Could use some centerpiece tree/plant ideas

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
Just finished building my XL reptibreeze, going to start work on building the substrate tray+stand soon. The idea is to make this enclosure a work of art. I’ll be replacing some of the screen with plexiglass along with a bunch of other things.

So something I’m considering ATM is what tree to use as the main perch because that will decide how deep my substrate tray needs to be. I’m going to try and do this without needing any actual branches going across to give a more natural look, which means I’ll need something with a lot of sturdy branches. Almost like a larger bonsai type that would fit nicely in an XL reptibreeze.

I was thinking of a ficus alii, but the ones I have are too large to fit in an enclosure. It would probably take a long time to find one or grow one out with sufficient branches. Would love to hear any thoughts from some plant nerds. Maybe even a shrub of some sort that could manage to survive inside??? I’ll be using jungle dawn spots(which I have) or if necessary, I’d buy an even better light. Luckily, the room is also pretty well lit with multiple windows. My tropical plant collection does fairly well over the winter in there without any supplemental light.
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Would a crepe myrtle be safe for a veiled chameleon?
I have no idea. I know they're safe for non-plant chewing chams and have regular-sized crepe myrtle branches in my panther enclosures, too. I wouldn't risk it with a veiled unless you find something from a reputable source
 
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Tkrd69

Avid Member
I have no idea. I know they're panther safe and have regular-sized crepe myrtle branches in my panther enclosures, too. I wouldn't risk it with a veiled unless you find something from a reputable source
Thank you we use the trees to keep bugs away from house
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
It's basic but what about a schefflera? You could also try a dwarf crepe myrtle if you can find one small enough, same with a mulberry tree
I just bought a dwarf mulberry tree lol, planted it in my garden though. Not familiar with crepe myrtle, will have to look into them. Thanks!


In the past I always used Schefflera arboricola or Ficus benjamina for an enclosure centerpiece. For reasons I don't completely remember I preferred Schefflera but keep in mind that it contains oxalates. Hibiscus would be my choice outdoors.

https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/plants/
Thanks brad, I was thinking earlier maybe of schefflera ‘amate’ too.
 

Mendez

Chameleon Enthusiast
I really like Schefflera amate. And there is also Schefflera actinophylla (which has some really awesome flowers if you google it). I bought my amate over a year ago and it hasn't lost a single leaf (I'm not kidding). When I had a Schefflera arboricola (dwarf umbrella), that thing started growing a lot of leaves up top while losing all the leaves at the bottom. Arboricola creates a thick canopy that ends up choking out the lower leaves from light in my experience. Though there are a lot of bonsai arboricola videos out there that kind of counteract this. It is possible to keep arboricola more bushy through ramification techniques used in bonsai, but I prefer the larger amate leaves anyways and the less maintenance the better.

You will have to trim amate back, but you really won't lose any leaves. My jackson's chameleon really likes sleeping under the larger leaves. The leaves protect him from the mist yet allow him to access that high nighttime humidity as the air swirls around the leaves. Only my pygmies are small enough to completely hide under a Schefflera leaf happily.
 

Sonny13

Chameleon Enthusiast
Absolute Schefflera fan, just go for an larger piece of them and you wont need anything, just add some horizontal branches. They´re really sturdy.
Also like ficus benjamina, however only had troubles with it, just like @Lindasjackson, suddenly dropping leaves, sticky substance on the branches and white bugs (forgot their name).

This is a bigger tree Schefflera and has a height of 40"

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snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
I loathe schefflera as they are pest magnets and react poorly when pests crop up. Arb does have good stems that can double as branches, and Amate is very tropical, but I am fed up with pests on them.

You know ficus alii is my fav! Ficus benjamin is similar but I like alii’s leaf shape. I love these trees because they have the whole package. Lovely foliage, they love our conditions (with great light), fast growing, and they branch out like an oak tree would.

I’d avoid certain other ficus like FLF. They drop leaves easily and leak a milky sap when that happens.
 

Lindasjackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’ve never seen a schefflera that big! My ficus Benjamin’s, I’m on my second one, the first was absolutely killed by white flies that I didn’t know much about treating. My second one also has white flies. I’m not sure how my treatment on it is going. It has lost a lot of leaves since I took it out of the cage. I’ve had really bad luck with them but I will say they both came from the same nursery and both had white flies when I got them. Recently I bought a 3 foot tall money tree from Walmart. It looks great, has leaves and branches and when it’s a little bigger it will be great. It has no signs of pests. It looks great in the cage.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
I really like Schefflera amate. And there is also Schefflera actinophylla (which has some really awesome flowers if you google it). I bought my amate over a year ago and it hasn't lost a single leaf (I'm not kidding). When I had a Schefflera arboricola (dwarf umbrella), that thing started growing a lot of leaves up top while losing all the leaves at the bottom. Arboricola creates a thick canopy that ends up choking out the lower leaves from light in my experience. Though there are a lot of bonsai arboricola videos out there that kind of counteract this. It is possible to keep arboricola more bushy through ramification techniques used in bonsai, but I prefer the larger amate leaves anyways and the less maintenance the better.

You will have to trim amate back, but you really won't lose any leaves. My jackson's chameleon really likes sleeping under the larger leaves. The leaves protect him from the mist yet allow him to access that high nighttime humidity as the air swirls around the leaves. Only my pygmies are small enough to completely hide under a Schefflera leaf happily.
Oh yeah I’ve had tons of schefflera. The amate grow so fast too. I had one 6+ feet with a thick woody stem. I left it in the cold too long and it died down to a 2 foot stump, but sprouted new leaves… not it’s like a half ass bonsai lol, but I love it. Growing back fast.

Have you decided on a species of chameleon yet?
Yeah as hard as it is to pick I think I’m going Kenyan xanth. The horns+size+chance of a decent panther-like personality make it my best bet for an interactive Cham with kids. Was considering a smaller type of trioceros too, like tjj, but I think they may be a little bit too timid for what I want in a pet ATM(not that I’ll be having him out all the time, but I do want something that won’t have a heart attack every time my kids want to watch feeding time lol). Panther would be perfect too, but I think my max space is about an xl reptibreeze(smaller would be better even, but for a xanth it will have to do). Panthers seem to like the 4 wide foot enclosures.

Absolute Schefflera fan, just go for an larger piece of them and you wont need anything, just add some horizontal branches. They´re really sturdy.
Also like ficus benjamina, however only had troubles with it, just like @Lindasjackson, suddenly dropping leaves, sticky substance on the branches and white bugs (forgot their name).

This is a bigger tree Schefflera and has a height of 40"

View attachment 326507

I loathe schefflera as they are pest magnets and react poorly when pests crop up. Arb does have good stems that can double as branches, and Amate is very tropical, but I am fed up with pests on them.

You know ficus alii is my fav! Ficus benjamin is similar but I like alii’s leaf shape. I love these trees because they have the whole package. Lovely foliage, they love our conditions (with great light), fast growing, and they branch out like an oak tree would.

I’d avoid certain other ficus like FLF. They drop leaves easily and leak a milky sap when that happens.

I have a really nice woody schefflera arboricola several years old, but like snitz says, they always seem to get massacred by pests indoors. Every winter it comes in and nearly dies, only to rise back up like Lazarus when I put it back outside for summer. Anytime I have had them in cages, even with excellent led plant bulbs, pests would wreck them.
 
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