Edible & Non Edible Flowers for Tortoises



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.

Poisonous Plants

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.