To ensure a balance, grow as many different varieties as you can.
Malva - (malllow) leaves & flowers
Lavertera - (mallow) leaves & flowers
Nasturtium - leaves & flowers
Hibiscus - flowers especially, also leaves
Gazania - flowers & leaves
Aubretia - leaves & flowers
Wallflowers - (erysimum annual & biennial varieties) leaves & flowers
Sedum spectabilis - leaves (other pink flowered alpines sedums are also consumed)
Kalanchoe - leaves especially
Pansies - leaves & flowers
Hosta - leaves
Hemerocallis - (day lily) flowers
Anagallis Linifoilia - (annual) leaves & flowers
Sempervivum (house leeks) - leaves
Meconopsis Cambrica (Welsh Poppy) - leaves & occasional flowers
Mesembryantemums (annual) - flowers & leaves
Nemesia - leaves & occasionally flowers
Rose - petals only
Mimulus (annual) - especially flowers
Petunia - leaves & flowers
Perennial Geraniums (alpine & dwarf) especially flowers, leaves also eaten
Sweet Woodruff (gallium odoratum)*
Mysotis (forget-me-nots) - leaves consumed occasionally
Pelagonium - leaves & flowers
Begonia Semperflorens - flowers & leaves (suggest avoid all tuberous begonias however, as may be toxic)
Echolozia (Californian poppy) - flowers
Ameria (thrift) - flowers
Antirrhinum - leaves & flowers
Osteospermum - flowers & leaves eaten occasionally
Hebe - round or dark leaved varieties may be nibbled*
Fushia - leaves & flowers eaten occasionally
Corepsis - flowers
Tagetes - flowers
Mimulus Aurantica - flowers
Cornflower - leaves nibbled with young plants
Opunia Cactus - spineless or semi spineless varieties
*Dwarf or small hebes are ideal for tortoise garden planting providing both dapples shade and the occasional nibble. Sweet woodruff is more useful as a low growing evergreen shelter plant, but is occasionally eaten. In general, tortoises do not like herbs and actively avoid those with very strong scented leaves.
Keepers can e very worred about totoises eating poisonous plants. In reality, the risk is small as tortoises wil naturally avoid them.
Occcasional cases of poisoning, even death, have been recorded through accidental ingestion of some garden plants, and it is therefore best to exclude these from tortoise habitats, or at the every least ensure they are not grown in close proximity with edible plants and weeds.
As a guide, common plants to be avoided include: Daffodil, Narciusis, Hellebores, Hypericum (often called Rose of Sharon, not to be confused with the Hibiscus variety), Euphorbias, Digitalis (Foxglove), Nicotiana (tobacco plant), Rhododendrons & Azaleas, Ragwort (senico), Crocus, Dicentra (bleeding heart), Lupin (Lupinus), Vinca (Perwinkle), Peony (peonia), Rhubarb, Mistletoe, Aconite & Lobelia. In general plants which grow from bulbs, tubers & corma should be excluded as many although not all, are potentially toxic. Conifers which produce needles or pine cones should also be avoided.
However, if you see your tortoise nibbling a few leaves of, for example, sweet peas or impatiens (busy lizzies), don't panic. Many plants which are often listed as toxic are, it would appear, safe when taken in small amounts as part of a varied diet.
Compiled by JANE NICOLL
Produced by Hampshire Tortoise Society
A variety of edible flowers for your tortoise to enjoy. Dandelion flowers are just one.