Live plants for enclosure

Bo's Mom & Dad

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Hello!

Hope you are all well. I have a 4 month old margie and i wanted to add some live greenery in his enclosure as I am not a fan of fake plants. I wanted to ask what my options are, as i am aware that almost all the plants from florist, home depots, etc.. have some sort of fertilizer and pesticides in them. I've heard those are safe if i remove the soil and rinse the plant. Is this true? If not, what are my other options besides growing my own, since I live in Vancouver, Canada and our winters are quite cold so live weeds and flowers are hard to come by right now, let alone grow. I'm aware of the specific plants that are safe and unsafe, but my concern is the fertilizers and stuff in the plants.

Please let me know your thoughts!
 

Yvonne G

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You would have to have them in clean dirt for a month or so to get rid of everything the nursery fed them with.
 

TisMary

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My experience so far is with live plants in our Bearded Dragon and Panther Chameleon enclosures. Can't help much yet on tortoise-specific stuff, but I have some general thoughts that might help.

First, I don't usually remove all the soil from a new plant. They go through enough trauma just getting from the store to my house and a new environment. I don't want to add to their stress. I do agree that you should repot anything you buy into clean (preferably sterilized) potting soil, and let them "grow out" for a few weeks to get all the toxins out of their systems. But keep the root ball as undistrurbed as possible in the process.

Second, I really like Osmocote for an all-around good plant food that's used for growing people-food. You shake a little into the pot about an inch from the final top-level of the soil, then cover it up with the rest of the soil. I put large pebbles (i.e. too big for them to eat), on the top of the soil to keep down bugs, dust, and to retain humidity for the plant.

Finally, get at least 2 of any plant you intend to put into the enclosure. Our Beardie is especially tough on plants (he sits on 'em, tugs at 'em, eats 'em, moves 'em around - you get the idea). I suspect the tort will exhibit similar behavior. When a plant gets sufficiently "beat up", I take it out and swap in a replacement. The original goes into my plant table equivalent of an ICU! When it's recovered sufficiently, I can swap it back in when the time comes (and it always does!)

Good luck! Live plants are a little more work, but they are sooo much nicer!
 

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Bo's Mom & Dad

New Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2021
Messages
19
Location (City and/or State)
Vancouver, B.C.
My experience so far is with live plants in our Bearded Dragon and Panther Chameleon enclosures. Can't help much yet on tortoise-specific stuff, but I have some general thoughts that might help.

First, I don't usually remove all the soil from a new plant. They go through enough trauma just getting from the store to my house and a new environment. I don't want to add to their stress. I do agree that you should repot anything you buy into clean (preferably sterilized) potting soil, and let them "grow out" for a few weeks to get all the toxins out of their systems. But keep the root ball as undistrurbed as possible in the process.

Second, I really like Osmocote for an all-around good plant food that's used for growing people-food. You shake a little into the pot about an inch from the final top-level of the soil, then cover it up with the rest of the soil. I put large pebbles (i.e. too big for them to eat), on the top of the soil to keep down bugs, dust, and to retain humidity for the plant.

Finally, get at least 2 of any plant you intend to put into the enclosure. Our Beardie is especially tough on plants (he sits on 'em, tugs at 'em, eats 'em, moves 'em around - you get the idea). I suspect the tort will exhibit similar behavior. When a plant gets sufficiently "beat up", I take it out and swap in a replacement. The original goes into my plant table equivalent of an ICU! When it's recovered sufficiently, I can swap it back in when the time comes (and it always does!)

Good luck! Live plants are a little more work, but they are sooo much nicer!

Thank you! This helps a lot!
 

ZEROPILOT

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I also have live plants with my Chameleons and outside in my tortoise enclosures.
As for inside, my issue was always plants getting trampled on and not flourishing under the enclosures lighting.
Buy some Lyriopi or spider plants and start some Pathos clippings.
These are usually pest and pesticide free. Not generally eaten by tortoises, will live in less than optimal light and are so inexpensive it wont break the bank if you have to replace them.
 
TortoiseSupply.com

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