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21 Edible Plants For Bearded Dragon Enclosures

best plants for bearded dragon tanks

There’s nothing quite as sad as a beardie who’s stuck in a bare tank with one piece of driftwood to keep them entertained.

One of the best ways to make your bearded dragon’s tank more realistic, while also giving them sensory stimulation, is to add some plants to their tank.

You can use real or fake plants in your beardie’s tank, as long as you ensure that the plants are safe. 

In this article, we’ll have a look at whether it’s better to use real or fake plants, which plants can be used safely in a bearded dragon’s tank, which plants should never be used, as well as how to install the plants in the tank once you have them. 

Should You Use Real Or Fake Plants In Your Bearded Dragon’s Tank?

Whether you use real or fake plants in your bearded dragon’s tank is up to you once you know the pros and cons of real and fake plants for beardies.

However, you do need to have plants of some kind in your bearded dragon’s tank in order to give them something to climb on and over and to give them the necessary sensory stimulation between meals and interaction with you. 

The Benefits And Drawbacks Of Using Real Plants In Your Bearded Dragon’s Tank 

Let’s first take a look at the pros and cons of using a selection of real plants in your bearded dragon’s tank. 

Pros Of Using Real Plants In Your Bearded Dragon’s Tank

Do bearded dragons need live plants?

1. Sensory Stimulation

Real plants, with their texture and scent, give your bearded dragon more sensory stimulation than fake plants that don’t have different inviting scents and textures. 

2. They Are Not As Much Work As You Think

Because there are so many safe plants to choose from for your beardie’s tank, you can decide how high or low maintenance you want the tank to be.

For example, choosing hardy desert plants that need little maintenance or planting herbs in the tank that need a lot of care and upkeep.

3. Food For Your Bearded Dragon

By choosing safe plants for your beardie, your bearded dragon will not only have plants to clamber over but can also nibble on the different plants without you having to worry that they’ll get poisoned or get sick.

Your beardie will still have an experience of eating leaves, etc. of the plant itself as they do in nature.  

4. No Plastic

When your bearded dragon is nibbling on the real plants, you won’t have to worry that they’ll ingest the plastic and/or fabric that the fake plants are made of by accident. 

Cons Of Using Real Plants In Your Bearded Dragon’s Tank

best plants for bearded dragon

1. You might need a bigger tank

Using too many plants or letting them grow too large can hinder your bearded dragon’s movements. This will keep them from getting the exercise they need to stay healthy. 

2. More work than plastic plants

Some of the plants that are safe for beardies need a lot of TLC and you need to have the time and patience to look after them if you decide on using real plants. 

3. Some plants are toxic

You need to be 100% sure which plants are toxic for bearded dragons and not use those in your beardie’s tank in any way. Although some plants may “only” make your beardie sick, others – if eaten – can kill.  

21 Real Plants That Are Safe To Use In Your Bearded Dragon’s Tank 

Plant Name Placement, Temperature, Humidity, Watering 
Aloe Vera Recommended Placement: Plant the aloe vera in the middle of the tank, towards the back. Don’t put it too close to the basking spot, however. 
Maximum Temperature: 85°F | 29°C
Humidity Tolerance: Approximately 40%
Watering Schedule: Mist the aloe lightly once or twice a week.
BasilRecommended Placement: Basil should be planted on the cooler side of the tank. Plant it in a small pot to make it easier to remove it to clean the tank. 
Maximum Temperature: 80°F | 27°C
Humidity Tolerance: Up to 85%
Watering Schedule: Mist when the soil or substrate starts to dry out. 
Blushing Bride Recommended Placement: Plant on the cool side of the tank where it is humid. 
Maximum Temperature: 80°F | 27°C
Humidity Tolerance: 60-90%
Watering Schedule: Mist it every or every other day, but make sure that it doesn’t get too wet or rest in water. 
Bolivian Wandering JewRecommended Placement: In the centre of the tank or towards the cooler side.
Maximum Temperature: 80°F | 27°C
Humidity Tolerance: Approximately 40%
Watering Schedule: Mist 2 to 3 times per week when the substrate starts to dry out. 
BottlebrushRecommended Placement: Place in the centre back or more towards the warmer side of the tank. 
Maximum Temperature: 95°F | 35°C
Humidity Tolerance: Approximately 40%
Watering Schedule: Lightly mist every day to every other day. 
CloverRecommended Placement: Plant it on the cooler side of the tank or next to the cool hide. 
Maximum Temperature: 80°F | 27°C
Humidity Tolerance: 40-60%
Watering Schedule: Lightly mist every to every other day. 
Dwarf Jade Recommended Placement: On the warmer side of the tank, but don’t plant it too close to the basking spot. 
Maximum Temperature: 86°F | 30°C
Humidity Tolerance: Approximately 40% 
Watering Schedule: Mist it 2 to 3 times per week. Don’t give it too much water. 
EcheveriaRecommended Placement: Plant these in the warmer part of the tank, even close to the basking spot. 
Maximum Temperature: 95°F | 35°C
Humidity Tolerance: 40-60%
Watering Schedule: Lightly mist when the soil dries out. Too much water and it will rot. 
HaworthiaRecommended Placement: Perfect for the warmer part of the tank, even quite close to the basking spot. 
Maximum Temperature: 95°F | 35°C
Humidity Tolerance: 40-60%
Watering Schedule: Mist once or twice per week. 
HibiscusRecommended Placement: Close to the warmest part of the tank, but not directly next to the basking spot as the leaves can get heat damage. 
Maximum Temperature: 115°F | 46°C
Humidity Tolerance: 60-80%
Watering Schedule: Mist daily.
Hoya australis/WaxvineRecommended Placement: Plant in the middle or towards the warmer side of the tank, but not too close to the basking spot. 
Maximum Temperature: 80°F | 27°C 
Humidity Tolerance: At least 40% humidity required 
Watering Schedule: Lightly mist the waxvine every other day, being careful not to get the roots too wet. 
LavenderRecommended Placement: Plant it in the cooler part of the tank using a small terracotta pot to make cleaning the tank easier. 
Maximum Temperature: 86°F | 30°C
Humidity Tolerance: 40-60%
Watering Schedule: Mist every or every other day, making sure that the roots don’t stay too wet. 
Leatherleaf SedgeRecommended Placement: Plant it in the warmer part of the tank, taking care not to plant it right next to the basking spot. 
Maximum Temperature: 95°F | 35°C
Humidity Tolerance: 40-60%
Watering Schedule: Mist 2 to 3 times per week, but only when the substrate starts to dry out. 
Lemon Balm Recommended Placement: Plant in a small terracotta pot on the cooler side of the tank. This will make cleaning easier. 
Maximum Temperature: 80°F | 27°C
Humidity Tolerance: Up to 85%
Watering Schedule: Mist every or every other day
Lithops/Living Stones Recommended Placement: Plant on the warm side of the tank, even very close to the basking spot. 
Maximum Temperature: 95°F | 35°C
Humidity Tolerance: 40-60%
Watering Schedule: Lightly mist once per week. These plants really need very little water.
MulberryRecommended Placement: Plant the mulberry at the back of the tank, towards the cooler side, or in the centre.
Maximum Temperature: 80°F | 27°C
Humidity Tolerance: 40-60%
Watering Schedule: Mist every or every other day
NasturtiumRecommended Placement: Plant on the cooler side of the tank, ensuring that it gets bright – but not too hot – light. Plant in a small terracotta pot to make cleaning the tank easier. 
Maximum Temperature: 80°F | 27°C
Humidity Tolerance: 40-60%
Watering Schedule: Mist 2 to 3 times per week, but make sure that the substrate/soil doesn’t dry out or stay too wet.
OreganoRecommended Placement: Plant the herb on the cool side of the tank, ensuring that it doesn’t get too much direct light. 
Maximum Temperature: 80°F | 27°C
Humidity Tolerance: Approximately 60%
Watering Schedule: Mist lightly every day or every other day, ensuring that it’s not too 
ParsleyRecommended Placement: Plant the herb on the cooler side of the tank. To ensure ease of removal and replanting, plant the parsley in a small terracotta container. 
Maximum Temperature: 80°F | 27°C 
Humidity Tolerance: Approximately 60%
Watering Schedule: Mist lightly every or every other day.
Prickly Pear CactiRecommended Placement: Plant close and even next to the basking spot in the warmest part of the tank. Ensure that all spines have been removed! 
Maximum Temperature: 95°F | 35°C
Humidity Tolerance: 40-60%
Watering Schedule: Mist lightly once or twice per week.
WheatgrassRecommended Placement: Plant the wheatgrass next to the cool hide, away from the direct heat and light of the basking spot. 
Maximum Temperature: 75°F | 24°C 
Humidity Tolerance: 40-60%
Watering Schedule: Mist lightly 2 to 3 times per week to keep the soil moist but not wet.

Plants That Are Poisonous For Bearded Dragons

Although there is a wide variety of plants that bearded dragons can eat, there are also some that are either semi-poisonous or poisonous to bearded dragons. The plants in the list below shouldn’t be fed to your bearded dragon or used in their tank. 

  • Amaryllis
  • Azalea
  • Bane berry
  • Belladonna
  • Boxwood
  • Bracken Fern
  • Buckthorn
  • Burdock
  • Buttercup
  • Caladium
  • Calla lily
  • (Wild) Daffodil
  • Death Camas
  • Delphinium
  • Eggplant
  • Elephant’s Ears
  • Elderberry
  • Heliotrope
  • Henbane
  • Holly
  • Horse chestnut
  • Horse nettle
  • Hyacinth
  • Hydrangea
  • Iris
  • Ivy
  • Jack-in-the-pulpit
  • Juniper
  • Lantana
  • Larkspur
  • Laurel
  • Lobelia
  • Mistletoe
  • Monkshood
  • Moonseed
  • Morning Glory
  • Narcissus
  • Oak
  • Oleander
  • Ornamental Grape Ivy
  • Peony
  • Periwinkle
  • Philodendron
  • Poison Ivy
  • Poison Oak
  • Poinsettia
  • Poison Sunac
  • Pokeweed
  • Poppy
  • Primrose
  • Privet
  • Ragwort
  • Red Maple
  • Rhododendrons
  • Sago cycad/cycad
  • Shamrock
  • Skunk Cabbage
  • Snowdrop
  • Sorrel
  • Spurges
  • Sweet pea
  • Tobacco 
  • Tulips
  • Virginia Creeper
  • Vetches
  • Voodoo lily
  • Water Hemlock
  • Wax berry
  • Wisteria
  • Yew

How To Install Plants In Your Bearded Dragon’s Tank 

how to put live plants in bearded dragon tank

Installing plants in your beardie’s tank is easy and a simple way to change the layout of your bearded dragon’s tank in order to keep them engaged and stimulated.

Plants can be planted in your beardie’s usual substrate or in pots. Here’s how you can plant plants in the substrate, pots, and a bio-active tank. 

Planting Plants In The Substrate 

The easiest way to add plants to your bearded dragon’s tank is to plant them in the substrate. This works exceptionally well for succulents and other hardy plants that are safe for a bearded dragon’s tank. 

When it’s time to clean or deep-clean the tank, you can simply remove the plants from the substrate and then replant them in the fresh substrate once the tank has been cleaned. 

Tip: Also read our article on the best heat lamps for beardies here!

Planting Plants In Pots 

You can also plant plants in small terracotta pots in your bearded dragon’s tank.

This is especially handy for softer plants – for example, the herbs that you can plant in beardies’ tanks – and larger plants like larger aloes or bottlebrushes, and wheatgrass and sedges. 

When you’re planting plants in pots, weigh the terracotta pot down further by placing a few pebbles in the bottom of the pot before starting to fill it with some of the prepared substrate for the tank.

You can also hide the pots within the substrate. 

Always use small, terracotta pots for planting your beardie’s plants in, as these are heavier (therefore less prone to falling over when your bearded dragon starts climbing on them), and aren’t plastic that your beardie may accidentally ingest. 

Tip: Also read our article on the best UVB bulbs for bearded dragons here! We tested them ourselves!

Planting Plants In A Bio-Active Tank 

 When planting in a bio-active tank – or self-maintaining tank – you don’t have to worry about planting your chosen plants in pots, as you won’t have to remove them often (if at all).

Rather, plant all the live plants that you’re going to use directly in the substrate, and keep reading to find out what the best substrate for live plants are. 

The only plants you’ll really need to keep an eye on are soft plants like the herbs that are on the list of edible plants for bearded dragons.

This video by The Bio Dude also shows how plants are planted in the substrate of a bio-active tank. 

Soils And Substrates That You Can Use In Your Bearded Dragon’s Tank 

toxic plants for bearded dragons

The mixture of soil and/or substrate that you will need to use for your bearded dragon’s tank depends firstly on the type of tank that you have (bio-active or non-bio-active) and, secondly, on whether the plants that you’ll be using are real or fake. 

Substrate Mix For A Non-Bio-Active Bearded Dragon Tank With Real Plants

When you’re using real plants in your bearded dragon’s tank, you can use any of the high-quality substrate mixes on the market.

You can then decide whether or not to plant the plants in terracotta pots or directly in the substrate.

Should you decide to use pots, you can either use the same substrate as “potting soil”, or you can use soil that has been prepared specifically for use with animals like beardies. 

An especially great substrate mix for use with real plants consists of 50% fine sand, like Exo Terra Desert Sand, 20% clay soil or substrate, like Zoo Med Excavator Clay, and 30% treated and contaminant-free topsoil. 

Tip: Worried about putting sand into your beardie enclosure? We explain why it is not bad below but if you want the detailed explanation, read our article here!

One thing you definitely should never do is use soil from your garden or other untreated potting soil mixes or topsoil.

The soil can be contaminated with, among others, pesticides and other poisons, fungi, and unwanted bacteria and can lead to your bearded dragon getting sick and even dying. 

Tip: Read our Exo Terra Desert Sand review here! We bought and tested the product ourselves.

Soil And Substrate Mix For A Bio-Active Bearded Dragon Tank

Creating a substrate for a bio-active bearded dragon tank takes more time and care than simply dumping some fine sand into your beardie’s tank.

Because a bio-active tank needs to be self-maintaining, you need to add the necessary insects and organisms to break down organic material – like feces – in the tank. 

The Bio Dude has created products and a system to create substrates for bio-active tanks.

The main ingredient for the substrate is Bio Dude’s Terra Sahara, as well as Bio Dude Bioshot, earwigs, springtails, darkling beetles, and isopods. Watch this video to see exactly how a bio-active tank is put together. 

Substrate Mix For A Non-Bio-Active Bearded Dragon Tank With Fake Plants

When using fake plants in your bearded dragon’s tank, the substrate doesn’t really matter.

It’s not necessary to use the insects and Bio Dude Bioshot that are necessary for a bio-active tank.

If you want to make a substrate mix that your beardie can more easily burrow in, use a combination of Zoo Med Repti Sand and Zoo Med Excavator Clay

What To Do If Your Bearded Dragon Starts Eating Their Substrate 

One reason why bearded dragon owners are sometimes wary of putting sand-like substrate in their beardie’s tank, is because they’re afraid that their beardie will start eating it and get impacted.

However, bearded dragons only eat substrate in order to try and get the minerals that they need.

Therefore, by ensuring that your beardie gets all their minerals, you won’t have to worry about them eating the substrate. 

A varied diet that includes insects dusted with calcium, etc. will ensure that your beardie doesn’t lack any nutrients.

Veterinarians advise that bearded dragons’ food should be dusted with calcium powder 2–3 times per week to ensure your beardie gets enough. 

How To Use Fake Plants In Your Bearded Dragon’s Tank

Although some fake plants look very artificial, there are some that can look exactly like the real thing.

Your bearded dragon will also be able to climb around on these high-quality artificial plants just as they would on real plants.

These fake plants also need almost no upkeep in your bearded dragon’s tank, while real plants need constant care, like your beardie. 

Because of the little upkeep, many advise new or first-time bearded dragon owners to use fake plants to decorate the tank.

You can, however, also use a mixture of live and artificial plants in your beardie’s tank. For example. you can use fake creepers as a backdrop, with real succulents and/or grasses making up the rest. 

You can also use natural driftwood in your tank to give your bearded dragon somewhere to sit during its idle hours.

This driftwood (or other wood that pet shops sell, should be prepared for use with reptiles; never use unprepared wood) 

What Type Of Artificial Plants Are Safe To Use In A Bearded Dragon Tank? 

best fake plants for bearded dragons

Most artificial plants are made using fabric or plastic, but their quality can differ quite drastically and only high-quality plants that are marked as appropriate for bearded dragons and reptiles should ever be used.

Fake plants of a lower quality often have sharp edges or break too easily. Your beardie could even ingest some pieces and get impacted.

Plastic plants – made from aquarium-grade plastics – are better to use than those made of fabric and silk as they are easier to clean and don’t retain moisture and dirt like most fabric plants. 

The Best Fake Plants To Use In Your Bearded Dragon’s Tank 

When you’re looking for fake plants for your bearded dragon’s tank, look at their ratings and don’t judge them simply by price point. Three of our favourite artificial plants for use in beardie tanks are:

How To Care For The Fake Plants In Your Bearded Dragon’s Tank 

Fake plants should be kept clean at all times and should be washed and then thoroughly dried whenever you clean the tank.

If the plants show signs of dirt or have feces on them, you also need to clean the plant asap. Replace fake plants immediately when they start showing signs of wear and tear. 

Conclusion 

There are many types of real plants that you can use for giving your bearded dragon’s tank a bit more life.

In this list of the best plants for bearded dragon enclosures, you’re sure to find plants that will suit both your and your beardie’s taste.

Remember to always use only plants that have been specifically grown for reptiles and to use the correct substrate for your beardie and plants. 

Pierre And The ReptileCraze Team
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