Having live plants in your leopard gecko’s enclosure will significantly enhance its quality of life by creating an environment more like its natural habitat.
Artificial plants simply do not provide the same natural setting as real plants.
Aside from looks, there are a few things you should know before choosing a variety of plants for your gecko’s habitat.
The most important thing to consider is whether or not the plants you select are toxic.
While it is not very likely your leopard gecko will snack on the live foliage, you still need to avoid any plants which may be poisonous to your lizard.
Avoid any plants sprayed with pesticides or any other chemicals as well.
You also need to understand the needs of the plants you choose.
You do not want to put a plant meant for cooler temperatures near the basking area.
You also do not want to put plants having different watering needs next to each other.
While an overhead basking lamp works well with live plants in a leopard gecko terrarium, an under-tank heater is not recommended.
The under-tank heater will warm the soil too much for the plant roots to thrive, and the plants will die.
If you use an under-tank heater, you should place it on the side of the terrarium, where it will still provide warmth without harming the plants.
Low-maintenance, hardy plants work well in a leopard gecko enclosure.
Plants rated for hardiness zone 9 will do well in the high temperatures of your lizard’s habitat.
Succulents with a low watering requirement are a good choice for a leopard gecko terrarium because frequently watering the plants may raise the humidity levels too much.
Enjoy this list of 15 of the best leopard gecko terrarium plants, complete with pictures, heat tolerances, and watering requirements of each plant.
There are many species of aloe plants, but the most common is aloe vera.
Because of its popularity, aloe vera is very easy to find, and it works very well in a leopard gecko terrarium due to its hardy nature.
If you prefer to add more color to your terrarium, there are also vibrant species of aloe.
The pink blush aloe has dark and light green leaves with raised pink ridges along the edge of each leaf.
The sunset aloe has a peach to red tint depending on how much sunlight it receives.
Aloes are slow growers, so they won’t overtake your gecko’s habitat, but they can produce smaller offshoots of aloe.
You may need to replant these smaller aloe plants if they are not growing where you want them to.
Aloes need 6-8 hours of sunlight every day, so a UV bulb will be necessary for the plants to thrive.
The maximum tolerable temperature for aloe is 85° degrees Fahrenheit (29° C), and it only needs to be watered once or twice a month.
#2 Elephant Bush
Elephant bush is a succulent, and it is a favorite food for elephants.
In the wild, this plant will grow between 6-10′ feet tall.
Don’t worry because you don’t need a taller enclosure to house this succulent.
Elephant bush has also been miniaturized through the art of bonsai, which is where a normal-sized plant is dwarfed through constant pruning as it grows.
As long as you keep trimming the plant back whenever it grows too large for your leopard gecko terrarium, it will stay small.
The stem of the elephant bush is a reddish-brown color with small, glossy, green leaves.
It is a succulent, and under the proper growing conditions, it will sprout tiny clusters of flowers in white, pink, or purple.
Elephant bush is a very hardy plant, and it thrives in higher temperatures.
The maximum temperature tolerance is 110° degrees Fahrenheit (43° C), so it will do well planted at the warm end of the terrarium.
The succulent is also low maintenance, as it only needs to be watered once or twice per month.
#3 Christmas Cactus
The Christmas cactus, also known as the Easter or Holiday cactus, is a succulent with smooth leaves.
Despite being named a cactus, this succulent does not have any spines to harm your leopard gecko.
The smooth green leaves bloom with red, pink, or white colors, depending on the particular species.
The Easter cactus has red flowers and slightly rounder leaves, and the Holiday version has white flowers.
This is an excellent choice if you want to add a vibrant splash of color to your leopard gecko’s enclosure.
Christmas cactus can grow very large, so you will eventually need to remove it from the terrarium and replace it.
Luckily, you do not need to go out and buy a new one.
Simply take a clipping of one of the leaves and plant it directly in the substrate, and it will grow into a whole new Christmas cactus.
The Christmas cactus is a very sturdy succulent, making it a great choice for a leopard gecko enclosure.
Even though this succulent will tolerate high temperatures between 90-100° degrees Fahrenheit (38° C), it is best to plant it on the cool side of the terrarium to keep it from drying out.
You will need to water the Christmas cactus once or twice every week.
Echeveria is a short succulent with pointed leaves, and it grows in a rosette shape.
Echeveria species come in many different colors, including pastel pinks, purples, blues, and greens.
The edges of the leaves may even have a contrasting color.
The leaves of the echeveria are thick and have a waxy cuticle on the surface.
Like other succulents, a new plant may be grown from a leaf cutting.
Some echeveria species may spread, so you will need to keep an eye on this if you don’t want it to take over the terrarium.
Echeveria needs lots of sunlight, so a UV light in the enclosure will be necessary for the succulent to thrive.
They are straightforward plants to care for, so they are ideal for novice plant owners and those with more experience.
The maximum tolerable temperature for the echeveria is around 95° degrees Fahrenheit (35° C), so this succulent will do best on the warmer end of the terrarium.
Echeveria only needs to be watered once or twice per month, and it should be allowed to dry in between waterings.
#5 Snake Plants
The snake plant, also known as the mother-in-law plant, is an extremely hardy plant with minimal maintenance needs.
Snake plants are best for taller tanks, and they work well when placed near the back of the terrarium.
This plant is a great choice if you would like a jungle appearance to your leopard gecko enclosure.
The snake plant leaves are usually bright green, but some leaves with yellow borders or reddish-tinted leaves.
Scientists have also proven the plant can remove toxic substances from the air, so snake plants are excellent air purifiers.
Snake plants tolerate temperatures up to 80° degrees Fahrenheit (27° C), so it is ideal for planting them on the cool end of the terrarium.
This plant has very low care requirements as it only needs to be watered once every two to three weeks.
Much like the echeveria, the soil should be dry between waterings.
#6 Pink Quill
The pink quill is a bromeliad which is also a species of air plant.
The vibrant pink flowers resemble bird feathers, and they sprout from a bed of grass-like green leaves.
Smaller purple flowers will also sprout near the pink one.
The plant flowers last for around three months, at which point they begin to die off.
As the flower dies, it propagates by dropping seeds around the base.
These seeds will eventually grow into a new plant and flower, and you may keep the plants together or separate them as they sprout.
Pink quills are incredibly hardy with very few care requirements.
They need indirect light and tolerate temperatures of around 75° degrees Fahrenheit (24° C), so they will do well on the cool end of the terrarium.
Pink quills do not need to be watered very often, and around once per month is fine with a few mistings in between.
#7 Sedge Grass
Sedge grass is a bright green, grassy, evergreen plant, and it thrives well in the lower humidity of a leopard gecko terrarium.
The plant grows in dense clusters, and it makes an excellent hiding spot for your lizard.
The grass also mimics a leopard gecko’s natural environment, as they tend to live in arid grasslands in the wild.
There are over 100 species of sedge plants, and they come in a range of textures and shades of green.
The smaller species of sedge grass is the most ideal for a leopard gecko terrarium.
Be sure to choose a species from an arid region so the plant will be able to tolerate the warm, low humidity of a leopard gecko’s environment.
Sedge grass is very low maintenance, and it grows well in both sun and shade.
The maximum tolerable heat level is 100° degrees Fahrenheit (38° C), so this plant will thrive on the warm end of the terrarium.
Sedge grass needs to be watered once a week.
#8 Jade Plant
The jade plant, also known as the money plant, resembles the elephant bush, but it does not grow nearly as tall.
This extremely long-lasting plant can live for many generations, and many are often passed down in families.
To keep the growth from getting out of control, it is best to give the plant regular trims when it gets larger than you want it to be.
Otherwise, these succulents are very low maintenance.
Jade plants need full sunlight to thrive, so a UV light is necessary if you decide to place one in your leopard gecko’s terrarium.
The heat tolerance of the jade plant is up to 75° degrees Fahrenheit (24° C), so it is best to plant it on the cool side of the terrarium.
The jade plant will do well in the dry environment of your leopard gecko terrarium, and they only need to be watered once every two to three weeks.
This succulent should not be allowed to completely dry out in between waterings.
A good rule of thumb is to water the jade plant when the top of the soil is dry to the touch.
#9 Living Stones
Living stones are one of the most interesting plants to have in your leopard gecko aquarium.
The plant only has two thick leaves, and when viewed from above, they resemble colorful stones.
Most of the living stone plant is in the roots, so you will need a deeper substrate to plant these in your terrarium.
Tiny flowers resembling daisies also sprout from living stones.
Living stones do not have much of a function in the terrarium since they are too short of providing a leopard gecko with a place to hide.
However, this one will add some interest to your leopard gecko enclosure as far as decorative plants go.
The dry environment of the terrarium is also ideal for living stones to thrive.
The maximum heat tolerance for living stones is 105° degrees Fahrenheit (41° C), so they will do well when planted on the warm side of the terrarium.
You should water the plant once every two to three weeks.
#10 Air Plants
Air plants are slow-growing, and they get most of their nutrition from the air rather than the soil.
They tend to grow on rocks and wood, and they do not need to be planted directly into the substrate of your leopard gecko terrarium.
There are more than 650 species of air plants, ranging in many different colors and shapes.
This gives you a lot of different options for planning the layout of the plants in your terrarium.
The maximum heat tolerance for air plants is 90° degrees Fahrenheit (32° C), so they should be placed on the warmer end of your gecko’s terrarium.
Air plants are not watered like traditional plants.
Instead, you should soak your air plant in water for about two hours every three weeks and mist with water every couple of days.
#11 Zebra Cactus
The zebra cactus is a succulent which resembles an aloe plant.
Its pointy green leaves are thick and fleshy, and they have white stripes on them, much like a zebra.
Unlike aloe, the zebra cactus grows much slower, so they do well in a drier environment like a leopard gecko terrarium.
These extremely hardy plants have very low care requirements and are great for beginner plant enthusiasts.
The zebra cactus does well in low light, but it will show red and orange pigments if it gets enough UV light.
This plant should not be exposed to direct sunlight, as the tips of the leaves will dry out.
Four to six hours of indirect light is ideal for this succulent.
The maximum heat tolerance for the zebra cactus is 80° degrees Fahrenheit (27° C), so it is best to plant it on the cooler end of the terrarium.
Because the succulent is slow-growing, it only needs to be watered once or twice per month.
Peperomias are more commonly known as radiator plants, and they are slow-growing.
With more than 1,000 species of peperomias, there are plenty of options when it comes to looks.
The leaves of the plant will be either smooth or textured, and they come in various colors, including red, green, gray, or purple.
Peperomia leaves may be solid or have variegated or marble patterning.
While many species of peperomia plants will look very different from one another, they all grow very slowly, and all are low-maintenance.
Peperomias do well in medium and bright light, and 12 hours of artificial light is ideal for the plant to maintain its bright colors.
They also thrive in drier environments, so they are a great choice for a leopard gecko enclosure.
The maximum heat tolerance of a peperomia plant is around 80° degrees Fahrenheit (27° C), so it is best to plant them either on the cooler side or the middle of your terrarium.
Peperomias do not need frequent watering, and once every ten days will be sufficient.
#13 Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum)
Several plants are known as hens and chicks, but the one we are recommending is the sempervivum succulent.
The sempervivum plant grows in a rosette appearance very similar to echeveria, and it comes in several colors ranging from light and dark green, brown, pink, and purple.
The color may only be on the tips of the leaves, or it may extend to the entire leaf.
The leaves of the sempervivum will either be rounded or pointy, and the surface will be glossy or matte.
There may also be tiny hairs or a waxy sheen on the leaves.
Some varieties of sempervivum will even produce star-shaped flowers in pink, red, or yellow.
Sempervivums do well with lots of light, so a UV lamp will be necessary in the leopard gecko enclosure for the plants to thrive.
If the plant does not get enough light, you will start to notice the leaves flattening out.
These plants also send out offshoots around their base.
Once a sempervivum flowers, it dies, and the dead rosette should be removed.
Fill the hole with more substrate, and the offshoots will fill in the gaps.
The maximum heat tolerance for the sempervivum is 80° degrees Fahrenheit (27° C), so the plant will do well near the cooler end of the terrarium.
Sempervivum needs to be watered two to three times per month.
#14 Sweetheart Hoya
The sweetheart hoya is a small succulent plant with heart-shaped leaves.
The plant starts as a single heart-shaped leaf around 5″ inches tall.
As the plant matures, it eventually grows more heart-shaped leaves on vines.
If the single leaf is planted in a small area, it will not spread, and it will remain as a single leaf indefinitely.
Sweetheart hoyas also produce clusters of white flowers with burgundy centers, and they contrast well with the bright green leaves.
This hardy succulent does well in the warm environment of a leopard gecko enclosure and has a heat tolerance of 80° degrees Fahrenheit (27° C).
Because of its heat tolerance, the sweetheart hoya will do best closer to the cooler end of the terrarium.
They prefer lots of indirect light, so a UV lamp is necessary for the plant to thrive.
Sweetheart hoyas should be watered once or twice a month, and special care should be taken not to overwater the plant.
If this succulent receives too much water, it is prone to root rot, and the plant will quickly die.
#15 String of Pearls
The string of pearls plant is a cascading plant, so it works well when planted on a ledge.
However, it will form a dense mat as it spreads if it is planted on the ground.
This makes the plant very suitable for a leopard gecko terrarium with a lot of floor space, and it will form a natural rug for your lizard.
The string of pearls plant propagates quite easily, and unlike some of the other succulents on this list, it is very fast growing.
You may need to cut the plant back slightly if it gets out of control in your terrarium.
This succulent blooms in cooler temperatures, but it is unlikely to bloom in your leopard gecko terrarium because the temperatures will not be low enough.
When the plant does bloom, it has small white flowers which smell like cinnamon.
The string of pearls plant is bright green, and as the name implies, small round balls about the size of pearls grow along the length of the vine, resembling a pearl necklace.
The string of pearls plant prefers cooler temperatures, and it has a maximum heat tolerance of 72° degrees Fahrenheit (22° C).
Because of this low-temperature requirement, the plant absolutely must be planted on the cool end of the terrarium.
Watering requirements for the plant are low, and it only needs to be watered once or twice per month.