Bearded dragons with their inquisitive eyes and charming personalities, have a unique way of winning our hearts.
And as dedicated caregivers, we’re always on the lookout for nutritious and delicious options to keep our scaly companions happy and thriving. When it comes to exploring new additions to their diet, dandelions often pop up as a question mark.
Can these sun-kissed garden greens and vibrant yellow flowers be on the menu of our beloved beardies?
Dandelion greens, in particular, are a nutritious option, but the stems might not be the best choice for bearded dragons. Also, be mindful of where you source them, and avoid any flowers or greens that have been coated in pesticides or herbicides. Wash them thoroughly and cut them into bite-sized pieces before feeding.
To learn more about dandelion greens and how they should ideally fit into your bearded dragon’s diet, keep reading!
We’ll go over dandelion greens’ nutritional value, whether or not they’re safe for your scaly pal, and how much is safe to feed them at a time.
In addition, we’ll go over additional concerns you probably have about other flowers and herbs your lizard can safely eat.
Table of Contents
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Dandelion Greens?
Bearded dragons can safely eat dandelion greens. However, this includes only the leafy part and not the stems, as they aren’t good for a bearded dragon.
The dense, green leaves are safe for beardies and highly nutritious.
They’re an excellent and inexpensive addition to your scaly friend’s salad bowls, and they’re notably a rich source of calcium, which reptiles like bearded dragons need to maintain their bone health and muscle function and prevent issues like metabolic bone disease.
Another great thing to note about dandelion greens is their excellent calcium to phosphorus ratio at 3.3:1 (often denoted simply as Ca:P).
In general, the foods you offer to your beardie should have a higher amount of calcium to phosphorus.
More specifically, there should be at least about twice as much calcium to phosphorus in most of the foods you offer to your dragon; a 2:1 ratio is recommended, but 3:1 or higher is even better!
This is because phosphorus absorbs some of the calcium your beardie consumes and converts it into waste.
This prevents your lizard from being able to absorb the calcium, so if there’s at least twice as much calcium to phosphorus, they’re guaranteed to be able to absorb enough before it’s turned into waste.
The nutritional content of fresh dandelions and their greens, combined with their excellent calcium to phosphorus ratio and their delicious taste, makes them an ideal food to offer to your bearded dragon.
Not only are these abundant and inexpensive greens safe for your pet–they’re excellent staple greens, so your bearded dragon can safely eat them regularly!
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Dandelion Flowers?
In addition to the dandelion leaves being incredibly nutritious, the attached yellow flowers are also similarly packed with flavor and nutrients!
However, just like with humans, your beardie should avoid eating the flowers when they’re in their fluffy, white stage, as at this point, the “flower” part is mainly seeds and isn’t as nutritious.
The dandelion flower is often used in salads as part of the main course and occasionally as an edible garnish.
It’s also commonly used in dandelion tea, which has a surprisingly nutty and bitter taste similar to coffee!
For your beardie, though, it’s OK to simply offer the flowers as they are, either whole or torn into smaller pieces if your lizard is still a baby or juvenile.
Keep in mind, though, any foods you offer your beardie should be smaller than the width of the space between their eyes, regardless of how old your dragon is.
This will help prevent choking and impaction.
Dandelion flowers, like the leaves, have minimal impaction risk as they’re soft and very easily digested by bearded dragons, but it’s still better to be safe than sorry.
Your lizard will have a much easier time chewing and swallowing smaller portions of food regardless of the impaction risk.
What Are Dandelion Greens?
Everyone has seen them in their yard or at the local park at some point: bright, yellow flowers with big, spiky leaves.
You’ve also likely seen them in their fluffy, white form after they’ve been fertilized as the wind moves the tiny white parachute-like seeds far and wide.
Children find them delightful, while many homeowners find them damaging nuisance to their lawns.
So, what are dandelion greens and dandelion flowers, anyway?
Essentially, dandelions are a hardy little flowering plant in the Taraxacum genus.
Taraxacum officinale, better known simply as the common dandelion, is the most widespread variety.
It thrives throughout temperate areas in North America and Europe.
Its growth cycle is unique, as it initially grows from a tiny, white seed into a bright, yellow flower.
Once it’s been pollinated, it closes up and develops new seeds.
Then, the flower opens back up into a fluffy, white orb full of those ultra-lightweight seeds, which spread very easily in the breeze (or when you pick them up and blow on them!).
Finally, the tiny white seeds disperse and plant themselves into the nearby soil, germinate, and grow into new yellow flowers.
The cycle then repeats itself.
Dandelions are notable and useful not only for their rapid and easy spread but also for their edibility!
They’re commonly used in salads and other recipes, and both the yellow flowers and their attached leaves are edible.
The flowers and leaves are also known for their earthy and natural yet slightly bitter taste, and they’re a surprisingly good source of vitamins A, C, and K and fiber.
It’s generally best to avoid the fluffy white seeds, though, as they aren’t as tasty and have little weight or substance to them anyway.
How to Feed Dandelion Flowers and Greens To Bearded Dragons
At this point, you’re probably wondering how, if at all, you prepare dandelion flowers and greens for your bearded dragon to eat.
Truthfully, there isn’t much you need to do to make them safe for your beardie to consume, but there are many fun ways to prepare and offer them to your pet!
As we touched on earlier, like with just about any food, as long as the pieces of dandelion flowers and leaves are cut into small enough pieces, you’re good to go.
However, be mindful of where you source the dandelions from and, of course, wash them thoroughly before putting them in your hungry lizard’s salad bowl.
There are plenty of grocery stores, pet shops, and other retailers that sell food-grade and even pet-safe dandelion flowers and greens for your bearded dragon to eat.
Lots of common pets can safely eat the flowers and leaves, including:
It’s best to purchase dandelion greens and flowers from one of these retailers, so you don’t have to worry about the potential presence of any pesticides or herbicides on their surface.
We highly recommend something like Dandelion Delicacy by Pasture Plus+, as they are guaranteed to be safe for your beardie and free of any harmful contaminants.
This particular product is a dried dandelion mixture of flowers and greens.
Still, it’s also possible to easily rehydrate them by soaking them in a bit of water before feeding.
If you’re foraging wild dandelions and dandelion greens on your own, be sure the area you’ve sourced them from has not applied any herbicides or pesticides to them.
If it’s your backyard and you know for sure they haven’t been coated in any of these products, they’re most likely safe for you and your lizard to eat–just wash them off before eating or feeding.
We also recommend you avoid sourcing them from public places like parks, as these are often treated with these pesticides and herbicides.
It’s impossible to know what else has potentially been spilled on them or who has been stepping on them and leaving behind residue from their shoes all day.
Sometimes beardies are picky; check out these ways to encourage bearded dragons to eat greens.
Should You Cook Dandelion Greens or Flowers?
The magic of dandelion greens and flowers goes beyond just their abundance and inexpensive nature.
They’re also great because it’s possible to prepare them in a myriad of ways for eating and various animals (including, as we’ve established by now, your beardie) can safely eat them!
Teas, salads, soups, and other cooked dishes commonly include dandelion greens and flowers for human consumption.
They’re both well-loved for their nutritional value, health benefits, and unique taste.
However, as with just about any green or other vegetable, boiling or otherwise cooking dandelion flowers and greens, unfortunately, boils off a significant amount of their precious vitamins and nutrients.
While it’s fine to offer your beardie boiled or otherwise cooked dandelion greens and flowers, keep in mind your scaly pal won’t get nearly as much calcium, vitamins, or fiber out of them.
Many bearded dragons don’t like the taste or texture of cooked dandelion flowers and greens, either, so the effort involved in preparing them in this particular way isn’t worth it.
Generally, it’s best to simply offer plain, uncooked dandelion flowers and greens to your beardie as-is after washing them off and cutting them into bite-sized portions, of course.
Avoid any kind of seasonings or other additives, too, as many of them are unsafe for bearded dragons, and the lizards don’t enjoy the taste of them, either.
While raw dandelions probably seem a bit bland or even bitter and gross to a lot of humans, your lizard has a far different palate from yours!
How Often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Dandelion Greens?
Another wonderful thing about dandelion greens and flowers is due to their high nutritional value, excellent calcium to phosphorus ratio, and unique, delicious flavor; they’re safe as a staple green for your bearded dragon’s diet!
The greens are more nutritious than the yellow flowers, but both parts are safe to eat regularly.
This makes dandelion greens and flowers a perfect addition to your beardie’s salads.
When it comes to exactly how often your beardie can safely eat them, though, it will depend largely on your lizard’s age.
This is because the ideal ratio of insect protein to vegetables/greens/fruits changes for a bearded dragon’s diet changes as the lizards grow older.
For example, baby and juvenile bearded dragons should eat primarily insect protein and a small amount of greens, veggies, and fruits.
But as they age, this ratio flips.
As a general rule of thumb, baby and juvenile dragons should eat about 80% insects and 20% plant matter.
The 20% of plant matter should be primarily made up of safe, dark greens and other vegetables and a very small amount of safe fruits as a treat.
This plant matter, of course, includes things like dandelions, greens, and other safe flowers.
However, this ratio should be 80% plant material and 20% insects for adult bearded dragons.
As your lizard ages, you’ll need to gradually adjust the ratio.
So, while a two-month-old beardie should get around 80% insects and 20% plants, a six-month-old beardie should probably get somewhere around 60% insects and 40% plant matter.
Check out our bearded dragon diet cheat sheet for more information.
What Other Flowers Can Bearded Dragons Eat?
Bearded dragon owners often tend to overlook the value of flowers in their pets’ diets.
Many tasty, nutritious flowers are safe for beardies to eat, some as staple foods and others as occasional treats.
If you’re thinking of offering your beardie a particular flower to eat, be sure to research it carefully beforehand to get an idea of how safe it is and how often they should be eating it.
If the flower is safe to eat, be sure to follow the same guidelines for where you source them and how you prepare them, as we mentioned above for dandelions.
Don’t pick them from places you know probably are using herbicides and pesticides, and it’s usually best to avoid cooking them to retain as much nutrition and flavor as possible.
While the full list is exhaustive, some of the most notable flowers bearded dragons can eat include the following:
- Roses (avoid thorns!)
Additionally, there are lots of common herbs bearded dragons can safely eat, such as:
- Mint leaves
It’s also useful to note many pet shops and online retailers sell pre-packaged flowers and herbs specifically designed for bearded dragons and other common pets to safely eat!
For example, Zoo Med’s Flower Food Topper is a great choice, as it is a mixture of safe, tasty dried flowers for your beardie.
It’s also possible to easily rehydrate them by soaking them in water or briefly misting them.
Dandelions on the Dragon Menu: Greens Yes, Stems No!
So, here’s the deal: dandelion greens and flowers are a great option for your bearded dragon, as long as you prepare them correctly and offer them in moderation. Just be sure to remove those stems and let your pet enjoy the leafy goodness and the occasional burst of sunshine that these garden delicacies provide!
Your bearded dragon will love them, and you’ll get to enjoy their cute basking and maybe even some new color variations!