I’ll bring in experts to help us really dial in our plant skills, but I can cover one of the biggest killers of cage plants – dehydration. One thing that seems counterintuitive is when we look at our cage covered in water droplets from the misting we do every day and then our plants die. One thing to check off the top is whether any water is getting to the roots. Pothos is the biggest victim of this because they have such big leaves that are so beautiful at catching the mist! But they are so dense that the water does not necessarily make it to the soil. This is the main reason why a chameleon habitat can be perfectly healthy for chameleons, but deadly for plants. It may be that only the chameleon is getting a drink!
Check the soil moisture!
This GoldFish Plant gets misted every day and you can see the dew on the leaves. But a close look at the soil shows that there is no water that gets to the roots! This Goldfish Plant will die of dehydration while, all the while, providing water to your chameleons.
The greatest victim of dry soil is our favorite chameleon cage plant - the Pothos. The reason why it is so effective as a chameleon cage plant is the huge leaves. Unfortunately, those large and dense leaves can easily shield the soil from any misting. This picture shows this exact dynamic. Notice all the dew on the leaves and the completely dry soil!
The Solution: Extra Watering For the Plants!
A simple garden watering can can be the solution to all the watering issues. Watering the plants thoroughly once a week with a watering can should solve most of the watering issues.
Sometimes with all the network branches in our cages it is difficult to reach the plants in back with a watering can. So a strategic placement of a dripper on top of the cage can reach those trouble areas. The slow drip is actually better for parched soil than the flow from a watering can. You can fill a dripper and put it above a different plant each day. That way you provide water for your chameleon and keep your cage green at the same time.
Another way to get at difficult plants is with a squirt bottle. This can go through branches or even a screen cage wall!
If you are having trouble keeping plants alive check the soil. Too dry and too wet are both problems. If it is too dry then the above solutions can be used. If too wet, then you'll have to move the plant, increase the drainage in the plant pot, or decrease the misting sessions. There aren't always easy solutions. If you need help with plants dying then this is the post to hang out at!