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What are some iguana-resistant plants?

I need to plant iguana-resistant plants in our garden in Puerto Rico. How or where can I find a list of plants disliked by iguanas? These animals are invasive in our gardens.
Last Updated: Aug 23, 2016  |  1234 Views

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Iguanas are strict herbivores (eat plants only) so they may be attracted to your vegetable garden if you have one.

We do not have iguanas in New York, but I understand that they can be a big problem in gardens in semi-tropical and tropical areas such as Florida and Puerto Rico. As we are not experts on this problem, you might want to contact local experts such as

Dr. Héctor Santiago-Anadón, Director
Cooperative Extension Service
Animal Science University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
College of Agricultural Sciences
P.O. Box 9000
Mayaguez, PR 00681-9000
(787)265-3899, fax 787/833-7765

We were able to find some information on this topic. It is recommended that you try plants with thick leaves and stems. Strong-smelling herbs, such as rosemary and sage, are also good choices.  Some other recommendations are:

  • agaves and cacti
  • begonias
  • bromeliads - flowers may be eaten but not the leaves
  • bush alamanda (Alamanda schottii)
  • crown-of-thorns (Euophorbia milii)
  • Dracaena
  • glory flower (Eccremocarpus scaber) and glory bower (Chlerodendrum trichotomum)
  • Heliconia
  • jade plant (Crassula ovarta)
  • Lantanas (L. camaris)
  • Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia)
  • oleander (Nerium oleander)
  • pentas or Egyptian star (P. lanceolata)
  • tropical gingers such as Alpinia purpurata or A. zerumbet

Note: See this discussion of iguana control by dogs.

For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service

Answered by Anita FinkleBookmark and Share

Other Answers / Comments (2)

  1. Bought 100 pentas, was told iguanas do not eat these. Well they ate everything. So, they had a great appetizer! Never seen so many in my yard before.
    by Sharon Matherne on Jul 09, 2016.
  2. Here in South Florida, our crown-of-thorns were destroyed by the iguanas. I have photos of the iguanas laying atop the small hedge of plants, lazily munching on the red flowers and new leaves. After a few weeks, all that was left was crushed stems. This is repeating itself throughout our area.
    My bromeliads are thriving!
    by Linda Berger on Nov 05, 2017.

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