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Bromeliads Are Great for Frogs

Do you enjoy both exotic pet keeping and indoor gardening? You can combine your two interests by keeping frogs and bromeliads.

Creating naturalistic habitats that combine live plants and animals are usually called bioactive habitats. Learn more about bioactive habitats with our guide to bioactive terrariums.

In the meantime, this article teaches you why frogs love bromeliads and how you can keep them together in your home. (There’s also a video at the end for an example vivarium.)

Frogs and bromeliads

Bromeliads are a type of rainforest plant. They naturally grow in tropical areas with a lot of rainfall and humidity. Even if you don’t live in a rainforest, they’re actually pretty easy to grow (more about that later).

Most bromeliads grow in a rosette shape, where the bladed leaves form a central well. This is where the frogs come in. That central well catches water, and the water lures insects. With a steady supply of water and insects, the plant makes the perfect shelter for a frog.

So, in nature, many tropical frogs find their homes inside bromeliad plants. In fact, many tree frog species will place their eggs inside bromeliads and allow the tadpoles to hatch in the water at the center of the plant. Since the tadpoles are small, it’s the perfect spot for them to be protected from predators that might be around in larger water sources.

How to grow bromeliads

Bromeliads, as mentioned above, are easy to keep indoors. They are fine with less intense lighting because they usually grow below the canopy and even on the forest floor, where the trees block more intense sunlight.

As for humidity levels, if you plan to keep the plants in a tropical amphibian’s habitat, you’ll find that the humidity levels are just right for these plants, as well. I keep my bromeliads in a bathroom that gets natural light through a large window, and the humidity from the shower keeps them happy.

I also suggest finding a rainforest soil mix. It makes a huge difference in how well bromeliads fare, and because these types of potting mixes tend to hold in moisture, you won’t have to water your rainforest plant as often.

Bromeliads in tree frog and dart frog enclosures

Keeping bromeliads in your tree frog or dart frog terrarium is just as easy as keeping them elsewhere indoors. The small size of an enclosed tank will help regulate humidity levels. All you need is to put the plants in the appropriate substrate, provide a grow light, and be sure to water them regularly.

About once a week is a good watering schedule, and do make sure you have a drainage layer made of gravel or clay below the substrate. This keeps the roots from getting soggy, which can lead to disease in the plants.

Good options for drainage layer materials include:

GrowIt Clay Pebbles

ZooMed Hydroballs

CaribSea Natural Gravel

The Hydroballs are made of clay and are large enough to be safe for most amphibians since they are unlikely to be swallowed. Check out all of our bromeliad and live plant options at The Tye-Dyed Iguana in Fairview Heights.

You can also watch this video to see an example of a bioactive terrarium with dart frogs and bromeliads.