Box Turtles & Tortoises Living in the Garden
Observations By Beverly Logan, GCTTS member
A 10 year study
Texas Native Trees
|Dwarf Palmetto ||Sabal minor|| |
|Desert Willow ||Chilopsis linearis||* ****|
|Fringe Tree ||Chionanthus virginica|| |
|Parsley Hawthorn ||Crataegus marshalli||** ****|
|Red Mulberry ||Morus rubra||*** ****|
|Redbud ||Cercis texensis, pink, purple||****|
|Mexican redbud ||Cercis mexicana, deep pink||****|
|Snow Drop Tree ||Halesia diptera, white|| |
|Snowbell ||Styrax americanus, white|| |
|Sweet Bay Magnolia ||Magnolia virginiana, white||****|
|Wax Myrtle ||Myrica cerifera|| |
Non native Trees
|Trident Maple||Acer buergerianum||****|
|Profusion Crabapple||Malus profusion better performer||Mill Creek Farms|
|***||Edible fruit & leaves|
|****||Leaf drop, for mulch in turtle habitat gardens, attracts live foods.|
- Turtles benefit greatly from a natural leaf mulch in their habitat. The mulch provides habitat for food items for the turtles (insects, worms, etc.), helps soften the soil for egg laying and hibernation, and provides a cool place for them to rest during hot weather.
- Trees, shrubs, and small plants in these listings should be planted centrally in out door enclosure type turtle pens.
- Tree roots create more ground moisture, which is important for turtles and some tortoises.
- Box turtles and tortoises regulate their body temperature from the sun, and use shade for cooling. Box turtles and tortoises are visible when searching for food.
- Plants, trees, shrubs help camouflage turtles from predators and make secure places for all turtles, and tortoises.
- Vines are not recommended due to possible climbing and tangle problems.
Texas Native Shrubs
|Heartleaf hibiscus||Hibiscus martianus, red||*|
|Rockrose||Pavonia lasiopetala, pink||*|
|Violet ruellia||Ruellia nudiflora, purple||*|
|Yellow Bells||Tecoma stans, yellow||*|
|Prickley Pear cactus||Opunita, yellow||* ** ***|
|Switchgrass, Johnson grass||Panicum virgatum||*|
|Widow Tears||Commelina, blue||**|
|Butterfly weed||Asclepias tuberose, yellow, orange|| |
|American Beautyberry||Callicarpa americana, purple berry||* ****|
Non Native shrubs
|Giant Liriope|| ||Best liked box turtle plant-purple flowers & berries|
|Tropical Hibiscus||Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, red||**|
| ||Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, yellow (Eye Opener,butterfly)||**|
|Texas native wild dandelions||yellow, blue flowers||**|
|**||flowers & leaves edible|
Plants for Outdoor Water Turtle Ponds
Texas Native Water Lilies
| ||Nymphae odorata, white||*|
| ||Nymphae mexicana, yellow||*|
Non native Water Plants
|Water poppy||Hydrocleys nymphoides, peruviana - yellow||*|
Native Texas Bog Plants
|Pickerelweed||Pontederia cordata, purple||*|
|Arrowhead||Sagittaria, white|| |
|Zigzag Iris||Iris brevicaulis, purple with white|| |
Non Native Bog Plants
|Umbrella palm, plant||Cyperus alternifolius|| |
|Louisiana Swamp Iris||Iris Pseudacorus||yellow, red, purple, white, more.|| |
|*||All parts adult water turtle edible|
- Provides shade, camouflage for all types, & depths of turtle ponds in the garden.
- Water plants provide shelter from turtle predators. Floating water plants provide basking spots, and attract live foods.
- For bog plants, plant in 8-12 inches water depth, or outside moist area next to in ground garden ponds.
Copyright (c) 2004 Gulf Coast Turtle and Tortoise Society
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