Plants and flowers are colorful, which provides parrots with something to observe and enjoy. Live plants can also offer parrots extra nourishment, give them somewhere to hide, and improve air quality.
African violets, aloe vera, baby tears, bamboo, callistemon, ferns, hibiscus, money plants, petunias, and velvet plants are safe for parrots. These plants can be kept in a cage or their immediate vicinity.
Many plants are toxic to parrots, so never expose a parrot to amaryllis, daffodils, lilies, philodendron, or shamrocks. Holiday-themed plants like holly, ivy, mistletoe, and poinsettias are also dangerous.
Can You Put Live Plants in a Bird Cage?
As wild parrots hail from tropical and subtropical territories, they’ll be familiar with lush, jungle-like environments. Plants and flowers can go some way to replicating these surroundings at home.
Adding plants for parrots to eat or observe and interact with requires research. Not all plants are safe for parrots, and some cause serious illness – or even death – if ingested or inhaled.
What are the Best Plants for Parrots?
If you’d like to bring a little color to your parrot’s cage, the flora below is parrot-safe:
1/ African Violets
These small, hardy plants are perfect for bird cages of all sizes. They won’t take up much space, are completely safe for a parrot to eat, and look beautiful.
It’s straightforward to help African violets to thrive indoors.
Best of all, African violets don’t like to be placed in front of a window – they just need access to indirect light. This makes a parrot’s cage, located in the corner of a room, the ideal location for this flower.
2/ Aloe Vera
Aloe vera plants are extremely easy to care for and will take up very little space in a parrot’s cage.
They look great, make the air in your parrot’s room more breathable, and are a healthy plant for parrots to eat.
Of course, aloe vera is also famed for its medicinal properties. Vet Times explains how aloe vera treats skin conditions in parrots while also containing antioxidants and promoting digestive health.
3/ Baby Tears
This Irish plant has a variety of names, with baby tears the most commonly used.
It’s also known as peace in the home, the Corsican creeper, Paddy’s wig, and mind-your-own-business.
Grown in a small pot and ideal for leaving at the bottom of a parrot’s cage, baby tears gives the appearance of a mossy carpet. Your parrot can sit in the plant if it desires, pecking and grazing to its heart’s content.
Baby tears are easy to grow and maintain indoors, and as they expand over time, they may hang from the bottom of your parrot’s cage. This creates a striking aesthetic and a safe plant for your bird to eat.
Bamboo plants are among the most versatile, so you can make any number of arrangements out of this parrot-safe plant. Bamboo can get quite tall, so it’s best kept beside a parrot cage rather than inside.
It’s hard-wearing, so it’ll easily withstand the attention of a parrot’s beak, and a bamboo plant will help your bird feel at home by providing a lush, jungle-like feel.
Bamboo leaves and the wood found in the plant also offer some measure of nutrition.
5/ Callistemon (Bottle Brush)
This is a non-toxic shrub native to Australia, so it may already be familiar to parrots.
It’s best grown outside in rich soil and watered regularly, translated inside to a parrot cage once fully cultivated.
Callistemon may not survive too long after you relocate it to a parrot’s cage, but the contrasting colors of deep greens and reds make it a beautiful addition that your parrot will enjoy looking at.
Take cuttings in the spring to enjoy the maximum impact.
Ferns, especially the Boston fern, are perfect decorations for a parrot’s cage.
No ill effects will befall your bird if it chooses to eat the leaves of these hardy plants, and many parrots will have fun hiding within the lush leaves of a fern.
Some ferns are easier than others to care for, especially indoors.
Your bird may already be familiar with hibiscus flowers, as they grow in many subtropical territories that also house parrots.
Bringing a little continental flair to a parrot cage, hibiscus is best grown outdoors and then moved inside in a container for your parrot to enjoy.
The primary appeal of hibiscus is the beautiful appearance of the flower. Hibiscus also has health benefits for humans and parrots when ingested. The African Journal of Food Science explains how hibiscus boasts antioxidant properties.
If bringing a hibiscus into a parrot’s cage, the only variety to avoid is the Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus). This can cause stomach upsets when consumed in large quantities.
8/ Jade Plants (Money Plants)
A money plant is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a safe plant for your parrot to eat that is also low-maintenance.
Money plants are succulents, so they’re bird-safe. This plant is also hardy – it can flourish without much light and will not need constant watering.
Jade plants are also relatively self-contained, so they can be kept in slightly smaller parrot cages than some other plants and flowers. While you should always leave plenty of space in your bird’s habitat, this plant will not be considered intrusive.
Some plant enthusiasts consider money plants a little “basic” or dull, but your parrot will disagree. This popular choice makes a great decoration to brighten your pet’s home.
Ever-colorful, petunias are annual plants that grow all year round. Petunias are a staple of hanging baskets, and while they’re most commonly associated with outdoor spaces, they can be grown inside with care and attention.
Petunias aren’t toxic to any animal, which is a relief, as your parrot will likely be attracted to the bright, soft petals. As long as your parrot doesn’t consume petunias to excess, it won’t experience any ill effects from doing so.
Petunias are best enjoyed from a distance for parrots, as these flowers need direct sunlight. If growing petunias, leave them by a window, in the eye line of your parrot.
Your bird can admire beautiful petunias from the cage and interact during exercise if curious.
10/ Purple Passion (Velvet Plant)
The purple passion, named for its distinctive color, is one of the most common houseplants across the globe.
This plant flourishes indoors in similar temperatures to a parrot and is non-toxic, making it a fine addition to any birdcage.
Purple passion plants can grow quite large, so you may need to prune occasionally if you keep one in a parrot cage, though your pet will likely take care of this pecking and nibbling at the leaves.
As the purple passion can become quite sprawling, parrots will enjoy hiding within its leaves.
What Plants are Toxic to Parrots?
Here are the plants that must be kept away from your parrots:
- Amaryllis. These beautiful indoor flowers look striking, but ingestion causes salivation, stomach problems, and anorexia in parrots.
- Daffodils. Although bright and cheerful to look at, daffodils cause vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures in companion birds.
- Holly, ivy, poinsettias, and mistletoe. These festive favorites will all cause gastric distress to parrots, and ingestion can be fatal in the case of holly berries.
- Lilies. All lilies, including the ever-popular peace lily, will irritate the mouth of a parrot, leading to drooling and vomiting.
- Philodendron. Consuming the leaves can be fatal.
- Shamrock. There’s nothing lucky about shamrocks for animals, including parrots, who will be subjected to muscle problems if they eat this plant.
Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice warns that exposure to toxic plants, whether inhaled or ingested, can be dangerous for birds.
Plants are a good addition to a parrot’s cage, as they remind your bird of its natural environment.