New Plant?

BillGTI

New Member
Hi,

I currently have a 4 month old Veiled Cham. Iv been wanting to put a plant in her enclosure. I was looking around at Hibiscus but a few places told me that they tend to grow aphids and a few other bugs. I also was looking for pothos but here in toronto, Ontario no one seems to know what those are... What other plants should I look around for that arent toxic and safe for veiled chameleons???
 

Tygerr

Avid Member
Join the club... I get blank stares whenever I ask for Pothos here in South Africa, and when I show them photos they all point me to philodendrons.

And I currently have a large Hibiscus, but it is now thoroughly infested by aphids, and is going into quarantine until I can get rid of them.

In my experience, Schefflera Arbicola is a great plant in chameleon cages: tolerates low light and high humidity, and creates nice thick foliage for hiding. It should be a staple in any chameleon cage.

The other plant that I use is Ficus Benjamina. It can be a tricky specimen however. It tends to drop a lot of it's leaves if the lighting conditions change (making it awkward when you first put it into the cage), and it grows a bit lanky/top-heavy under the poor lighting conditions (by some plants' standards) in the cage. And also, the sap that oozes from the stems after pruning can cause eye-irritation to your cham (so do your pruning when the cham is not around).
Even so, it has a nice climbing structure and reasonably dense foliage, lives a long time if cared for, and tolerates high humidity, so it's popular amongst cham keepers.

I am currently experimenting with Camellia, and Bougainvillea (getting good results with small specimens placed high up, close to the lights - and my Veileds seem to favour the leaves of this plant), and using Fuschia (though these seemed to react badly to high levels of water).
I also have lemons and limes in my outdoor cage, but I don't think they'd fare well in the indoor lighting conditions.

Other plants that have been recommended are Dracaena and Croton, but they are mainly leafy, so are added just for foliage denseness and colour, not really as a substitute for Hibiscus.
 

BillGTI

New Member
I cant really find any information on Schefflera Arbicola. I want to research as much as i can before i introduce a plant into my Cham enclosure.
 

rcagosto

New Member
Go the links part of the site they have something on plants for chameleon cages and explain a little about schefflera abricola care and also hibiscus, f. Benjamina, and pothos.
 

BillGTI

New Member
I did some research and Pothos seems the way to go. From what i have read it isnt toxic and its safe for chameleons to eat.
 

BillGTI

New Member
Toxicity and Irritants
Schefflera arboricola has a very low toxicity level when eaten. Large amounts of the plant would have to be consumed to be of concern to most chameleons. Caution should be used when using this plant with a chameleon that is known to be a big plant eater (2/3).
I think my veiled cham is a very big plant eater i see her choming on plasic leaves all the time...
 
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Tygerr

Avid Member
I think my veiled cham is a very big plant eater i see her choming on plasic leaves all the time...
Ok, then firstly it is of primary importance that you get those plastic leaves out of there! The plastic he is chewing on/eating can cause many complications, including impaction.

Secondly, you will have even more toxicity problems if he eats a lot of Pothos.
Toxicity and Irritants
This plant [Pothos] is high in oxalates and can be somewhat toxic when eaten in large quantities. If a chameleon is eating this plant frequently, removal of the plant should be considered.
If your cham is eating a lot of foliage, then maybe Hibiscus is actually a good choice. Its leaves and flowers are quite healthy and nutritious. It is a real pain to grow in a cage, but most of the keepers using it try to keep at least two plants and then rotate the plants in and out of the cage, as they start to wither.
 

Tygerr

Avid Member
Yeah, the aphids are indeed a problem. Of course, the aphids won't pose a problem to your cham, but they will make life harder for the hibiscus which would already be under strain.

That's why I'm trying the Camellia now. Camellia also has nutritional benefits in the leaves, but the leaves are harder, and I'm not sure how that will affect the cham's digestion. Plus, I think the plant might struggle with the wetness in the cage and lack of light.

But despite all the problems with minor toxicity and dermatitis, don't give up on Pothos, Schefflera and Ficus - most of the chameleon keepers online here use these plants (and some have used them for many years) without any problems. Any of those plants is better for your cham than having him chomping on plastic leaves. And live plants also provide a significant boost to the humidity levels in your cage.
 
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