Q. 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.

Answer

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
hector.santiago15@upr.e.

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

  • Last Updated Apr 02, 2018
  • Views 1713
  • Answered By Anita Finkle

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Comments (5)

  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.
  3. Iguanas will definitely eat crown-of-thorns and pentas from this list, but we’ve found they don’t eat: agaves, cordylines (various varieties), oleander, and have also had good luck with crotons if they are not too close to where they thrive, plumbago, Carissa boxwood, green island ficus, Texas silver sage, ornamental grasses, desert rose, dracena, bromeliads and palms.
    by Ann on Mar 22, 2018.
  4. Iguanas will definitely eat begonias.
    by Troy on May 31, 2018.
  5. I have had luck with iguanas not eating my angelonias, bulbines, society garlic, purslane, almond bush, tibouchina, alamanda, texas sage, cordylines, pink muhly grass oh and my bromeliads. they have eaten my marigolds, caladium, elephant ear if it is small, my mangos down to the seed (they do not eat the leaves just the fruit) and lots of poop
    by joso61 on Jun 17, 2018.

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