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Plants to grow inside of sulcata enclosure! (Indoor)

Discussion in 'Tortoise Diet and Food' started by Nicole edwards, Jan 2, 2016.

  1. Nicole edwards

    Nicole edwards Active Member

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    My sulcata tortoise is 6 months old and weighs 69 grams, so he is still inside for a while. I want him to have access to foods that he would have access to outdoors, inside of his home. Has anyone found plants that will grow under the basking bulb & Mercury uv bulb? It is too cold outside to plant and grow anything outside right now. Thanks
    Odin's Gma likes this.
  2. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    The problem is that as soon as any plants begin to sprout your tortoise will eat or trample them. Also, your substrate does not have the nutrients to sustain plant growth.

    One way to do it is to grow several trays of plants and seed mixes outside the enclosure and rotate them in an out as needed. You can dig out the substrate so the trays drop in and fit perfectly. Make the rim of the tray level with the substrate and be sure to use soil with no perlite, vermiculite or other such additives. Natural fertilizers in the growing soil like "guano" or chicken manure will not harm the tortoise.
  3. Careym13

    Careym13 Well-Known Member

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    I keep tortoise safe plants in small pots buried about halfway in the substrate. Spider plants work well usually, though my torts don't really like them. Just make sure it is pesticide free. I also do what Tom mentioned above and have had good luck.
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  4. Odin's Gma

    Odin's Gma Well-Known Member

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    This is very true, on the plus side though, the young ones really adore the fresh seedlings and with some of the greens, like spinach arugula and kale (which should only be a very small part of their diet anyway) they are easier for the little ones to munch and digest since their mature counterparts are more fibrous and strongly flavored. My sully, who is a little over a year and a half, love love LOVES radish seedlings, but when they leaf out he ignores them. He waits until the cotyledons are at their max size and the first true leaf is just barely budding out, and MUNCH! Down to the ground, every time. He does the same with squash and pumpkin seedlings. He's a funny dude.
    If you are set on growing foods inside his enclosure, grasses are the way to go and should be the bulk of their diet anyway. Plus, grass seed is pretty inexpensive. It is easy enough to throw new seeds in every week or so, that way they have a constant supply of freshly sprouted grass and greens. I do about 75% grasses and the rest a mix of greens and weed seeds. I also have aloe, opuntia, hibiscus, spider plants and a banana plant in there, knowing full well that it will all get eaten and / or trampled.
    Last year I grew all his food in planting trays and rotated a fresh one in every week, this year we have a larger enclosure with a greenhouse and it is must be reseeded every week. It's the same amount of work as far as seeding goes.
    Nicole edwards likes this.
  5. Prairie Mom

    Prairie Mom Well-Known Member

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    I've had success potting spider plants, hostas, African violets, and mini dwarf snapdragons with only tortoise lighting inside an enclosure. Stick with shade and house plants and pot them the way Carey said or rotate trays as Tom suggested. When you put the plants in pots, you will also want to place the plant lower in the pot, so your sulcata can only eat the edges that peek over, rather than eating the whole thing down to the roots. Grasses like Odin's Gma said will work too, but you'll still have better luck if you pot them or rotate trays.
    Nicole edwards likes this.
  6. yillt

    yillt Well-Known Member

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    I tried the same thing as you and planted a few seed in the inside enclosure of my tort. Unfortunately my plan failed due to the undeniable fact that tortoises are just greedy and will not patiently wait for their seeds to grow but they'll gobble them up immediately. As Tom said? I suggest buying some trays and seeds (pro rep tortoise seeds are good) and when they're grown put them in. :D
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  7. Nicole edwards

    Nicole edwards Active Member

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    Are these two types of succulecents okay for my baby sulcata to eat? I read they were but I want to make 100% sure
    image.jpg
  8. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    I don't know. There are lots and lots of different types of sedum. People say "sedum" is good tortoise food, but at least some species are reported to be toxic. I know the brown bean sedum is toxic, but I don't know these two species.
  9. Stitchpunk

    Stitchpunk Active Member

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    Nicole edwards likes this.
  10. SarahChelonoidis

    SarahChelonoidis Well-Known Member

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    Sedum pachyphyllum is considered toxic to some animals so I wouldn't allow access to it. Not sure about the other one.
    Nicole edwards likes this.
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