Chameleon Safe Plants – (20 Best Enclosure Plants)

Plants are vital for your pet chameleon’s enclosure. They allow them to feel more at home since the dense foliage mimics their natural habitat, provides fresh oxygen, cleans the air, and maintains healthy humidity. They also allow your chameleon to climb, hide, and lick water droplets off leaves.

Ideally, you’d like to provide a variety of plants for your chameleon: some to climb, some for hiding, some to munch on, and some simply to add color and beauty to its surroundings. For our top five, we recommend the weeping fig, rubber tree, yucca plant, golden pothos, and hibiscus, all for their functionality and easy maintenance. 

Weeping Fig Water once the soil is dried up to 1 inch deep.Lots of bright, indirect light.65° – 85°F up to 60%
Rubber TreeWater once the soil is dry to the touchLots of indirect light. Tolerant to low-light conditions60° – 75°F 40% – 50%
Yucca PlantLightly, once a weekIndirect, partial light65° – 85°F 10% or more
Golden PothosWater once the soil is dry to the touchDirect light but not too bright. Tolerant of low-light conditions70° – 90°F 50% – 70%
HibiscusWater once the soil is dried up to 1 inch deep.Prefers bright, direct light60° – 85°F Moderate to high

Editor’s Note
Before installing new plants into your pet’s cage, wipe down the leaves with mildly soapy water. This ensures no unwanted bugs or parasites get in and that any insecticide or chemicals left on the leaves are washed off.

Top 20 Chameleon Safe Plants for Enclosures

chameleon safe plants

Generally, each plant will be happiest when given organic, well-draining soil.

Additionally, while their water, temperature, and humidity requirements are pretty close to each other’s and your pet chameleon’s, take note of each one’s lighting needs: some require bright direct light, while others prefer dimmer, indirect light. 

Consider their lighting requirements when arranging your plants within your enclosure.

Primary Plants

Chameleons are arboreal animals that need to climb to be happy. They also require lots of foliage to hide under and to drink water from. The following plants are excellent options that cover all three bases.

Here’s a chameleon doing what it loves best–climbing!

1. Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)

Weeping Fig (Ficus Benjamina)

The weeping fig, or Ficus benjamina, is a favorite among chameleons and their owners. The plant has a strong, woody stem and big leaves and is a giant playground for your color-changing reptile.

They are relatively easy to care for but react strongly when moved to a new location. Therefore, think carefully when deciding where to place your weeping fig in your pet’s tank!

Water: Water once the soil is dried up to 1 inch deep.

Light: Lots of bright, indirect light.

Temperature: 65° – 85°F 

Humidity: up to 60%

Editor’s Note
If your weeping fig is losing a lot of leaves regularly, it’s likely due to too much bright light. In this case, you can make an exception and move your plant to somewhere a little more shaded in your chameleon’s enclosure.

2. Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica)

Rubber Tree (Ficus Elastica)

The rubber tree has the same thick stem and big leaves characteristic of weeping figs. However, they can grow quite big and tall. You must trim them regularly to ensure they don’t grow out and over the edges of your chameleon’s enclosure.

Rubber tree leaves can also be mildly toxic for your chameleon if consumed in large amounts. If you notice too many bitten leaves, you may want to remove the plant from the tank for a while.

Water: Water once the soil is dry to the touch. 

Light: Lots of indirect light. Tolerant to low-light conditions

Temperature: 60° – 75°F 

Humidity: 40% – 50%

Usual issues: Drooping and yellow leaves mean it is either underwatered or the enclosure is too humid. 

3. Yucca Plant (Yucca asparagaceae)

Yucca Plant (Yucca Asparagaceae)

Yuccas have the same climbable trunk as weeping figs and rubber trees but have more pointy leaves.

Hailing from semi-desert areas, yuccas are extremely tough and adaptable to almost any condition, making them perfect for beginner plant owners.

One downside of yuccas is that they grow slowly and unpredictably. Unless you purposely want to be surprised, purchase yuccas already your preferred height and shape.

Water: Lightly, once a week 

Light: Indirect, partial light

Temperature: 65° – 85°F 

Humidity: Anything above 10%

Usual issues: Yellow leaves mean too much bright, direct sunlight.

4. Dragon Tree (Dracaena draco

Dragon Tree (Dracaena Draco)

Dragon trees look like baby palm trees. They are similar to yucca plants with thick trunks, pointy leaves, meager maintenance requirements, and slow growth rate. This means you don’t need to worry about trimming it often.

However, dragon trees can get a little expensive compared to other plants!

Water: Once every 2-3 weeks only

Light: Bright, indirect sunlight, but tolerant to low-light conditions

Temperature: 70° – 80°F 

Humidity: High humidity

Usual issues: Leaves with brown tips mean underwatering (plant is dry), and yellow leaves mean overwatering (soil is waterlogged, roots can’t absorb nutrients properly).

5. Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)

Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea Elegans)

Parlor palms are big, leafy, slow-growing plants that are great for filling up space in your chameleon’s enclosure and giving it enough hiding spots and leaves to lick droplets from.

The only downside to the plant is that its stem isn’t too sturdy, which is unsuitable for climbing.

Water: Lightly, once a week.

Light: Low, filtered light

Temperature: 65° – 75°F

Humidity: High humidity

Usual issues: Brown or yellow leaves indicate water stress. Check its soil – is it soaked through or too dry? This will give you a clue on what to do. It may also be receiving too little or too much light.

6. Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens)

Areca Palm (Dypsis Lutescens)

The Areca Palm or Butterfly Palm is similar in most aspects to the Parlor species, except it has a thicker trunk, allowing your chameleon to climb it.

Another difference is that the Areca palm needs bright, direct light, which makes it suitable for the side of your cage facing the window.

Water: Lightly, once a week.

Light: Bright light. It is recommended that you can take it outside for direct sun a few hours a week.

Temperature: 65° – 75°F

Humidity: 50% – 70%

7. Schefflera Tree (Schefflera arboricola)

Schefflera Tree (Schefflera Arboricola)

The Schefflera tree is also known as the dwarf umbrella tree. As the name suggests, it has an umbrella-like shape perfect for catching droplets and hiding under them.

It can grow tall, making it ideal for a corner it can claim as its own as it gains height.

Water: Lightly, once a week.

Light: Bright, indirect light (not under direct sunlight!)

Temperature: 60° – 75°F

Humidity: Moderate

Usual issues: Most schefflera trees die from overwatering. Make sure its soil is dry before watering again!

8. Ti plant (Cordyline fruticosa)

Ti plants are sturdy, leafy, and colorful, providing lots of functionality and aesthetic value to your pet chameleon’s tank.

Ti plants need medium, indirect light–too much or too little light can kill them. They also like heat. Consider placing your Ti plant near your chameleon’s heat lamp to let it thrive!

Water: Once every 1-2 weeks

Light: Medium, indirect light. It can be placed near a heat bulb.

Temperature: 65° – 95°F 

Humidity: 50% to 60%

9. Jade plant (Crassula ovata)

Jade plants are common houseplants known as friendship, money, or silver dollar plants. 

Being succulents, Jade plants don’t need much watering. It can survive purely from the misting of your pet’s enclosure!

However, they do need bright, direct light and love heat. It’s best to place your Jade plant on the side of your enclosure nearest the window or close to your chameleon’s UVB light.

Water: Once every 1-2 weeks

Light: Medium, indirect light. It can be placed near a heat bulb.

Temperature: 65° – 95°F 

Humidity: 50% to 60%

10. Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera deliciosa)

The Swiss cheese plant is also known as the split-leaf philodendron. It is a quick-growing, climbing vine with thick stems, making it enjoyable for chameleons. 

The plant takes its name from the shape of its leaves that look like, well, cheese. Its perforations and holes give your pet many sides and edges to lick droplets off.

Water: Water once the soil is dried up to 1 inch deep.

Light: Medium to bright lights

Temperature: 60° – 85°F 

Humidity: Above 50%

Accessory Plants

Now that you’ve met your pet’s basic needs, you can have a little more fun and pick plants that are visually appealing but also safe for your chameleon. These plants also have the benefit of being yummy snacks for your reptile! 

Here is a mix of vines that are great for hanging in baskets or adorning your tank walls and flowers that add color and variety to your foliage.

11. Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Golden pothos is climbing vines that are nearly impossible to kill. Also known as devil’s ivy, this plant keeps growing new leaves, presenting a never-ending supply of snacks and hiding spots for your chameleon.

Additionally, despite the thin appearance of golden pothos’ stems, they are sturdy enough for your chameleon to climb and explore.

Water: Water only when leaves droop or the soil is dry from the last watering.

Light: Direct, but not bright light. Can tolerate low-light conditions.

Temperature: 70° – 90°F

Humidity: 50% – 70%

Why is golden pothos so good for pet chameleons? Here’s a quick video

12. Grape Ivy (Cissus rhombifolia)

Grape ivy is another quick-growing, low-maintenance vine plant that will crawl all over your chameleon’s enclosure, providing plenty of leaves and hiding spots. 

Unlike golden pothos, though, its stems might be a little too delicate for climbing.

The plant prefers medium light, though it will always crawl toward and lean toward the light source. Consider this if you are particular about the plants’ posture in your chameleon’s tank!

Water: Water only when the soil is dry from the last watering.

Light: Medium light, nothing too bright or strong. Can tolerate low-light conditions. It will always creep toward the direction of the light.

Temperature: 68° – 82°F

Humidity: 40% to 60%

13. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)

The Boston fern is a very leafy plant with many hiding spots and leaves for drinking droplets. Unlike the previous two plants, though, it is not a vine and therefore does not offer stems for climbing.

Water: Soil should always stay moist but never be soaking wet.

Light: Prefers low to medium light and more shaded parts of your enclosure

Temperature: 65° – 95°F 

Humidity: Above 50%

14. Japanese Aralia (Fatsia Japonica)

Like the Boston fern, the Japanese Aralia is more a shrub than a vine. Not many opportunities for climbing here, but plenty for hiding and drinking!

The Japanese Aralia has beautifully-shaped leaves, shaped almost like an open flower. It is also a sturdy plant, known for surviving many years without fuss.

Water: Soil should always stay moist but never be soaking wet.

Light: Prefers low to medium light and more shaded parts of your enclosure

Temperature: 60° – 70°F 

Humidity: Above 45%

15. Wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebrina)

The Wandering Jew is technically a succulent that grows long, sturdy stems and plenty of leaves. What makes it special compared to other ferns and vines is its color: the wandering jew is known for its pinkish-purple leaves.

It’s the perfect way to add color to your enclosure without adding flowers.

Water: About once a week, or when soil fully dries from the last watering.

Light: Bright but indirect light. Full sunlight can burn its leaves.

Temperature: 50° – 80°F

Humidity: 40% – 70%

16. Bromeliad (Bromeliaceae)

Bromeliads are tall foliage plants that also bloom flowers. Typically, they can grow up to five feet tall.

This plant is a great option for beginners since they require very little maintenance while offering all the color and joy of flowers. They also bloom year-round, even during the winter months!

Water: About once a week, or when soil fully dries from the last watering.

Light: Bright, indirect light

Temperature: 65° – 80°F 

Humidity: 40% to 60%

17. Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)

Hibiscus flowers come in bright colors that cheer your chameleon’s enclosure. 

They also add lots of nutrients to your pet’s diet! Hibiscus flowers are full of Vitamin C, which helps keep your chameleon strong if they fancy munching on it.

The only downside of hibiscus is that they require a lot of maintenance and might be tricky to keep alive, particularly if you aren’t used to planting care.

Water: Water once the soil is dried up to 1 inch deep.

Light: Bright, direct sunlight

Temperature: 60° – 85°F 

Humidity: Moderate to high

Here’s a chameleon munching on hibiscus leaves:

18. Jasmine (Jasminum)

Jasmine flowers are pretty, non-toxic, and fragrant! Owners love placing Jasmine in their pet chameleon’s enclosure to help cover up the tank smell.

Jasmine plants can grow up to 8 feet if left unchecked so they may require occasional pruning. It’s best to give your Jasmine a trellis it can climb up, giving your chameleon lots of stems to crawl along.

Water: Once a week. Soil should always stay moist but never be soaking wet.

Light: Bright, indirect light. Cannot tolerate low-light conditions.

Temperature: 60° – 75°F 

Humidity: High

Editor’s Note
Many species of Jasmine are available. The best types of your chameleon are the common and poet’s Jasmine. Star Jasmine is still non-toxic for pets but is not as fragrant.

19. Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides)

Gardenias produce the same white flowers and fragrance as jasmine, so it’s recommended to get one or the other. 

However, compared to jasmines, gardenias have bigger leaves and are more of a bush than climbing vine. In this sense, each flower offers your chameleon different things to do.

Gardenias are also a little trickier to keep alive between the two, but they are well worth it if you love the smell!

Water: Once a week. Soil should always stay moist but never be soaking wet.

Light: Bright, indirect light. 

Temperature: 60° – 70°F

Humidity: 50% – 70%

20. Petunias (Petunia)

Last but not least is the petunia. Petunias are small, colorful flowers perfect for carpeting the floor of your chameleon’s enclosure. They are great for giving your pet’s tank bursts of color and your lizard a soft ground to tread upon.

They also grow quickly and are resilient, making them easy to keep alive!

Water: Thorough watering once a week.

Light: Bright, direct light. It can stay alive with less light but will grow fewer flowers.

Temperature: 57° – 75°F

Humidity: Low

Which Plants Should Be Avoided For Chameleons?  


Avoid giving your chameleon plants thorns, hairs, and sharp, serrated leaves. You should also mind the plant’s trunk and ensure that it does not leak sap and is not smooth and slippery (such as bamboo).

These can lead to wounds and other injuries from which we’d naturally like to protect our pets.

Never install plants in your enclosure that are toxic to chameleons. These include poison ivy, dumb cane, red ivy, milkweed, nettles, and crotons.

Regarding toxicity, also be wary of certain types of fig plants. While the weeping fig is perfectly safe and highly recommended, the Zulu, fiddle-leafed, and creeping fig can poison your chameleon. 

How to Choose Which Plants to Use in Your Chameleon’s Tank 

plants in chameleon's tank

Generally, you want to give your chameleon a variety of plants in its tank, covering several of your pet’s needs.

Your chameleon needs plants it can climb on, hide under, and drink from (i.e., have big leaves that can catch droplets) and are also safe to eat. The best chameleon-safe plants hit all four requirements, such as golden pothos and weeping figs. 

If not, it’s excellent to find plants that hit at least two conditions, such as the yucca plant, which can be climbed, eaten, and drunk from but doesn’t provide many hiding opportunities.

Aesthetically speaking, you may also want to consider plant placement. Consider each plant’s height and see if you can design your chameleon’s enclosure to allow plants to be on the bottom, middle, and top areas of their home.

This means that you may want some ground crawlers, small trees or bushes, and possibly even some hanging plants, depending on the size and structure of your enclosure.

If you are unsure where to start, here is a suggested beginner’s layout that covers all a chameleon’s plant needs.

  • One hanging plant
  • Two to three big, leafy primary plants
  • Three smaller filler plants either on the floor or on the walls.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I Put Fake Plants In My Chameleon’s Enclosure?

Artificial plants can be tempting since they are sturdy and require no maintenance. However, you miss out on the other benefits of having live plants in your chameleon’s tank, which include providing fresh, clean air and maintaining humidity levels.

Fake plants can also be a danger to your chameleon if it decides to begin snacking on them.

How Many Plants Should I Give My Chameleon?

A lush enclosure is beautiful, but don’t get carried away and fill every corner. Make your pet’s home pleasant and green, but leave your chameleon room to move and stretch out!

Not overfilling your tank with plants also simplifies life: it will be easier to clean the tank, keep the plants alive, and spot your chameleon amidst the foliage!


Chameleons demand their plants, but you, as their owner, can decide which plants to give them. 

Whatever plants and flowers you select for your enclosure, don’t worry about it too much–you always have the option to change them up later. 

Just make sure not to change too often at the risk of confusing your chameleon!

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