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Home > General > 7 Best Plants for Hermit Crabs (With Pictures)

7 Best Plants for Hermit Crabs (With Pictures)

hermit crab in a terrarium

Hermit crabs are incredibly easy to take care of, which is part of what makes them such excellent first pets. You don’t have to do much to keep them alive, but you can do some simple things to greatly improve your crabs’ lives. One of the easiest ways to help enrich your crabs’ lives while sprucing up their environment is to put in plants. Of course, this means some extra work and it’s not for everyone, but it can be a great addition to any crab habitat and can provide your crabs with several important benefits.

If you decide you want to put plants in your crab’s enclosure, there are seven that are your best choices. These plants are all safe for crabs and meet all the criteria of good crab plants. We’re going to share those seven plants with you, as well as the criteria that a plant must meet to be suitable for a crab habitat.


Live vs Fake Plants

Before you purchase any plants for your crab enclosure, you should decide whether live plants or fake plants would be a better fit. Both are excellent choices, and you really can’t go wrong with either. However, they offer different benefits, so depending on what you want your crabs to get from the plants you put in the enclosure, one will likely a better fit than the other. Check out the pros and cons of each and determine which is a better choice for you and your crabs.

Live Plants

  • Offers hiding places for your crab
  • Provides nutrition as a food source
  • Improves air quality in the tank
  • Will be destroyed
  • Requires upkeep and maintenance
  • You’ll need to replace them
  • Becomes expensive over time

Fake Plants

  • Don’t get destroyed or eaten
  • Never need replacing
  • Keeps costs low
  • Can offer hiding places for your crabs
  • Doesn’t provide nutrition for your crabs
  • Won’t improve air quality in the enclosure


What to Look for in Live Plants

If you’ve decided that live plants are right for your crab enclosure, then you’ll need to know what to look for in a suitable plant. Not every plant is a good fit for your crabs. Any plant you pick must meet the following criteria.

  • Vertical Growth – You want to find plants that grow up, not out. This way, they don’t start taking up more real estate in the enclosure, which is always at a premium.
  • No Thick Root Systems – Plants with thin root systems are better since your crabs can’t get tangled in them.
  • Thrives in Warm and Humid Environments – Many plants will die in the kind of warm and moist environment found in your crabs’ enclosure. Naturally, you’ll have to find some plants that can thrive in such conditions.
  • Must Be Resilient – Crabs aren’t easy on the plants in their enclosure. Your plants will be getting torn up. They must be resilient enough to survive for several weeks, rather than starting to shrivel and die as soon as they start taking damage.

leaves divider leaf

The 7 Best Plants for Hermit Crabs

1. Air Plants

Air Plants
Image Credit: Bluesnap, Pixabay

If you’re looking for a beautiful plant that’s easy to care for, then air plants fit the bill. They don’t even need to be planted! You can simply hang them on the sides of the tank, which should help them survive longer since your crabs will have a harder time reaching them. All the care they require is a light misting with water on occasion and they’ll continue to grow and thrive. Some of the most common air plants include:

  • Brachycaulos
  • Bulbosa
  • Capitata
  • Ionantha Rubra

2. Bromeliads

Image Credit: manfredrichter, Pixabay

Bromeliads are quite similar to air plants, though Bromeliads are the far more colorful of the two. Like air plants, bromeliads don’t require soil to grow. You can attach them to a ledge or a piece of wood. Easy to care for and beautiful to behold, bromeliads are a great choice for any crab enclosure.

3. Loose-Leaf Lettuce

Loose-Leaf Lettuce
Image Credit: Pixabay

Lettuce is extremely easy to grow and offers plenty of nutrition for your crabs. Make sure to pick a loose-leaf variety rather than a tighter type like iceberg lettuce. You can even find loose-leaf lettuce in various colors from green to purple, making this plant a great way to bring some color to any crab tank.

4. Moss

Image Credit: Pixabay

Moss is one of the best choices for a crab tank. It has some awesome benefits you won’t get with other plants. Crabs can burrow through moss, and since it holds moisture, it helps maintain humidity levels within the enclosure. It’s also full of vitamins for your crab to benefit from. Plus, you can get moss in a variety of colors for that dash of color and personality. Many different varieties of moss exist, but three of the best for hermit crabs are cushion moss, pillow moss, and Irish moss.

5. Pothos

Image Credit: Pixabay

Hermit crabs don’t like eating pothos plants, so if you opt to put one of these in your crab cage, it’ll probably last longer than other plants you might try. Golden pothos is the most common, allowing you to easily add a dash of yellow to the cage. However, pothos is avoided by hermit crabs because they’re not good for them. Your crabs are very unlikely to eat the pothos plant, but if they do, it could be bad news, so if you’re uncomfortable with that prospect, you might want to choose a different plant.

6. Spider Plants

You definitely don’t need to have a green thumb to grow spider plants. These hardy plants are very beginner-friendly and won’t be affected by the heat and humidity in the enclosure. It’s strong enough to handle crabs climbing up it and won’t fall apart right away. Your best course is to use spider plants that are already established, giving them enough time to adapt to their new environment before the crabs can destroy them.

7. Sprouts

germinated alfalfa sprouts
Image Credit: Pixabay

While seeds are just starting to sprout, they can be eaten and they’re called sprouts. These are packed with nutrition and super easy to grow. All you have to do for most seeds is soak them and give them a day or two. Since you’re just making them from seeds, it’s simple to replace them when your crabs inevitably dig them out and eat them. Thankfully, sprouts contain plenty of vitamins and antioxidants that will help keep your crabs healthy.


Final Thoughts

Your hermit crabs don’t need plants, and if you want to avoid the hassles of keeping live plants, you can even opt to go with fake plants instead. But if you do decide that live plants are a better fit for your crabs, thanks to the nutrition they offer or their ability to improve the air quality in your crabs’ enclosure, then you’ll want to find plants that grow vertically and thrive in warm, humid environments, with thin root systems that are hardy and resilient. The seven plants we’ve listed all meet these criteria, so they’re choices that are hard to go wrong with.

Featured Image Credit: RhoihesseOnTour, Pixabay

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