If you want to create the ultimate natural habitat for your ball python, you will want to consider a bio-active enclosure setup with live plants, providing plenty of hiding space for your pet.
Not all plants are safe or do well in a ball python enclosure, which is why you need some idea on what plants you can use to create the habitat of your pet’s dreams.
1. Alocasia Polly
Alocasia Polly is naturally found in tropical rainforests. The dwarf variety is beautiful with deep green leaves and white vines with edging. The leaves have a unique shape, which is what makes this plant striking.
The plant does well in partial or full shade, as the leaves will burn under the basking lamp in the enclosure. It needs slightly moist soil, but the soil must not be allowed to dry out.
Due to the size, these plants are recommended for larger ball python enclosures. It provides cover and color to your python’s enclosure.
2. Spider Plant
The Spider Plant (Chlorophylum Cornosum) is native to South Africa and is an evergreen plant, easy to grow, and exceptionally popular. It has long ribbon-like leaves, which are green and yellow or white.
As the plant reaches around twelve months, it puts runners out, which produce more plants.
These plants appreciate bright, but indirect light with moist soil.
The plant is best suited for a well-drained enclosure, where the plant will not be left with water on the leaves for extended periods.
It grows fast and relatively large, so you may have to remove it and plant it elsewhere once it reaches a certain size within the enclosure.
3. ZZ Plant
The ZZ plant is a beautiful emerald-colored plant that is tolerant of low light and dry conditions.
It throws out new shoots of leaves, which can be pruned to help keep it compact within the habitat.
While this plant is completely safe for ball pythons, it can be mildly toxic to humans and other pets in the home.
Therefore it should be handled with care and hands should be washed after contact.
4. Syngonium Podophyllum
This plant has arrowhead-shaped leaves which range in color from deep green to pinks and reds. While the plant is drought tolerant, it does have high water needs. It makes ideal ground cover as it matures.
This plant does very well in high moisture habitats, though you may have to remove and replant it elsewhere due to its fast growth rate and heights of up to 48”.
5. Mother-in-Law’s Tongue
Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Ansevieria Laurentii) comes from the drier areas in Sri Lanka. It has a unique shape with an upright growth pattern, which makes it very attractive in your ball python habitat.
The sword-shaped leaves are long and narrow with yellow edges, which twist at the edges.
Due to its shallow root system, this plant is best when root bound.
The amount of water it needs is determined by the light in the enclosure, with brighter lights it needs more water, with lower lights, it needs less water.
The plant does best when kept on the drier side of the enclosure. This plant can grow up to three feet in height and up to five feet when it has good lighting.
Place the plant or pot in the substrate on the drier side of the enclosure, do not put it in high humidity areas, as it will rot.
6. Ponytail Palm
The Ponytail Palm is an interesting plant that can be added to your ball python enclosure. It has upright leather-looking leaves with a large base, which stores water. This plant grows up to fifteen feet in height.
Don’t worry it is slow-growing, so you will be able to keep it in a large enclosure with ample light until it starts reaching maturity, at which time you may want to replant it in your garden or in a pot in your home.
7. Anthurium Oaxaca
The Oaxaca is a large dark-leafed plant with pink flowers, which sit above the foliage with blooms that last for months. This plant grows up to 28”.
Anthurium Oaxaca is native to South America, identified by the glossy green leaves and beautiful flowers.
It does well in humid areas, preferring moist soil that is well-drained, reducing the risk of the roots being allowed to sit in water for extended periods.
These plants grow well in the shade and the leaves burn when placed in direct sunlight.
You can plant the Oaxaca at the back of your ball python enclosure, so it can grow and climb the background, offering great cover and hiding places. The large broad leaves provide excellent hiding places for your pet.
Bromeliad does well when attached to hardscapes or backgrounds of your natural enclosure. They do great in well-drained substrate and suitable for small to medium-sized enclosures.
With moderate water needs and moderate lighting requirements, these plants are a great addition to your ball python’s habitat. The brighter the light, the brighter the colors of the plant.
The plant does best when it is allowed to dry out between watering.
9. Bird’s Nest Fern
The Asplenium Antiquum or Bird’s Nest Fern is an interesting plant with ruffled leaves that extended from a central rosette. These ferns can grow on the surface of other plants, including trees.
They have erect, bright green, spoon-shaped fronds that come from a central rosette. The fronds can grow up to five feet in length.
With a moderate growth rate, they can reach five feet in height and three feet in width.
They do not appreciate full sun and do best in partial to full shade with moist, but well-drained soil. These plants are best suited for larger ball python enclosures as background plants.
Do not water the central rosette as this can result in the plant rotting.
Dieffenbachia “Sterling” has dark green foliage with a white stripe that runs down the middle of each leaf.
They are easy to care for and come from a large region, which spans from Argentina to Mexico and the West Indies.
The leaves are large and prefer moderate lighting and watering. They can grow up to five feet once they mature. They do very well in a high moisture environment with a well-drained enclosure.
Due to their size, these plants can decorate your ball python’s habitat for around a year, after which you may have to transplant them.
11. Nerve Plant
The Nerve Plant (Fittonia Verschatfeltii) comes from South America and offers a unique leaf pattern, which is veined with pink.
The plant prefers moist soil and high humidity, over 55%. It doesn’t appreciate direct light but grows beautifully in indirect light with warmth. Cold drafts can cause the plant to droop.
The Nerve Plant is beautiful in the background or foreground of a humid enclosure. It can be trimmed with ease to keep its growth under control.
The soil must not be soggy, as this can cause the plant to rot. The foliage offers excellent hiding places for your ball python.
12. Dracaena Fragrans
The Dracaena Fragrans is a common houseplant found throughout Africa, often referred to as the Corn Plant. Over time it can grow up to four feet in height.
The dark green and long leaves offer plenty of privacy in the enclosure, where it prefers well-drained soil.
When you notice some leaves will shed, which is normal if from the bottom, but if it sheds a few leaves within a few months, this is a sign that it is getting too much water.
Do not place it on the warmer side of the enclosure where the humidity is at its highest, as this can cause the plant to rot.
13. Philodendron Cordatum
This plant is a tropical plant that offers yellow striped leaves. It is low maintenance and a popular house plant that comes from Brazil.
It grows up trees and rock surfaces in the wild, preferring moist soil and partial shade. As a vining plant, it grows quickly, climbing towards the light.
Plant the Philodendron Cordatum in the back of your ball python’s natural enclosure, providing moderate to high water, where it prefers saturated substrate.
You can use the plant as a filler, due to its fast growth rate. The broad leaves are ideal for privacy and hiding.
14. African Violet
The African Violet is a beautiful plant that offers bright flowers and healthy leaves. The leaves are fuzzy in appearance and offer a number of beautiful flowers.
Provide moderate to bright indirect light with just enough water to slightly moisten the soil, without making it soggy. If you over water, rot can set in very quickly.
Note that the roots are sensitive to cold water, so only provide room temperature water, also ensure you avoid watering the leaves.
These plants can do well in ball python enclosures with humidity up to 60% with bright light.
15. Calathea Vitatta
This beautiful plant, often referred to as Vitiata has elongated leaves that are green with white stripes, providing a beautiful contrast. These are fast-growing plants that are native to tropical areas in America.
They do best when in well-drained soil that is kept slightly moist with full shade or low lighting. Water should not be allowed to stand on the leaves for extended periods.
If placed in bright light, the leaves will be damaged and the color will fade.
They need a stable temperature, above sixty degrees, as they do not do well with cold drafts and unexpected temperature fluctuations.
These plants do great in a natural ball python enclosure with the leaves creating plenty of hiding places for privacy.
Plant directly into the substrate, bearing in mind that they do grow tall.
16. Parlor Palm
The Parlor Palm can grow up to four feet, though it is a slow grower, so it will take time for it to get to these heights before you have to move it to your yard or a pot in the home.
They have thin green leaves and prefer low indirect light and slightly drier soil, between watering. The plant is native to Guatemala and southern Mexico and is a very low maintenance plant that is very easy to care for.
The plant thrives in evenly moist soil and should not be allowed to dry out completely or sit in water. You can mist the foliage, but it should be kept in a well-drained area of the enclosure.
17. Neon Pothos
The Neon Pothos (Epipremnum Aureum) is also referred to as Devil’s Ivy and is a plant that does well in bright and low light conditions, making it ideal for your ball python enclosure.
It should only be watered once the top inch of soil is dry.
Plant at the back of the enclosure, where it will quickly cover any hardscapes and backgrounds.
They have moderate water needs and will tolerate a host of water conditions, though it prefers damp substrate.
You will notice it displays brighter colors in bright light.