Paludarium Plants - Knowledgebase Question

Savannah, GA
Avatar for amy94
Question by amy94
November 20, 1999
I am looking for tropical plants that would work in a paludarium. I am trying to do an amazon theme with various small lizards and fish. I would like to know if you could recommend some plants and if so what kind of environment they would need. Soil type, humidity, etc. I am working with a 90 gallon aquarium so the plants don't have to be really small.

Answer from NGA
November 20, 1999
It sounds like you will have a variety of environments within the container, ranging from warm and dry for the lizards to very humid and moist at the water's edge. I think I would try plants usually suggested for a warm water aquarium (I assume your fish are tropical) such as banana plants and oxygenators in the water, then at the edge try some humidity lovers such as fittonia, pepperomia and baby's tears or any of the terrarium plants. A dwarf papyrus might also be happy there if the light is bright enough. Mini African violets might also be a good addition as would some young ferns and palms. Bromeliads and small epiphytes such as tillandsia might work midway, and then near the top where it should be warmer, drier and brighter try cactus and succulents. For a layered effect you could add some of the split leaf philodendrons to wend their way upward through rocks and driftwood. Dramatic accents could be made with mother-in-law's tongue and spider plants or wildly patterned begonias. One caution, however: I think it would be a wise idea to check with a specialty veterinarian as to the safety of using any live plants around the living creatures. Most plants should do well in an all-purpose soilless mix assuming you are able to fertilize occasionally. I would add a bit of sand or grit for the cactus, however. Watering will be a matter of trial and error because it will depend on ambient humidity, temperature and air circulation as well as the soil mix and which plants you use. Good luck with your project -- it sounds wonderful!

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