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Best Plants For An Indoors Tortoise Habitat

tortoise friendly plants for indoor house

Live Plants To Buy For A Tortoise Enclosure

Choosing tortoise-friendly plants is an important aspect of setting up your tortoise’s enclosure. In the wild, tortoises are surrounded by lush vegetation that they use both as food and shelter from the heat and predators.

While your home is safe and free from any predators, your tortoise will still prefer a variety of live and edible plants inside its enclosure. However, keeping plants for tortoise habitat alive long enough can be challenging as tortoises tend to pick and stomp on them constantly.

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There are benefits and drawbacks of adding live plants in a tortoise enclosure, especially if you are a novice owner. While plants are an essential part of every tortoise enclosure, newbies may have a hard time learning how to care for the plants and their tortoises at the same time! 

Having said that, some live plants for tortoise enclosure are easier to grow and keep alive than others. Read on to find the best plants for tortoise habitat that you can grow at home!

Do Tortoises Need Plants In Their Habitat?

One of the most frequent questions newbie tortoise owners ask is whether they should put live plants inside their tortoise’s enclosure. Simply put yes, there are many safe plants for a tortoise that you can use to decorate and enrich your pet’s habitat. 

In their natural environments, all turtles and tortoises are surrounded by various forms of vegetation and many different types of plants. Tortoises rely heavily on these plants to provide shelter against heat and predators. 

Edible plants for tortoises also serve as a valuable source of nutrients your pet needs to stay healthy and strong. Learning what plants can tortoises eat and adding them to your torts enclosure, ensures that your pet will have access to fresh food whenever they feel hungry.

Best Plans For An Indoor Tortoise Enclosure

There are many different plants for tortoise enclosure that you can buy or grow from seed at your home. However, not all turtle-friendly plants have the same purpose! 

Edible plants, for example, should be full of valuable nutrients your tortoise needs to stay healthy. But, they should also look and taste good to entice your tort into eating them in the first place.

On the other hand, live plants for the tortoise enclosure that are used as decoration, need to be hardy and look good. Decorative plants should provide cover and make the terrarium visually appealing and not taste so good that your tortoise wants to nibble on them until there’s nothing left.

Listed below are some of the best and most popular plants for tortoise habitat:

Live Plants For Tortoise Enclosure Decoration

If you are in the process of setting up and decorating your tortoise’s habitat, there are many beautiful plants you can choose from. Here are the best options for you to consider:

1. Tropical Hibiscus

Tropical hibiscus is one of the best plants for sulcata tortoise enclosure. Besides looking great inside the tank, the flowers and the leaves of the hibiscus shrub will provide shelter and shade for your pet to retreat to for a nap. 

2. Geranium

Geranium is a highly decorative perennial plant that provides great shade and its flowers come in a variety of different colors. Both the flowers and the leaves of geranium plants are safe for tortoises to eat and can be included in a varied diet.

3. Pansies

Pansies are easy to grow from seeds and will add some color to your tortoise habitat. This plant creates a low-growing ground cover and its flowers are safe and completely edible for torts.

4. Yucca

Yucca is a large succulent plant that provides good shade and is at the same time highly decorative. There are several types of yuccas, but those with soft leaves are the best choice for tortoise enclosure.

5. Jade Plant

Also known as Crassula argentea, the jade plant is a small to medium-sized succulent that is easy to propagate from cuttings and can even grow from leaves. This decorative plant will look good inside any enclosure and also provide shade and hiding places for your pet.

Safe Weeds For Tortoises

If you are looking for edible plants for sulcata tortoise, Russian tortoise, or a desert tortoise there are many safe weeds you can add to the enclosure. Some of the most popular weeds for tortoises are:

1. Clover

Clover is one of the most popular edible weeds for tortoises due to its high-protein content and ease of growing. It grows low to the ground and both leaves and flowers are edible and make an excellent snack for tortoises. 

2. Dandelion

Dandelion is an excellent source of valuable nutrients for tortoises. Both the leaves and the flowers of this plant are edible and can serve as a fresh source of vitamins for your torte all year round. 

3. Dead Nettle

Dead nettle can be found growing in the wild, but also in some gardens. Unlike stinging nettle, dead nettle can’t sting and is completely safe for tortoises to eat.

4. Broadleaf Plantain

Also known as the common plantain and dooryard plantain, the broadleaf plantain can be great for nibbling and can also provide cover. The leaves of this weed are full of vitamins and other essential nutrients your pet tortoise needs to stay healthy.

5. Chickweed

Chickweed is an annual and perennial flowering plant that grows close to the ground and creates ground cover. This common weed is safe for tortoises to eat and is even grown as a vegetable crop for human consumption.

Edible Plants For Tortoises

While your tortoise can eat any of the plants listed above, they will appreciate having more things on their menu. Let’s check out more edible plants for the tortoise habitat!

1. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a very versatile succulent plant that grows all year round and is very easy to propagate. Due to its high water content aloe vera can serve as a hydrating treat for your tortoise.

2. Spineless Prickly Pear Cactus

Prickly pear is an edible cactus for tortoises that boasts a high calcium content. Make sure to use only a spineless variety since the spines of this cactus can injure your tortoise while eating.

3. Bermuda Grass

Bermuda grass is an excellent food for tortoises and one of the rare plants that your pet won’t manage to kill. This type of grass spreads quickly and provides a steady supply of food for your pet.

4. Lemon Balm

This scented plant provides a fresh source of vitamins for your tortoise and will also look good inside its enclosure. You can bury the whole lemon balm pot inside the enclosure or you can grow it on a windowsill.  

5. Mallow

Mallow is another safe plant for tortoises to eat. Both flowers and leaves of this plant are edible, and can also provide shade, cover, and serve as decoration.

How To Decorate A Tortoise Enclosure? 

When setting up and decorating a tortoise enclosure, your main goal should be to mimic your tort’s natural environment as closely as possible. Tortoises are fairly low-maintenance pets, and you shouldn’t have trouble caring for your tortoise or setting up its tank.

Once you’ve found a spacious enclosure and safe substrate it’s time to pick out decorations! Here’s what you’ll need:

Tortoises need access to fresh water to stay hydrated so choose a large water dish. The bowl needs to be large enough so your tortoise can swim in it if they feel like it, so keep that in mind when shopping. 

Besides plants that provide shelter, your tortoise will also need a hiding cave to retreat to when they feel anxious or scared.

While live plants are always a better option, you can combine them with artificial terrarium plants to create a lush tropical environment.

While tortoises don’t use it for climbing, adding driftwood to the terrarium is always a nice touch and will make the entire enclosure look and feel cozier for your pet tort.

Conclusion: Must-have Plants & Decorations For A Pet Tortoise

Tortoises are becoming increasingly popular pets that can live from 50 to 100 years when properly taken care of. Finding the best plants for an indoor tortoise habitat is an important aspect of caring for your pet tort.

When choosing plants for your pet, make sure that they are free of pesticides or other harmful chemicals. Since these plants won’t only serve as decoration but also as food for your pet you should err on the side of caution and purchase only organic plants for your tortoise’s enclosure.

Best Live Plants For An Indoors Tortoise Habitat 

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