Live Plants for Vivariums

bamboo image by micha from

Whether you are keeping frogs or lizards, live plants can be an attractive and useful part of your vivarium. Live plants give the vivarium a natural look and they provide your animals with shade as well as places to hide and feel safe.

Consider which plants are going to be best for your vivarium and the animals that you keep inside it.

Water Hyacinth

Water hyacinth is a good choice for vivariums that are meant to emulate a bog or an aquatic environment. It has long, hairy white roots that pull ammonia and nitrate from the water, making it clearer for your animals. In the growing season, it produces lavender flowers. It requires bright light and good air circulation to thrive.


Sanservia is a hardy plant that is easily planted in a wide range of vivariums. It can thrive in subtropical vivariums or savannah vivariums and in low light or highlight conditions. It can grow in standard potting soil and it is a good plant that can support the weight of basking frogs and small lizards. Some varieties grow tall, while others sprawl, so read the plant description before you purchase it.


Dichondra is a ground cover that you can use to keep the bottom of your vivarium looking lush and green. It requires bright light and it can be grown in potting soil mixed with sand. It is a good alternative to live moss, and it adjusts well to temperate, subtropical and tropical vivariums. Water it less in the winter.


Lithop is a good choice for savannah-themed vivariums. Grow lithop in cactus substrate which is available from garden stores. It is a good plant to grow from seed and it requires bright light. Once it flowers, cut back on the water and keep the plant in a slightly cooler temperature. Stop watering it after it flowers.


Bamboo needs good lighting and can grow in soil or water. It requires strong light to grow thick, solid stalks but once grown it can support a vast variety of animals. Frogs and lizards use the stalks for basking and they can hide underneath the delicate leaves. They grow well in warm or cool tanks but they do need a high humidity to survive.