Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Tuesday - October 24, 2006

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Wildlife Gardens
Title: Native plants for a lizard terrarium
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

My brother is setting up a terrarium for his lizard and wants advice on some species to put in the tank. He wants plants that generally fit the below description. Can you think of anything fairly common and easily obtainable that would fit his descriptions? 1. Foreground plants: one species <5" tall and grasslike (mostly shady area) 2. Midground plants between 5 and 18" either attached to rocks or wood (partly shady area) 3. Rear plant (a single species) fewer than 18" tall (mostly sunny area) 4. Rear glass : attach plants on bark hanging against glass (mosses? adiantum?) I don't know the moisture level of the tank yet so I can't help you with that but maybe fairly moist for at least the foreground plants since he suggested Hydrocotyle for that area.

ANSWER:

1. Foreground plants:
Texas Frogfruit ( Phyla nodiflora) is a possibility for one of the foreground plants. It grows only 3-6 inches high and does well in dry or moist soils.

Meadow Violet (Viola sororia) or Missouri Violet (V. missouriensis), considered the same species by some experts, are also possibilities.

If the terrarium is going to be really moist, he could consider one of the Water Clovers, such as Marsilea macropoda or M. vestita, as well as one of the Pennyworts such as Hydrocotyle umbellata or H. verticillata var. verticillata

Sedges might also work for the foreground although they are likely to grow >5 inches tall.

2. Midground plants:
Sedges would be a good choice for the midground plants. Cedar Sedge (Carex planostachys) grows less than a foot tall and is generally happy in dry soils.

Another sedge possibility is Meadow Sedge (C. perdentata) that does well in both dry or moist soils and grows 12-18 inches high.

Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris) grow 6-12" high and could also be a good plant for the midground area. It will grow in soil-filled depression in rocks.

3. Rear plants:
Ferns such as Southern Shield Fern (Thelypteris kunthii) that can grow as high as 2-3 feet could be a choice for the rear plant, but it does prefer the shade.

A grass such as Little Bluestem ( Schizachyrium scoparium ) is a possibility for the sunny area.

4. Rear glass:
For plants attached to bark hanging against the glass at the back, he might consider one of the epiphytes such as Ballmoss (Tillandsia recurvata) or Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides).

 

More Wildlife Gardens Questions

Hungry turtles trample pond in Houston Texas
October 17, 2011 - I have a very large back yard pond (actually, a former swimming pool) that's home to a bullfrog, four Red-eared slider turtles, and scads of gambusia (little mosquito eating fish). I'd like to add n...
view the full question and answer

Plants for butterflies and hummingbirds in Louisville, KY
March 31, 2009 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in Louisville KY. I have a waterfall and ponds connected by a small stream. I want to plant several plants around my waterfall- approx. 20 sq ft on both sides of waterfall....
view the full question and answer

Native Asclepias spp. for Monarchs in Connecticut
June 15, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, I live in Naugatuck Connecticut and I want to hatch my own monarch butterflies. I know that Monarchs like to hatch eggs on Milkweed plants. There are many types of milkweed p...
view the full question and answer

Wildlife garden for Austin
May 19, 2013 - I am trying to make my backyard more wildlife friendly. I have pecan trees for the canopy and some understory shrub/trees like rough leaf dogwood and redbud. I am having a really hard time finding sui...
view the full question and answer

Interested in a mini food forest
February 04, 2013 - I am interested in starting a mini "food forest" in a twelve foot by twelve foot patch of earth next to my house. I'd like to put a focus on making sure that the bulk of the plants I introduce are ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.