Are you in the process of setting up an enclosure to bring your tree frog pet home, but you are not sure which plants to include? If you are looking at setting up a bioactive habitat set up, then you will need real live plants to be part of this important process. It's imperative that you choose the right live plants which are one hundred percent safe for your tree frog. Continue reading for a list of safe plants you can add to your tree frog enclosure with one hundred percent confidence.
Tree Frogs and Plants Relationship
The majority of tree frog species will find shelter in trees, some will hide in the tree bark and others rely on their camouflage to protect them against any predators, such as Green Tree Frogs, which can hide in leaves of trees completely unnoticed.
In addition to providing a safe hiding space, live plants help to boost humidity levels. Plants can be planted directly into the substrate with light watering and ample sunlight.
Anyone raising tree frog tadpoles will see the importance of live plants to help the tadpoles grow into healthy frogs. Tadpoles need plenty of oxygen in their water, something many people struggle with. You can have an aerator running gently, especially if the water is very still, but this could stress and disrupt plants. Note that your decorative plants, such as reeds, floating ferns, and water lilies do not provide enough oxygen for tadpoles. Leafy plants are the best choice. The plants will require some sunshine daily to provide enough oxygen for the tadpoles, while tadpoles will require sunlight for their vitamin D and calcium absorption.
Tree Frog Safe Plants
Dracaena Compacta Janet Craig
This plant comes from Southeast Africa and is a common houseplant and very easy to care for. It can be easily recognized for its dark green leaves, which are tightly compacted measuring around four inches from base to stem. This slow growing plant can reach up to six feet when fully grown. It does well in a moderately lit area with less water. If you place it in a brighter lit area, then you will need to provide more water, but it does prefer to be kept slightly on the drier side. Plant in your vivarium in a well-drained soil either in its pot or directly into the substrate.
Asplenium Nidus (Antiquum) - Bird's Nest Fern
The Bird Nest Fern comes from Hawaii, Asia, Australia, Madagascar, and Polynesia. It is an interesting plant with a tongue-shaped leaf with ruffled leaves. These can grow large and up to 24 inches when fully grown. This tropical evergreen fern enjoys moist soil and higher humidity levels, which is why it’s recommended for larger enclosures. Plant closer to the back with evenly moist soil. You will need to trim back the plant as it grows and eventually remove it completely due to its large size.
This spike moss is found in Ecuador and Columbia. This plant creeps outwards, staying low to the ground with green leaves that change to bronze over time. Pruning can help keep the growth of this plant under control. It needs indirect light, high humidity, and moist substrate, that should not be wet. It does appreciate moisture, but the soil must be well-drained to eliminate the risk of root rot. Place in the forefront of the enclosure providing a bushy foliage where your tree frog can hide with confidence.
Hemionitis Arifolia - Heart Leaf Fern
The Heart Leaf Fern comes from Asia and is unique as it doesn't resemble a fern. It has heart-shaped leaves with very dark stems. They are small in size, under a foot when fully grown and they can handle moderate to low lighting. This fern can be kept in just about any size enclosure staying at less than twelve inches in height. Ensure it is placed in a location with excellent light and superior draining.
This plant is ideal for the small to medium-sized habitat to create an up to eight inch rosette. These plants hold vast amounts of water and are ideal if you want to rear tadpoles. These plants can attach themselves to the background of your bioactive enclosure. They need well-draining substrate and grow well when placed at the back of the enclosure.
This plant cannot be left standing in water or having its leaves dripping in water. It has moderate lighting needs and when placed under bright light will have brighter coloration. These slow growers create clumps with younger plants growing off the main plant. They do need ample ventilation
Bromeliad – Neoregelia
This plant will be attached to the background or hard scape of your bioactive enclosure. It must be planted in well-draining substrate and is suitable for medium to small enclosures making rosettes from a couple of inches up to eight inches. These plants retain water, making them suitable for tadpoles and to increase humidity levels. It needs ample ventilation and should be allowed to dry out slightly between watering.
Sansevieria zeylanica 'Mother-in-Law's Tongue
The Mother in Laws tongue is a uniquely shaped plant that comes from Sri Lanka with an upright growth pattern and sword-shaped leaves that are long and narrow. The shallow root system is best placed in a well-draining substrate with less water. It does need brighter lighting. Overwatering can result in root rot. These plants grow up to five feet in height when they have good lighting. It is a very eye-catching plant with dark green leaves with a lighter striped pattern. Due to the large size, this plant should be removed from the enclosure when it grows too big.
Monstera Deliciosa Swiss Cheese Plant
This plant is found in Central America and Mexico. The plant tends to have leaves that split and these plants grow enormous, reaching heights of seventy inches or more. They can grow up to ten inches in width. They are monsters, which is where the name comes from, the Monster Delicious. The good news is that it does take time to reach full size, though even though completely safe for your tree frog, it is not recommended for a tree frog enclosure due to its large size.
This plant is ideal for the small to medium-sized enclosure with six inch rosettes that grow across the bottom of the tank. They hold great amounts of water and are ideal if you are currently rearing tadpoles. They need a well-draining substrate and should always be planted near the back of the enclosure. It needs moderate to intense light, where it displays brighter colors the brighter the light. They are slow growers and need excellent ventilation.
Nephrolepis Exaltata 'Emerald Vase' Fern
This lovely fern has frilly leaves that are packed tightly while looking delicate. It can reach up to twelve inches when mature but can be kept small with regular pruning. Evenly moist soil with partial sunshine will help this plant stay strong and healthy within the enclosure. The plant thrives in the enclosure environment when placed at the back of the enclosure, offering ample hiding spaces for your tree frog.
Polypodium Aureum 'Blue Star' Fern
The Blue Star fern does well with well-drained soil and partial to full shade, it must not be exposed to sunlight. Native to South America, this fern has blue/silver foliage and can reach up to twelve inches. It sends out roots every few centimeters as it creeps along the soil, enjoying high humidity levels. It can be added to a larger vivarium and will do well in a well-draining substrate, offering excellent hiding places to make your tree frog feel safer and more secure.
Fresh Sheet Moss
Fresh sheet moss can be used around plants and is very common and popular for use with tree frog enclosures. The moss is alive and growing, growing in sheets to form a dense mat across the top of anything it grows on. It does best in full or partial shade but can handle some morning sunlight when growing in the wild. It will need bright artificial light in the enclosure with moist conditions, but not over watered.
This spike moss can be found in Jamaica, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. It stays low to the ground and creeps out with small green leaves that become lighter at night. It can be kept under control with regular pruning. It needs indirect but bright light with high humidity and a moist substrate, that is not too wet. As a tropical plant, it prefers a moist environment with a well-draining substrate. It provides excellent ground cover and should be placed at the front of the enclosure.
Fresh Mood Moss
Fresh mood moss is a popular choice for terrariums and provides an excellent ground cover that is completely safe for your tree frog. This moss looks like it leans to one side and grows quickly on rocks, stumps, and on the soil. Keeping it in the enclosure means it needs bright light with moist conditions. Place at the forefront of the enclosure for a striking carpet coverage to assist with humidity.