En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Monday - May 14, 2012

From: Walkerton, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Wildlife Gardens, Poisonous Plants
Title: Plants for exotic pets
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I need to know what are some good native non-toxic plants for these species: Porcelain roach (Gyna lurida) from Kenya, Africa. Giant cave roach (Blaberus giganteus) from Central and South America. Death's Head Cockroach (Blaberus craniifer) found in S.Florida,U.S., Mexico, and Central America. Madagascan hissing cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa) from Madagascar. European Green Toad from central, southern and Eastern Europe, North Africa and into Arabia. Malaysian (erroneous) Golden Gecko from Vietnam. Also I'll need to know what kind of substrate to use for the plants.

ANSWER:

First of all, you don't say whether you want the plants for food for these animals or for habitat in a terrarium or other container.   Either way, we don't know what the native food plants are for these animals nor what sort of vegetation one would find in their native habitat. If you are looking for plants only for habitat for these animals, you need to research their native habitat and determine if it's moist, dry, sand, clay, loam, etc.  You can then do a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database for plants native to Indiana by choosing "Indiana" from Select State or Province option and then entering other choices that would reflect the size and habitat characteristics for appropriate plants.  If you are looking for food for these animals, you need to do your research to find out what they eat in their native location.  If they do eat plants and you find the botanical names of the plants, you can search in our Native Plant Database for plants in the same botanical family and perhaps you can even find ones in the same genus. 

Determining if any of these plants would be toxic for your animals is going to be more difficult. There are many databases that list plants toxic for humans, agricultural animals and pets; but there are few, if any, sites that discuss plants that are possibly toxic for insects—especially with the view to keeping the insects safe.  Here is one that talks about ways that plants defend themselves against insect pests:

Plant-Insect Interactions from Cornell University, Department of Entomology

There is more information about toxic plants for reptiles and amphibians.  Here are several that list toxic and non-toxic plants for reptiles and amphibians: 

Reptiles - Toxic Plants from ReptileChannel.com

Herp Safety:  Poisonous Plants for Reptiles and Amphibians from Drs. Foster & Smith PetEducation.com

Edible and Harmful Plants from Melissa Kaplan's Herp Care Collection

Non-Toxic Plants for Lizards from The Lizard Lounge

 

 

More Wildlife Gardens Questions

Native trees that host moths and butterflies for birds in Houston Texas
April 05, 2010 - I have learned that non-native or alien plants do not attract the insects that the birds need to live on. I would like to know which native trees for central Texas have the greatest hosting capacity ...
view the full question and answer

Larval host plants for Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) butterflies
October 31, 2009 - I am looking for a list of larval host plants for Painted Lady butterflies. Could you provide such a list?
view the full question and answer

Dead woody plants in wildlife garden in Austin
March 02, 2011 - I am an enthusiastic and pretty successful wildlife gardener, have studied my Wasowski "Bible", but I can't get any evergreens established in my yard! We live on blackland clay, which I amend with ...
view the full question and answer

Replacement for Globe Thistle in Virginia
June 15, 2013 - Hi, We are trying to get our garden to be 100% North American Native and are at about 90% native to our region. One of the last plants we have to replace is our Globe Thistle. Do you have a good r...
view the full question and answer

Hummingbird plants and Indian Hawthorn
May 13, 2008 - I live in The Woodlands in a new section of homes. I planted some hummingbird plants in full sun and they did ok last year for 4 months, then lost all their leaves and died when the winter came. At ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center