There are many great choices for plants in a lovebird aviary, such as prayer plants, spider plants, purple passion, aloe vera, monkey plant, coleus, jade, and zebra plant. In general, most plants are safe and it’s better to be clear on what the exceptions are, toxic plants like mistletoe, holly, lilies and daffodils, among others.
Decorating an aviary can be one of the best parts of owning a lovebird.
The plants look beautiful to you and they will be great for the lovebird, too.
At the same time, you’ve got to be very careful of what you provide for them, making sure to avoid anything harmful or toxic to their health.
Let’s look at this in more detail.
What plants are good for lovebirds?
There are many, many plants that are good to put in a lovebird aviary.
I will look at some of the most popular plants to put in a lovebird aviary, but one thing you can do if you are interested in browsing many plants is to familiarize yourself with a lovebird’s native environment.
Lovebirds live in the forests and savannahs of sub-Saharan Africa, and on Madagascar.
Naturally, many, many plants are native to such a wide range, but you can get a sense of the kind of plants they prefer by researching their native habitats.
Always be sure, though, to check that the plant you’re interested in does not pose any specific issues or problems for lovebirds.
One very common and popular plant to use in a lovebird aviary is the prayer plant.
These beautiful, variegated plants are extremely popular as houseplants in general, and they make a great addition to your lovebird’s aviary.
They are totally safe and your lovebird will enjoy hanging out near the leaves.
They are a low-growing, tropical plant, so maintaining them in an outside aviary will be difficult if you don’t have the right climate.
Spider plants are another popular choice for lovebird aviaries.
These plants are generally quite low maintenance, and will grow extensively without much help.
They’re perfectly safe for your lovebird’s aviary, and make a great, jungle-like addition to it.
What’s great is that they propagate very well and very easily, so you can easily get many offshoots from a single mother plant.
Purple passions are another popular plant for lovebird aviaries.
These bright and gorgeous plants make a perfect visual addition to your aviary, and will produce flowers in the spring and summer.
As you can see, many common houseplants are perfectly safe.
Monsteras, or Swiss cheese plants, are also very popular and again grow very easily and well.
Other than that there is a huge variety of safe plants, like monkey plants, aloe vera, jade, and zebra plants.
If you want a particular plant in the aviary, just do some research into that specific species and identify any problems it might pose.
Let’s now turn to the plants that aren’t safe.
What plants are dangerous for lovebirds?
A good rule of thumb is that plants that grow from bulbs or are associated with particular holidays like Christmas or Easter, are not safe for your lovebirds.
Many of the plants associated with Christmas are highly dangerous to your lovebirds, like mistletoe and holly.
Both of these grow both toxic leaves and berries, and even if your lovebird doesn’t eat them, airborne toxins can be released from the plant.
Lovebirds generally are quite good at not eating plants that are toxic to them, but you should never take this chance.
Avoid any plant associated with Christmas.
There is a variety of flowers commonly used in the home and garden which are also toxic to lovebirds and should not be used in their aviaries.
These include lilies, amaryllis, daffodils, and hyacinths.
These flowers, and the rest of the plants they come from, contain toxins that could easily be fatal to a lovebird.
Ficus plants in general are also not a good idea.
They contain an irritating sap that can really bother your lovebird, while it may not be fatal. If they chew on the stems or the leaves—which they will!—then they are very likely to suffer serious issues.
It’s important to remember, in all this, that there really isn’t much specific, peer-reviewed research into what plants are and are not toxic to parrots in general, let alone lovebirds specifically.
What we can do is look at the plants which we know are poisonous or toxic in general, and advise you to stay away from them.
Exotic plants of any kind may well be problematic in one way or another, so just be very careful with what you give them.
Make sure to do careful research to ensure any plant does not contain anything specifically harmful.
What about indoor trees?
What are the best indoor trees for lovebirds?
Indoor trees make a great addition to an aviary, so you’ll be glad to know that there are a great many that are perfectly safe for your lovebirds to hang out in.
Generally, the same rules apply with trees as smaller plants—most are probably safe, but just do research into any specific tree you want to include to make sure it’s safe.
Some favorite choices for a lovebird aviary include umbrella trees, bamboo, areca palms, dracaena and eucalyptus.
All of these are totally safe for a lovebird, and are relatively easy to care for.
Of course, indoor trees can be a bit trickier to manage than houseplants.
They are generally hardier, but if something goes wrong it can be a lot harder to put right.
As long as you are careful, have done your research and are sure you know what you’re doing, then most of these trees will be perfect to maintain in an indoor aviary for lovebirds.
Again, of course, the problem of climate remains if you want to house them outside.
There are many different choices out there for things you can put at the bottom of an aviary, but the simple options like wood shavings work really well depending on the size of the aviary.
For a large, outdoor aviary, many would simply advise a concrete base to make it easier to clean.
For a smaller, indoor one, though, then you can typically use the same sorts of lining you would just use in a birdcage.
Other options include soil, sand, pine bark, or gravel on the bottom of the aviary.
It largely depends on how you want it to look and how willing you are to spend lots of time cleaning out the lining and replacing it all the time.
How do you maintain plants in a lovebird aviary?
Plant maintenance can be tricky, but like anything it comes with experience.
In general, though, there are a couple of main mistakes people make when it comes to maintaining plants.
Firstly, for the most part, overwatering a plant is far worse for it than underwatering.
Most plants don’t need to be watered more than once a week unless you live in a very hot and dry climate.
The other problem is the amount of light they get.
Again, most plants do not need as much direct sunlight as you might think.
If you live somewhere with constant, high level sunlight, then your plants may need some periods of shade throughout the day.
Even plants that come from very hot environments are often shielded by the canopy for most of the day.
What to do with a dead plant in a lovebird aviary?
If a plant dies in the aviary, you’ll want to remove it.
Dead plants will eventually start to rot and this isn’t really good for your lovebirds to be near.
Just take the dead plant out and try to figure out what went wrong—root rot from overwatering is one of the biggest plant killers.
Once you’ve figured out what went wrong, replace the plant and try again.
As I say, plant care comes with experience!
It’s no secret that maintaining this green aviary, on top of all the things you need to do for the birds themselves, is no small amount of work.
However, the rewards for both you and the birds are immense and well worth it. Botany is a highly developed skill, and knowing which plants are good and bad for your lovebird can be tricky.
There are countless great species that you can give them—so it’s best to just be sure of what’s unsafe!