hiding. Remember, our little friends love to play hide and seek! I’ve found that Ziggy has a particular fondness for plants with large leaves where he can lounge and observe his world.

Maintenance Requirements

Finally, let’s not forget that plants need care, too. Light needs and watering frequency are important considerations. It’s best to choose plants that fit with the light conditions you can provide and your own routine. Some plants require lots of sunlight, while others can do with less. Similarly, some plants need frequent watering, while others prefer drier conditions. I made a handy chart for Ziggy’s vivarium that lists all the plants and their care requirements. It’s a real lifesaver!


As a fellow crested gecko caretaker, I understand the importance of creating a natural and stimulating environment for our scaly friends. Every leaf added, every branch positioned, is a step towards mirroring the rich habitats they would have in the wild. Our efforts don’t just create beautiful vivariums, they significantly enhance the quality of life for our crested geckos.

Remember, it’s not just about filling the space; it’s about choosing plants that are safe, beneficial, and enriching for your gecko. The right plant can make all the difference, offering places to climb, hide, and even snack on.

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