Should I use Real Or Plastic Plants ?

I am sometimes asked this question, so here is my advice on using plants

Adding plants or a few branches or vines will add interest for your snake and also improve the appearance of your vivarium, but don't be tempted to use anything from your garden or local woodlands because unless these items are sterilized, they could introduce harmful parasites to your snake

I personally do not use real plants as they require too much maintenance, especially when the snake's decide to poop on them. They also require regular watering because the heat inside the vivarium tends to dry them out quicker. Silk and plastic plants might not look as attractive as real ones, but they are much easier to clean.

I think you will find that real plants are used more for tanks containing frogs, toads & newts, but if you do decide to use have real plants in your snake's vivarium, you can place them in pots and hide the pots behind rocks, branches, moss and other vivarium furniture.

Here is a list of the safest plants to use with amphibians and reptiles.

Pothos(Epipremnum aureum)

This plant is very hardy, and is good for the beginning terrarium designer, as it will grow in just about any type of substrate. This plant grows well in a ½ substrate, ½ water terrarium, as it needs to be well watered. This plant also makes an attractive vertical decoration. The pothos vine makes an attractive horizontal decoration.
Humidity: Average 30% or higher.

Lighting: Generally about 6 ~ 8 hours of light from a plant grow aquarium bulb will suffice. Try not to let the light burn for any longer than this, as the leaves will turn brown on the edges. This is the plant getting burned from the lights. You may find that you will need to cut this plant back some, as it has a tendency to branch out. Pothos vines will also need to be cut back, as they have a tendency to "run wild", soon taking over the terrarium. Also, be sure to cut off any dead, yellowing or brown leaves, as these leaves will drain the plant of much needed energy.

Propagation: Stem Cuttings

Many different species of herps will love these plants, just be careful with your vegetarian herp, as you won't have this plant for very long. Frogs and toads will climb on it, lay their eggs on the leaves or in the roots. Tree frogs will sleep hidden in the leaves and lay their eggs on leaves that are hanging over a water source. Some species of salamanders and newts will climb on the leaves, especially if the plant is in the water area of the tank.

If salamanders and newts don't climb on it, they might hide in the roots. Watch out, as some species of salamanders and newts will dig a plant up totally, you will then need to replant it. All in all this attractive plant makes a beautiful decoration in any woodland or tropical terrarium.

English Ivy (Hedera helix L.)

Another attractive plant, this medium sized plant may be difficult for beginners though. This plant also needs to be cut back, as it too tends to "run wild". The leaves of this plant are very beautiful, a medium shade of green with lighter green shading in the middle. Humidity: 30% ~ 60% is best for this plant, though it may live in levels higher than that.

Lighting: 6 ~ 8 hours, no more. This plant's leaves tend to be real sensitive to burning from lights, be careful. This plant serves as an excellent ground cover, and many nocturnal species of herps can be found sleeping under the many vines of this plant. This plant is best placed in the middle of the tank.

African Violets (Saintpaulia ionantha)

These attractive, medium sized flowering plants provide excellent ground cover for terrarium species. They are one of my favourite terrarium plants. These plants do, however, rank high on the difficulty scale. High humidity levels are required for this plant, just be sure that no condensation occurs, as water droplets on the leaves magnify the light and cause burning. I highly recommend that you leave this plant in it's pot, this helps make sure that it gets the correct amount of water.

The leaves of this plant are fuzzy and soft to the touch, like velvet.
This plant produces small flowers, in colours ranging from purple to white to pink. Lighting: 6~8 hours a day. This plant also has leaves that are sensitive, so care must be taken that they don't get burned.

Propagation: Leaf cuttings

This plant provides excellent ground cover. I recommend placing to the side of the tank, near the middle or the front. Many nocturnal species will take refuge from the light under the leaves, and at night will hunt from the leaves for insects.

Umbrella Plant (Schefflera digitata)

This plant is an indoor shrub, who's size is determined by the size of the container it is kept in. This is a beautiful plant, though it tends to be on the plain side, with 5~8 leaflets extending from a central point. This plant is light olive green, there are also variegated ones. Light: Partial shade-bright indirect light.

Temperature: Day time: 65°F~75°F.
Night time: above 60°F. Humidity: 30% and higher.

Propagation: N/A.

This plant makes for a very unusual looking addition to any terrarium. Should only be used in light weight herp tanks, like anoles and small-medium sized tree frogs, as the branches won't hold much weight. Nonetheless, a highly recommended plant. Tank Position: Middle section of tank, centered, and near large-medium sized rocks.

Dumbcane (Dieffenbachia)

Oval, elongated leaves, cream center with outer edge being green. Light: Medium light.
Temperature: Day: 71°F~85°F. Night: 66°F~75°F. Humidity: 30% or higher.

Propagation: Tip, stem cuttings

This plant is a very beautiful addition to any terrarium. Herps will enjoy hanging around and hunting from the various leaves. Also, a prime candidate for breeders, especially for tree frogs if overhanging a water source. Tank Position: Back, towards centre.

Arrowhead Vine (Syngonium podophyllum)

3 lobed plant, arrow-shaped leaves. Variegated light and dark green. Light: Low-medium. Temperature: Days: 61°F~85°F. Nights: 56°F~75°F. Humidity: 30% or more.

Propagation: Stem, tip cuttings, or division of the plant

This plants serves as an excellent ground cover. Cutting back will be necessary, as the plant tends to "grow wild". Many herps enjoy resting, sleeping, hiding and hunting from the safety of this plant. Tank Position: Middle of the tank, towards the sides.

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum clevelandii)

Lance shaped leaves, 8~15 long. Pretty white spathe and spadix flowers. Light: Low-medium, indirect. Temperature: Warm. Days: 71°F~85°F. Nights: 66°F~75°F. Humidity: Medium-high(30% or more).

Propagation: Division of clumps

This plant makes an excellent and large vertical decoration. Size of plant is limited to the size of the container it is kept in. May need to be cut back, as it tends to grow tall. Many herps will enjoy lounging and hunting from the large plant.
Tank Position: Back of the tank, in corners.