Decorating the enclosure of a bearded dragon is one of the fun parts of keeping beardies as pets. The aim of decorating a bearded cage is to make it look appealing and attractive both for bearded dragons and as well as the human eye.
You usually have two options when choosing plants for your bearded dragon terrarium. one is live plants and the other is plastic plants. Let’s discuss both options in detail.
Best Plants for Bearded Dragon Habitat
There are a number of plants available to decorate a bearded dragon cage. But make sure to pick the ones that are digestible in case your beardie eats them. Here is a list of our recommended safe plants that will help you create a natural-looking environment for your dragon.
1. Haworthia Plants (Haworthia spp.)
- 100% safe for bearded dragons
- Easy to care for
- Doesn’t take a lot of space in the enclosure
Naturally found in the arid regions of South Africa, haworthia plants are some of the most popular terrarium plants for bearded dragons. These plants are shipped in pots.
There are dozens of species in this genus, most of them are hardy, easy to maintain, and are completely safe to dragons.
These plants are one of the most famous decorating items for the bearded dragon habitats because of their small size.
2. Aloe Plants (Aloe vera)
- Safe for bearded dragons
- Easy care and maintainnace
- Very hardy
Aloe vera is another very popular and great plant to decorate a bearded dragon cage with. This plant will make your beardie feel right at home.
One of the reasons that make this a great bearded dragon tank plant is its low maintenance and care.
It looks great in your beardie’s tank and is pretty similar to the Tillandsia Ionantha in terms of upkeep and maintenance.
3. Echeveria (Echeveria spp.)
- Nearly as simple to care for as artificial succulents
- Safe for bearded dragons and other reptiles
- Look great in a tank
Echeveria plants are originally found in semi-desert areas of Central America, Mexico and northwestern South America.
Echeveria plants are harmless to bearded dragons and look awesome in a terrarium. This plant needs very little care and often thrives when planted in terrariums.
4. Dwarf Jade Plants (Portulacaria afra)
- Safe for bearded dragons
- Looks attractive
Dwarf jade plants are native to the dry, rocky regions of eastern South Africa, where they grow as little trees.
They can, however, be maintained small with regular trimming, which is one of the reasons they’re also popular among bonsai enthusiasts.
Dwarf jade plants are not harmful to bearded dragons, and the leaves are even used in salads by humans.
However, make sure to not confuse the dwarf jade plant (Portulacaria Afra) with the similar-looking jade plant (Portulacaria Afra) (Crassula ovata).
Unlike the former, the latter is mildly poisonous to bearded dragons.
It is usually simple to get dwarf jade plant cuttings to root, making it possible to quickly transform a single jade plant into multiple smaller plants.
5. Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
- Large leaves with intense flavor & a wonderful aroma
- Garden use: Containers, herb beds, flower beds
- Culinary use: Italian & Asian dishes
- Plant in full sun for the best yields
- Plant after last spring frost
This popular cooking herb is also a fantastic choice for the tank of your bearded dragon.
Basil thrives best in the outdoors, but with care and enough lighting, it can also survive indoors (such as in your dragon’s habitat). Basil thrives best in a warm environment, making it ideal for use in a terrarium.
Basil is native to Southeast Asia’s humid climates, which is obviously not the same as your bearded dragon’s natural home.
The plant however cannot very well tolerate damp roots, thus the rapid drainage provided by the substrate of your bearded dragon will typically provide it enough water to survive.
Your bearded dragon may pose the greatest risk to the plant, since the leaves may appeal to them. Basil isn’t toxic to your beardie, but they might eat it faster than the plant can handle.
6. Fluker’s Repta Vines (Artificial)
- Comes with suction cups to affix to the tank
- Made of non-toxic polythylene material
- Easy cleaning and disenfecting.
- Lifelike & natural looking.
Fluker’s repta vines for reptiles are natural-looking and lifelike hanging vines made of non-toxic polyethylene material that is easy to clean and disinfect.
It comes with suction cups to affix to the enclosure/tank. If you want something that is safe, more flexible, and looks more natural, without having to worry about caring for and watering live plants then this product is for you.
7. Reptile Plants Hanging Silk (Artificial)
- Made from 100% safe material
- Easy to install
- Easy to clean
- Looks great in a tank
This plant looks exactly the same as the one bearded dragons see in the wild. It not only makes your bearded dragon habitat look vibrant, but it will also make your beardie feel right at home.
This plant is made of non-toxic polyethylene plastic and soft silk leaves that are perfectly safe for bearded dragons.
If you want to add live plants to your bearded dragon habitat then keep in mind that you cannot simply use any plant. There are a number of toxic plants that you need to avoid at all cost. Below is a list of some of the harmful plants that you need to avoid.
8. Eioflia Artificial Reptile Plants
- Easy to install
- Easy to clean
- Can be used for a wide range of pets
- Safe to use with beardies
The vines come in a pack of two and are made of a durable, flexible material that mimics the look and feel of real plants. They are also equipped with suction cups that make it easy to attach them to the walls or ceilings of your terrarium. This is great for creating a natural climbing environment for your bearded dragon or other lizard pets.
One thing I appreciate about these fake vines is that they are very realistic-looking. They have a variety of different leaf shapes and colors, which makes them more interesting to look at and provides a more natural environment for your pet. Additionally, the vines are also quite long, which allows for plenty of climbing opportunities for your bearded dragon.
One thing to note is that the suction cups can be a bit tricky to attach at first, but with a little practice, it becomes easier. Also, these fake vines are not suitable to be submerged in water, so make sure to keep them out of any water features in your terrarium.
Can You Keep Live Plants in a Bearded Dragon Cage?
In short: Yes, you can install live plants in your bearded dragon’s tank but not any plant. There are some that are perfectly safe for dragons and then there are some that are toxic and need to be avoided at all costs.
Note: You cannot simply go to your local nursery and pick random plants.
Installing Live Plants in Your Bearded Dragon’s Tank
Now that you have selected what live plants you want to add to your bearded dragon enclosure, it’s time to decide how you want to install them.
There are basically two ways to install live plants in your dragon’s habitat. Let’s discuss them below.
Method 1: Installing Plants Directly in the Substrate
The most aesthetically pleasing, but difficult, approach is to place plants directly in the substrate of your pet’s habitat.
You’ll need a substrate that’s suitable for both your bearded dragon and the plants. It will also make the maintenance of habitats considerably harder.
However, for those prepared to experiment and risk losing a few plants, the results can be rather striking visually.
Method 2: Leaving Plants in Pots
The simplest approach to add plants to your enclosure is to do it the same way you would in your own house — simply place them in standard plant pots.
While this is not always attractive, you can hide and conceal pots with cork bark, rocks, and other decoration items.
Apart from simplifying habitat maintenance, keeping plants in separate pots enables easier rotation and movement. In other words, you can maintain multiple potted plants and rotate them into your pet’s habitat on a regular basis.
When a bearded dragon begins to exhibit signs of requiring additional light, simply transfer the plants outside for a few weeks until they perk up.
It is generally a good idea to repot plants prior to introducing them to your terrarium, using pots that allow adequate area for the plant’s roots while yet fitting comfortably within the tank.
You will also find a number of artificial plants available for bearded dragon tanks. But can we really use any artificial plants in our breaded dragon terrarium?
What to look for in plants for bearded dragons habitat
When choosing plants for a bearded dragon’s habitat, there are a few key points to keep in mind:
- Non-toxic: Make sure to choose plants that are not toxic to bearded dragons.
- Low maintenance: Bearded dragons require a specific environment, and it can be challenging to maintain a suitable habitat if the plants need frequent watering or care.
- Natural hiding spots: Bearded dragons are shy animals and enjoy hiding spots. Plants with large leaves or foliage can provide natural hiding spots for them.
Can You Use Artificial Plants in Your Bearded Dragon’s Habitat?
Yes, plastic plants are perfectly safe for bearded dragons and you can use them in your tank.
Note: Caring for live plants can be a bit difficult for many bearded dragon owners that’s why a lot of keepers prefer artificial plants.
Artificial bearded dragon plants provide obvious benefits over live plants in several ways:
- Safer than live plants
- They don’t require water
- They don’t need special lighting
- They don’t die or decay
- You can move them around as many times as you want
- Can be washed and cleaned easily if soiled
Plastic plants are safer than most live plants however you still need to look out for those cheap terrarium plants that might be contaminated with toxic chemicals.
If you are looking for something that both looks natural and needs no care and maintenance then plastic plants are for you.
Toxic Plants for Bearded Dragons
The following list of plants is known to be poisonous for many animals and it’s most likely a threat to your bearded dragon too.
Some people may argue that some of the plants on the list might be safer for bearded dragons but as no concrete data is available it’s better to avoid them just be on the safer side.
As per a study, some lizard species are able to detect potentially toxic plants and avoid eating them. But the study wasn’t done specifically on bearded dragons. Again, it’s better to avoid these plants.
Also, researchers have found lizards eating plants known to contain toxins without suffering ill effects.
- Acokanthera – Acokanthera spp.
- Amaryllis – Amaryllis spp.
- Angel’s Trumpet – Datura spp.,
- Apple – Malus spp.
- Avocado – Persea americana
- Azalea – Rhododendron canadenis
- Baneberry – Actaea spp.
- Belladonna – Atropa belladonna
- Bird of Paradise – Poinciana spp.
- Bitter Melon – Momordica charantia
- Bittersweet – Celastrus spp.
- Black Locust – Robinia pseudoacacia
- Boxwood – Boxus spp.
- Braken Fern – Pteridium aquilinum
- Buckthorn – Karwinskia spp.
- Burdock – Arctium spp.
- Buttercup – Ranunculus spp.
- Caladium – Caladium spp.
- Calla Lily – Zantedeschia aethiopica
- Catclaw Acacia – Acacia greggii
- Castor Bean – Ricinus communis
- Cherry – Prunus spp.
- Chinaberry – Melia azadarach
- Clematis – Clematis spp.
- Coral Plant – Jatropha mutifida
- Crocus – Cholochicum autumnale
- Cycad– Cycas revoluta
- Daffodil – Narcissus tazetta
- Daphne – Daphne mezerum
- Death Camas – Zigadenus spp.
- Delphinium – Delphinium spp.
- Devil’s Ivy – Epipremnum aureum
- Dieffenbachia – Dieffenbachia spp.
- Eggplant – Solonum melongena
- Elderberry – Sambucus mexicana
- English Ivy – Hedera spp.
- Euonymus – Euonymus spp.
- Pennyroyal – Mentha pulegium
- Four o’clock – Mirabilis jalapa
- Heliotrope – Heliotropium spp.
- Henbane – Hyoscyamus niger
- Holly – Ilex spp.
- Horse Chestnut – Aesculus spp.
- Horse Nettle – Solanum carolinense
- Hyacinth – Hyacinthus orientalis
- Hydrangea – Hydrangea spp.
- Iris – Iris spp.
- Jack-in-the-Pulpit – Arisaema spp.
- Jerusalem Cherry – Solanum spp.
- Jonquil – Narcissus jonquilla
- Juniper – Juniperus spp.
- Lantana – Lantana camara
- Larkspur – Delphinium spp.
- Laurel – Kalmia spp.
- Lily-of-the-Valley – Convalleria majalis
- Lobelia – Lobelia spp.
- Locoweed – Astragalus spp. and
- Lupine – Lupinus spp.
- Marijuana – Cannabis spp.
- Milkweed – Asclepias spp.
- Mistletoe – Phoradendron villosum
- Mock Orange – Philadelphus spp.
- Moonseed – Menispermum canadense
- Monkshood – Aconitum spp.
- Morning Glory – Ipomoea violacea
- Narcissus – Narcissus spp.
- Oleander – Nerium oleander
- Oxytopis — Oxytopis spp.
- Peach – Prunus persica
- Peony – Paeonia officinalis
- Periwinkle – Vinca spp.
- Peyote – Lophophora williamsii
- Philodendron – Philodendron spp.
- Plum – Prunus spp.
- Poison Hemlock – Conium maculatum
- Poison Ivy/Oak/Sumac – Toxicodendron spp.
- Poinsettia – Euphorbia pulcherrima
- Poppy – Papaver spp.
- Pokeweed – Phytolacca americana
- Potato – Solanum tuberosum
- Pothos – Eprimemnum aureum
- Primrose – Prmula spp.
- Privet – Ligustrum vulgare
- Ragwort – Senecio spp.
- Rhododendron – Rhododendron spp.
- Rhubarb – Rheum rhabarbarum
- Rosary Pea – Abrus precatorius
- Sage – Salvia officinalis
- Shamrock Plant – Medicago lupulina
- Skunk Cabbage – Symplocarpus foetidus
- Snowdrop – Galanthus nivalis
- Sorrel – Rumex spp.
- Spurges – Euphorbia spp.
- Star of Bethlehem – Ornithogalum umbellatum
- Sweet Pea – Lathyrus odoratus
- Taro – Colocasia spp.
- Tobacco Plant – Nicotiania spp.
- Tomato Plant – Lycopersicon esculentum
- Tulip – Tulipa spp.
- Virginia Creeper – Panthenocissus quinquefolia
- Vetches – Vicia spp.
- Water Hemlock – Cicuta spp.
- Waxberry – Symphoricarpos albus
- Wisteria – Wisteria spp.
- Wood Sorrel — Oxalis spp.
- Yew – Taxus spp.
There are a number of live plants safe for bearded dragons but live plants require care and maintenance. If you want something that looks natural, safe for your beardie, and needs no special care then plastic plants would be the best option for you.