Plants and flowers are vibrant and colorful, providing parrots with an enriching living environment. Live plants can also provide nourishment, a hiding place, and improved 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 nearby.
Many plants are toxic to parrots, so never expose them 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.
However, adding plants for parrots to eat, observe, and interact with requires research. Not all plants are safe for parrots because some can cause serious illness or death if ingested or inhaled.
What are the Best Plants for Parrots?
If you’d like to add more color to a parrot’s cage, the flora below is parrot-safe:
1/ African Violets
These small, hardy plants are ideal for bird cages of all sizes.
They won’t take up much space, are safe for parrots to eat, and look beautiful. It’s easy to get African violets to thrive indoors.
Best of all, African violets don’t like to be placed in front of a window – they need access to indirect light.
This makes a parrot’s cage in the corner of a room the ideal location for this beautiful flower.
2/ Aloe Vera
Aloe vera plants are extremely easy to care for and will take up minimal space in a parrot’s cage.
They look great, make the air in a parrot’s room more breathable, and are a healthy plant for parrots to eat.
Of course, aloe vera is famed for its medicinal properties.
Vet Times explains how aloe vera treats skin conditions in parrots while having antioxidants and promoting good digestive health.
3/ Baby Tears
This Irish plant has various names, with baby tears being the most common. 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 appear like a mossy carpet. A parrot can sit in the plant, pecking and grazing.
Baby tears are easy to maintain indoors, and as they grow over time, they may hang from the bottom of the parrot’s cage. This creates a striking aesthetic and a safe plant for a pet bird to eat.
Bamboo plants are among the most versatile. Bamboo can get quite tall, so it’s best kept beside the cage.
It’s hard-wearing, so it’ll withstand the attention of a parrot’s beak, and a bamboo plant will help a bird feel at home by providing a lush, jungle-like feel.
Bamboo leaves and the wood in the plant also provide nutrition.
5/ Callistemon (Bottle Brush)
This is a non-toxic shrub native to Australia.
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 a parrot will enjoy.
Take cuttings in the spring to enjoy the maximum impact.
Ferns, especially the Boston fern, are perfect cage decorations.
No ill effects will come to a 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.
Hibiscus flowers grow in many subtropical territories.
Bringing a little continental flair to a parrot cage, hibiscus is best grown outdoors and then moved inside in a container.
The primary appeal of hibiscus is the beautiful appearance of the flower. Hibiscus also has health benefits for humans and parrots.
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 a great choice if you’re seeking a safe plant for a parrot to eat that’s also low-maintenance.
Money plants are succulents, so they’re bird-safe. This plant is also hardy – it can flourish without much light or water.
Jade plants are relatively self-contained and can be kept in slightly smaller parrot cages than other plants and flowers.
While you should always leave space in a bird’s habitat, this plant will not be considered intrusive.
Some plant enthusiasts consider money plants “basic” or dull, but a parrot will disagree.
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 animals, which is fortunate, as a parrot will likely be attracted to the bright, soft petals. As long as the parrot doesn’t consume petunias to excess, it won’t experience any ill effects.
Petunias are best enjoyed from a distance for parrots because they need direct sunlight. If growing petunias, leave them by a window, in the eye line of the parrot.
A bird can admire petunias from the cage and interact during exercise when curious.
10/ Purple Passion (Velvet Plant)
The purple passion, named for its distinctive color, is among the most common houseplants.
This plant flourishes indoors in similar temperatures to a parrot and is non-toxic, making it a good addition to a birdcage.
Purple passion plants can grow quite large, so you may need to prune them occasionally if you keep one in the cage, though a bird will likely take care of this by 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 parrots:
- Amaryllis. These beautiful indoor flowers look striking, but ingestion causes salivation, stomach problems, and anorexia.
- Daffodils. Although bright and cheerful, daffodils cause vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures.
- Holly, ivy, poinsettias, and mistletoe. These festive favorites 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 parrots, leading to drooling and vomiting.
- Philodendron. Consuming the leaves can be fatal.
- Shamrock. There’s nothing lucky about shamrocks for parrots, who will develop muscle problems.
Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice warns that exposure to toxic plants, inhaled or ingested, can be dangerous for birds.
Plants are a good addition to a cage because they remind parrots of their natural environment.