19 Safe Plants for Leopard Geckos: Add a Touch of Nature to Their Habitat

Leopard geckos are a popular choice for pet owners due to their small size, docile nature, and easy care requirements. These lizards can make great pets for both beginners and experienced reptile owners.

Live plants can be a great addition to your leopard gecko’s terrarium, as they provide a natural and stimulating environment for your pet. Not only do they add visual appeal, but they also offer several benefits for your gecko’s health and well-being.

Advantages of Having Live Plants in Your Leopard Gecko Enclosure

Advantages of Live Plants

First, live plants can help to improve the overall air quality in the terrarium by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. This can be especially important for leopard geckos, as they require high humidity levels and good ventilation.

Second, live plants can provide natural hiding places for your gecko. Leopard geckos are naturally shy animals and often prefer to hide and retreat from their environment. Live plants can provide a sense of security and help your gecko feel more comfortable in its terrarium.

Third, live plants also act as humidity regulators for your gecko tank. This is a no-brainer knowing leopard geckos come from the dry grasslands of the Middle East.

When choosing live plants for your leopard gecko’s terrarium, it is important to select plants that are safe for your pet. Sounds confusing, we are here to help you in this detailed guide. This article will tell you about the 19 safe plants for leopard geckos, with instructions on how to take care of them.

Top 5 plants for your Leopard Gecko Tank

Plant NameTemperatureWatering ScheduleHumidity LevelLight requirement
Aloe Vera- The Most Popular Plant10 to 70°FOnce in three weeks during the dry season and less during winter.<40%Needs direct sunlight
Snake Plant or Mother-in-law’s Tongue- For the Perfect Tank Backdrop10 to 40°FOnce in two to eight weeks<40%Light shade to full sun
Jade Plant or Silver Dollar Plant- A Generational Treasure30-75°FFortnightly30-50%Any bright spot
Mexican Hen and Chicks- For Experienced Plant Owners20 to 50°FOnce in two weeks in summer. Once a month in winter.<40%Full day sunlight
Devil’s Ivy or Golden Pothos- The Most Resilient Plant30 to 60°FOnce a week with daily misting.30-70 %Indirect light

19 Live Plants that are safe for leopard geckos 

19 Live Plants that are safe for leopard geckos

Aloe Vera – The Most Popular Plant

Scientific Name: Aloe barbadensis miller

Chances are that you already have this plant in your kitchen garden! This is the most popular succulent owing to its medicinal benefits. It comes in various shapes, sizes, and colors. If you want a tank with a more vibrant look, choose the sunset aloe or the pink blush aloe. They need a lot of sunlight (up to 8 hrs a day). So they are best for an outdoor terrarium. You can also buy a UV lamp if you have an indoor terrarium.

Humidity Level: <40%

Watering Need: Once in three weeks during the dry season and less during winter.

Temperature Tolerance: 10 to 70°F

String of Pearls – The Perfect Plant for Tank Floor

String of Pearls - The Perfect Plant for Tank Floor

Scientific Name: Senecio rowleyanus

This plant is native to the southwest deserts of Africa – making it ideal for your leopard gecko’s tank. It is called the String of Pearls because it grows by spreading. It grows quite rapidly, making an excellent floor for your gecko’s tank in about a week. It won’t take much of your time and effort to water as it is a drought-tolerant plant.

Humidity Level: <40% 

Watering Needed: Once in two weeks

Temperature Tolerance: 20 to 60°F

Snake Plant or Mother-in-law’s Tongue – For the Perfect Tank Backdrop

Scientific Name: Sansevieria trifasciata

The snake plant grows very tall and provides the perfect green backdrop for your gecko’s tank. The sword-shaped upright shoots and bright-colored leaves will give your tank a tropical forest vibe. It is very low maintenance with low sunlight and water requirements. It also provides hiding spots for the leopard Gecko, making them more than just decorative plants.

Humidity Level: <40% 

Watering Needed: Once in two to eight weeks

Temperature Tolerance: 10 to 40°F

Epiphytic Cactus – The Perfect Large Tank Plant

Scientific Name: Rhipsalis elliptica

It has smooth flat leaves with red fruit and yellow flowers. It grows up to two inches in length. The soil in the tank should be kept moist, but the roots must not be allowed to sit in water for extended periods, as this can lead to root rot. So opt for this only if you have time to maintain it.

The downside is that though these plants grow only approximately two inches in length, they can grow more than one and a half feet in width, which means you may need to uproot them when they grow too big for the enclosure. You can always possibly move them to your home garden.

Humidity Level: 50-70%

Watering Needed: Weekly

Temperature Tolerance: 30 to 50°F

String of Bananas – For First-Time Plant Owners

Scientific Name: Senecio radicans

This unique plant has leaves that look like a banana. This succulent does not need any special lighting. They have flowers of white and light pink color. They are native to South Africa and are drought-tolerant, making them very easy to maintain. They require well-drained soil to prevent the rotting of their roots.

Humidity Level: 30-40%

Watering Need: Once in three weeks

Temperature Tolerance: 30 to 50°F

Mexican Hen and Chicks – For Experienced Plant Owners

Scientific Name: Echeveria spp.

This rosette-shaped succulent originated in Central America. It comes in several colors ranging from light and dark green, to brown, pink, and purple- giving you several options to choose from according to your taste.

It needs little watering, but plenty of light. That’s the reason it is recommended only for experts who put the tank outdoors or can buy a UV lamp. If it doesn’t get enough light, the leaves will flatten out. Like with most succulents, the baby plants can easily be removed and repotted once the plant has grown too big.

Humidity Level: <40%

Watering Need: Once in two weeks in summer. Once a month in winter.

Temperature Tolerance: 20 to 50°F

Living Stones or Pebble Plants – The Perfect Plant for Small Tanks

Scientific Name: Lithops spp.

This interesting plant has only two thick leaves and looks like colorful stones when viewed from the top. It grows only up to 2 inches in height, making it perfect for small tanks. The downside is that it doesn’t provide your geckos with any hiding spots. In other words, it is just decorative.

Humidity Level: <40%

Watering Need: Once in two to three weeks

Temperature Tolerance: 30 to 40°F

Air Plants- The Climber Plant

Scientific Name: Tillandsia

It is named the air plant because it depends on air and not soil for nutrition. There are over 650 species that grow by clinging to other plants or objects, like rock, bark, and wood. It doesn’t need much watering, but you will have to soak them in water for two hours, unlike the other plants.

Humidity Level: 50-70%

Watering Need: Once in three weeks, need to be soaked in water

Temperature Tolerance: 50 to 80°F

Christmas/ Holiday/Easter Cactus – The No-Spikes Cactus

Scientific Name: Schlumbergera bridgesii

The Christman Cactus has an edge over other desert plants because it does not have any thorns. So unlike the Crown of Thorns, you need not worry about it hurting your leopard gecko. It grows slowly but can become very large over time. So it’s best to use it in a large tank. It has beautiful pink or red flowers and green fleshy leaves.

Humidity Level: 50-60%

Watering Need: Weekly with daily misting.

Temperature Tolerance: 20 to 50°F

Elephant Bush – The Perfect Bonsai Plant

Elephant Bush - The Perfect Bonsai Plant

Scientific Name: Portulacaria afra

This succulent has reddish-brown stems and glossy green leaves. Also, elephants love to eat it. They also grow up to 16 feet, just like elephants. But don’t worry, it will fit right in your gecko tank. All you have to do is trip it when it grows too large for your tank. It is fairly easy to maintain too.

Humidity Level: >50%

Watering Need: Once or twice a month

Temperature Tolerance: 60 to 110°F

Jade Plant or Silver Dollar Plant – A Generational Treasure

Scientific Name: Crassula ovata

This is native to South Africa and is also known as a money plant. It is an excellent alternative for Elephant bush- its looks similar to it but can only grow 3 feet tall. It is a very low-maintenance plant. This extremely long-lasting plant can live for many generations, and many are often passed down in families. It requires plenty of sunshine, so it’s best to keep the terrarium outdoors or install a UV lamp.

Humidity Level: 30-50%

Watering Need: Fortnightly

Temperature Tolerance: 30 to 75°F

Crown of Thorns or Dwarf Apache – The Perfect Desert Plant

Scientific Name: Euphorbia milii

Crown of Thorns is a woody, spiny, succulent shrub. It’s an evergreen plant and the leaves are huge- making it perfect for large tanks. Because it’s a desert plant, it will right in with other succulents and cacti in your gecko’s terrarium. Aptly named the Crown of thorns, it has thorny stems which need pruning regularly to protect your gecko from injury.

Humidity Level: <30%

Watering Need: Once in two weeks in the dry season and less in winter.

Temperature Tolerance: 20 to 50°F

Sweetheart Hoya – For The Extra Love Your Gecko Deserves

Scientific Name: Hoya Kerrii

This cute small succulent plant has heart-shaped leaves. When the plant first starts growing, it will usually have a single heart-shaped leaf that stands five inches tall. But as the plant grows, more of these vivid green leaves will appear. The white flowers on sweetheart hoyas have crimson centers and look striking against the brilliant green leaves. It needs plenty of sunshine. The downside is that it is very sensitive to overwatering and you need to show some extra love to this plant.

Humidity Level: 40-60%

Watering Need: Once or twice a month.

Temperature Tolerance: 60 to 80°F

Devil’s Ivy or Golden Pothos – The Most Resilient Plant

Scientific Name: Epipremnum aureum

Devil’s Ivy is a flowering vine easily available in a nearby nursery. It is named such because of its incredible resilience and the never-die spirit of the devil. It can easily survive in a low-humidity environment with high temperatures. Because of this, it is usually recommended to a newbie. While there are concerns about Calcium Oxalate in the leave of this plant, it won’t impact your pet leopard gecko because Geckos are insectivorous. So this plant is safe for their terrarium.

Humidity Level: 30-70 %

Watering Need: Once a week with daily misting.

Temperature Tolerance: 30 to 60°F

 Zebra Cactus – For An Ornamental Aloe Vera

Scientific Name: Haworthiopsis attenuata

The name is a misnomer, this is not a cactus but a succulent like aloe vera. Its plump, thick, and pointed green leaves are green. It resembles zebras in that it has white stripes on it. It has thick green leaves which are pointy at the ends. It is originally from Africa, so it favors a hot, dry atmosphere, making it very low maintenance. It is a vibrant alternative to the common aloe vera for your leopard gecko tank.

Humidity Level: 60-70%

Watering Need: Once or twice a month.

Temperature Tolerance: 50 to 80°F

Sedge Grass or Carex Grass – The Natural Habitat for Your Gecko

Scientific Name: Carex pendula

It is a bright-green, evergreen, grass-like plant. It makes a great hiding spot for your gecko. It mimics the grasslands which are the original homes of Geckos. There are over 100 species of sedge plants and you can choose them to suit your taste. It’s prudent to go for smaller species because some species can grow up to 30 feet tall. 

Humidity Level: 50-70%

Watering Need: Once a week.

Temperature Tolerance: 50 to 70°F

Pink Quill- For a Colorful Tank

Scientific Name- Tillandsia cyanea

It has bright pink and violet flowers on a bed of bright green grass. It resembles bird feathers. The flowers last for around three months, after which they die off. As the flower dies, it propagates by dropping seeds around the base. These seeds will eventually grow into a new plant and flower, and you may keep the plants together or separate them as they sprout. This gorgeous plant is resilient and doesn’t require much maintenance.

Humidity Level: 40-50%

Watering Need: Once a month with a few mistings in between.

Temperature Tolerance: 50 to 80°F

String of Dolphins – Yet Another String Plant

Scientific Name: Senecio rowleyanus

This is another great option for your gecko tank flooring. The plant spreads while it grows, forming a dense mat on the base of your tank. It is named such owing to its one-of-a-kind jumping dolphin-shaped leaves. It is native to Africa and grows up to 6 inches in height. It needs indirect sunlight exposure to thrive.

Humidity Level: 40-50%

Watering Need: Once a week in the dry season and twice a month in cold.

Temperature Tolerance: 65 to 80°F

Cinnamon Basil – The Scented Ornamental

Scientific Name- Ocimum basilicum ‘Cinnamon’

At last, what about using a herb as a plant for your gecko tank? This Mexican plant has a beautiful mild scent and creates a relaxing environment for both you and your pet. Because it doesn’t do well with substrates that have to be changed regularly- it’s only good for bioactive tanks. 

Humidity Level: 40-60%

Watering Need: Once a week.

Temperature Tolerance: 60 to 80°F

How to Choose The Plants for Your Leopard Gecko Tank

How to Choose The Plants for Your Leopard Gecko Tank

When choosing plants for a leopard gecko tank, there are several factors to consider:

  • Safety – Make sure the plants you choose are non-toxic to leopard geckos. Some common safe options include succulents, string plants, and snake plants.
  • Size  – Consider the size of the plants in relation to the size of your tank. Smaller plants may be more appropriate for a smaller enclosure. Plants like Epiphytic Cactus and Crown of Thorns are suitable for large tanks.
  • Lighting – Leopard geckos require UVB lighting to help them properly metabolize calcium, so make sure the plants you choose can thrive in the lighting provided for the geckos.
  • Water requirement It is best to choose a plant that does not require water very frequently. This reduces the added responsibility that comes with live plants. A good example is the Pink Quill which needs watering once a month.
  • Functionality All live plants regulate both air quality and humidity, making the gecko tank self-sufficient. It is wise to choose a plant like a snake plant or string of bananas which also provides hiding spots for your leopard gecko. Sedge grass provides a natural habitat for your gecko.
  • Temperature Your plant and gecko will share the enclosure. The hardiness zone, which ranges from 1 to 13, is used to gauge the range of temperatures that a plant can take. The hardiness zone rises by 1 for every 10°F. In the case of the leopard geckos, it is recommended to choose a plant within zone 9 or above (20°F and above) hardiness.
  • Humidity Some plants require higher humidity levels than others, so make sure the plants you choose are compatible with the humidity levels in the gecko tank.
  • Ease of care – It’s important to select plants that are easy to care for as you will have to maintain them as well as the gecko tank.
  • Natural Habitat – If you are trying to replicate the natural habitat, you should research the native plants of the leopard gecko’s wild habitat and try to incorporate them into the enclosure.
  • Putting plants of similar species together – Suppose, when you put succulents together, it will help you provide for the same needs for every plant. This will also make the job easier for you.

Editor’s Note
One easy way to choose plants is to decide on a theme for the tank- bright orange, pink and purple or green only. Then simply choose the plant from the above list which fits this theme. This makes the task of picking the plants so much easier. You can also plan for a bioactive terrarium. It is super easy and doesn’t take a lot of effort. 

Should I use Fake plants?

Should I use fake plants

You must choose between real plants and fake plants when it comes time to decorate your gecko tank. The majority of people choose fake plants. After all, they often have an equally attractive appearance to live plants and are handy, inexpensive, and simple to clean. The best part is that your leopard gecko won’t be able to distinguish between the two. Your leopard gecko will usually look to the fake plants for hiding.

However, most people are unaware that using live plants in your leopard gecko environment is quite safe. In reality, living plants might be a wise choice if you pick them carefully and in a way that best replicates your gecko’s native habitat.

Additionally, live plants in the terrarium may support high humidity levels. Artificial plants do little to reduce humidity. You should normally use succulents, aloe kinds, and snake plants for your leopard gecko terrarium. If you have the time to care for them, it is advised to choose live plants.

You can always use fake plants if maintaining actual plants is too much effort for you. If you decide to utilise fake plants, vine leaves, boxwoods and spider orchids are excellent choices.


Can you put live plants in a leopard gecko tank?

Yes, you can put live plants in a leopard gecko tank. But not all plants are safe your a gecko. Aloes, succulents, string types, and echeverias are considered safe. Ornamental plants like Elephant bush, Pink Quill, and air plants can also be used.

Are succulents safe for leopard geckos?

Yes, succulents are safe for leopard geckos. Healthy leopard geckos will not eat plants unless they are sick or extremely hungry. But not all succulents are equal. Some succulents might need long exposure to direct sunlight which a leopard gecko might not like. It’s also a  good idea to avoid anything spiky to protect the gecko from harm.


Apart from its ornamental value, the best plant for your leopard gecko tank will be non-toxic and functional. The plant variety has to take into account the size of the tank too. You don’t want the plant to outgrow the size of your tank often.

Make sure that no pesticides or insecticides are used on the plants. At last, don’t overthink and keep experimenting! There are no hard rules here and you don’t have to stick with the same plant for the gecko’s entire lifespan.

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