Herbs for Bearded Dragons: Help Keep Your “Beardie” Happy and Healthy!

Close up of a bearded dragon on a log.
My Garden Life
November 13, 2023
Table of Contents

By Alice Garcia

Herbs are healthy for your bearded dragons, but it’s important to know which herbs for bearded dragons can safely be incorporated into their diets. Bearded dragons have varying dietary needs depending on the season and their age so it’s important to get information from experts and vets, who can help you choose the right herbs for your beardie. Reptile expert, Alice Garcia, at Reptile Ninja, shares with us the benefits of herbs for bearded dragons, which herbs to feed your beardie, and healthy tips for serving them right.

About Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons (or “beardies”), the popular pet lizards of the Australian Native, are known for their friendliness. They’re gaining in popularity worldwide as more people discover the joy of keeping these gentle, curious reptile companions.

Bearded dragons get their name from the tiny “spikes” on the skin that wraps around their necks. This area of skin puffs out when a bearded dragon is startled or senses danger, giving it the appearance of a beard.

Bearded dragons may live from ten to fifteen years.

Being omnivorous, a bearded dragon’s diet includes herbs as well as insects. Though easy to care for, beardies are sensitive creatures, making it important to know the right herbs that would suit them. Read on for more details!

A close up of a bearded dragon showing the scales along its neckline that give the appearance of a beard.

Benefits of Feeding Your Bearded Dragon Herbs

The first important thing to know is your beardie’s dietary requirements. Herbs fit in well to fulfill their nutritional needs such as calcium and vitamins. The juveniles require a more carnivore diet along with herbs, then, as your bearded dragon grows to an adult, herbs and other greens become the major part of its diet.

The following factors should be considered when choosing herbs for bearded dragons:

  • They are high in calcium as compared to phosphorus, and have a good Ca:P ratio, 2:1 being the ideal.
  • The right herbs provide ample vitamins and minerals.
  • They contain beneficial properties such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-bacterial effects that improve digestion, immunity, and overall health of your beardie.
  • Herbs add variety to a bearded dragon’s diet improving the overall quality of their life and making them happier.
  • A diet with a variety of herbs help fight stress and reduces the chances of your beardie developing cancer or other serious illnesses.
  • Research thoroughly any foods you are considering feeding your bearded dragon to make sure they are beneficial and safe for your pet’s health. Consult with a vet on any herbs, greens, or vegetables you are uncertain about before feeding to your pet.
A bearded dragon in a terrarium next to a dish of fresh greens and herbs for bearded dragons.

What Herbs should Bearded Dragons be Fed?

Bearded dragons are reptiles that come from the sparse desert regions of central Australia and as a result have an appetite for a variety of foods in their diet. Before we learn which specific herbs are best for bearded dragons, it important to cover a few tips on serving fresh herbs to your pet.

  • A good herb should be served fresh. No matter how suitable the herb is for your pet, its true potency depends on being served fresh.
  • Bearded dragons should be provided with healthy and clean herbs. This means the herbs should be picked from the right place. Either organic or farm fresh, make sure you pick it from the right place.
  • Herbs prove to be a fun and healthy supplement to their existing diet. They could either contribute to a good taste or as healthy nutrients that existing diets might miss. In either case, they should look fun, fresh, and healthy to eat.
  • Good herbs should also fulfill the taste criteria. As for humans, so for pets. A healthy diet can’t just count all the nutrient values, but also the taste it offers. After all, it’s the right taste that would make the diet enjoyable.
Two bearded dragons in a terrarium eating herbs for bearded dragons.

List of Some Vegetables and Herbs for Bearded Dragons

With this basic idea, let’s now dive right into the greens and veggies that will make your beardie happy and healthy. Below is a list of fresh herbs, greens and some vegetables that your bearded dragon will enjoy along with information on how frequently they can be served. Remember, these are to be served raw and just as additions to a full, well-balanced offering of foods:

Arugula (Can be served daily.)

Arugula is closely linked to broccoli and is well-suited for salad servings. Arugula has an ideal calcium: phosphorus  ratio making it suitable for daily consumption. Arugula is best when mixed with tasty meals. It should be served after removing any large stiff stems that might be difficult for beardies to digest. Also, make sure to cut the arugula into small pieces. A good guide is to cut greens to the size of the distance between the two eyes of your beardie.

Cilantro (Can be served daily.)

Cilantro (or coriander) adds freshness when sprinkled over salad and other dishes which your bearded dragon will enjoy. Cilantro is rich in calcium and vitamin A, making it perfect for daily serving. Because of its basic pH scale, cilantro goes well with fruits and foods which are acidic.

Mustard Greens (Can be served daily.)

These are leaves from the mustard plant which have peppery, spicy taste, making a perfect combo with salad and other meals. Being highly alkaline they go well with acidic items like blueberries and tomatoes. Make sure to serve only the leaves, while mixing other tasty items to compensate for the spicy taste.

Kale (Can be served twice per week.)

Kale is a nutrient-rich green that goes well with meals, but due to high oxalate levels, kale can block calcium and can lead to kidney stones over time. It’s important not to give your bearded dragon too much and it’s probably best to limit to serving only twice a week. The leaves should be offered raw after removing the stems.

Carrots (Can be served twice per week.)

Beardies love carrots (not baby carrots). However, carrots are low on calcium so you’ll want to be sure other parts of your bearded dragon’s diet is calcium-rich. Carrots should be washed and scrubbed well before consumption. Being hard, carrots should be grated into loose shreds before serving, and mixed with other meals. Better yet, warm carrots for 15 minutes to soften them and feed once cooled. This will make them easier for your bearded dragon to digest and enjoy.

Broccoli (Can be served twice per week.)

Broccoli is best served with herbs with high calcium (like kale) due to high phosphate levels. Remember to cut into small pieces so that they don’t choke your pet. Serve broccoli raw (rather than cooked) after removing the stem and stalks.

Below are a few more herbs that can be cut up and served in small quantities to your beardie in a salad or sprinkled over their main meal. Once again, pay attention to the serving frequency. While these herbs are a healthy supplement to your bearded dragon’s diet, they should not be served daily:

Basil (Can be served once per week.)

Basil provides vitamins A, C, E, and K as well as calcium. There are many varieties of basil you can grow, but a basic green-leaf, culinary basil is best suited to your bearded dragon. Offer the fresh chopped leaves after first removing any firm stems.

Dandelion Greens (Can be served once per week.)

Dandelion leaves are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, K, and calcium. They also have a good calcium: phosphorus balance. Young leaves are the most tender, but it would still be beneficial to cut them into smaller pieces. Be very certain that any dandelion leaves you harvest have not be exposed to chemicals or animal wastes that might harm your beardie. Don’t feed the flower stems or seed heads.

Mint Leaves (Can be served once per month.)

There are many varieties of mint available, but it is simplest to just offer your beardie basic peppermint or spearmint leaves, chopped and sprinkled on its meal. Mints are high in vitamins A and C as well as providing a good source of fiber. Mints are easy to grow in the garden or in a pot so you can grow your own to maintain a fresh source.

Rosemary (Can be served once per week.)

Fresh rosemary is a great source of fiber for your beardie that will benefit its digestive system. Rosemary also has a good calcium:potassium ratio and is a good source of vitamin C.

Thyme (Can be served once per month.)

There are a lot of different varieties of thyme on the market, many grown for their ornamental value. Stick with a culinary thyme for your bearded dragon. Thyme is a good source of vitamins C and A. Strip the fine leaves from the stem and sprinkle them on a salad or other meal.

Fennel (Can be served once per week.)

Fennel is a good way to supplement your bearded dragon’s diet with vitamins A, K and C along with potassium, manganese and magnesium. Chop the fine fennel foliage and sprinkle it on a meal.

Herbs and Vegetables You can Grow for Your Bearded Dragon

To learn more about growing these herbs and vegetables for your bearded dragon click on the image for each plant:

Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Although considered a lawn and garden weed by many, dandelions are edible plants and considered a very nutritional food source by those interested in creating edible landscapes or foraging wild foods. Dandelions produce a low rosette of deeply serrated leaves arising just above the root. They produce yellow flowers on long stems held above the foliage throughout their growing season. If the flowers are allowed to go to seed they produce airy, puffy seed balls.
Mustard Greens (Brassica juncea)

Mustard Greens (Brassica juncea)

Mustard greens are super easy to grow and incredibly nutritious. This is a cool-season annual, perfect for early spring and fall crops. “Baby” leaves can be picked when just 2” (5cm) long. An excellent source of vitamins A and C, and iron. Use tender, young leaves fresh in salads or on sandwiches. Can be added to a wide range of cooked dishes and soups. Delicious when boiled or stir-fried. An excellent source of vitamins and minerals. Wash fruits, vegetables and herbs thoroughly before eating.
Carrot (Daucus carota)

Carrot (Daucus carota)

Carrots are fun and easy to grow and they don’t require a lot of garden space. They are available in a variety of colors and shapes beyond the traditional long, orange roots most often sold commercially. Different varieties offer different advantages in terms of harvest time, adaptability to soil types, and disease resistance. Do a little research to find the varieties best suited to your location and growing season. Carrots keep well if stored in a cool, dry location.
Basil ‘Italian Large-Leaf’ (Ocimum basilicum)

Basil ‘Italian Large-Leaf’ (Ocimum basilicum)

The large, tasty leaves of this variety are very popular for flavoring Italian cuisine. Snip fresh leaves and use them to flavor tomato dishes, breads, caprese salad and of course, pesto. This Basil is nice when planted in a pot by itself or when mixed with other herbs or annuals in the landscape. Grow it in a sunny windowsill to perfume your home and provide easy access to the flavorful leaves. Try adding a few leaves to sandwiches or using them as a wrap for freshly cut tomatoes. Yum! Culinary herb for gardens and containers. Excellent for flavoring a variety of dishes. Use leaves fresh, or dry and keep in an airtight container.
Arugula, Rocket Salad, Roquette (Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa)

Arugula, Rocket Salad, Roquette (Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa)

Wild rocket is native to Italy and a common ingredient in Italian cuisine. The flavor is a bit spicier than cultivated Arugula but a light peppery flavor still dominates. It’s a great, natural seasoning for fresh salads and on sandwiches, or lightly cooked with fish or poultry. Arugula is a great source of vitamins A and C, and very high in calcium, and potassium. Very easy to grow and leaves are ready to harvest in just a few weeks from planting. Superb for eating fresh or added to a variety of dishes. Add leaves to salads, sandwiches or use as a garnish. Cook like spinach and cover with butter or cream sauce.
Spearmint (Mentha spicata)

Spearmint (Mentha spicata)

Spearmint produces fragrant, spear-shaped, bright green foliage that adds a refreshing fragrance to the landscape. Purple blooms and lush growth add to its appeal. Attracts bees to the garden! A very desirable herb garden addition that also looks great in any bed, border or container. The dry leaves can be used for tea. Popular for sachets and potpourri. Wash fruits, vegetables and herbs thoroughly before eating.
Sweet Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Sweet Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Wonderful ornamental and edible plant. The soft feathery foliage adds an airy texture to the garden and the foliage has a sweet, anise flavor that is ideal for seasoning a wide range of foods and sauces. Very desirable herb garden addition also looks great in any bed, border or container. Leaves and seeds can be used in stews, salad dressings and bread. Wash fruits, vegetables and herbs thoroughly before eating.
Cilantro, Fresh Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)

Cilantro, Fresh Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)

Two herbs from one plant! This annual herb has bright green, edible foliage and is known as Cilantro. Coriander is made from the spicy seeds. Excellent for growing in herb gardens and containers. Coriander is a major ingredient in curry powder. Cilantro is widely used for Thai, Chinese and Mexican dishes. Wash fruits, vegetables and herbs thoroughly before eating.
Kale (Brassica oleracea)

Kale (Brassica oleracea)

Kale provides a steady supply of nutritious, leafy greens over a long season with little care. Once the plant is established in the garden, harvesting fresh, outer leaves will encourage continuous growth. Snap or cut each leaf off where it meets the stem to help keep the plant healthy. High in vitamins A, C and K among other nutrients. Excellent for flavoring a variety of dishes. Delicious when lightly steamed or boiled. Superb for adding flavor to soups, stews and casseroles.
Broccoli (Brassica hybrid)

Broccoli (Brassica hybrid)

Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamins A and C! Plants produce flavorful dark green heads densely packed with florets on thick stems. Cut the head down to smaller florets to make preparation easier. A must for every vegetable garden! Delicious when lightly steamed and covered with cheese sauce or melted butter. Slice raw into salads or cook. Serve with dip on a vegetable tray.
English Thyme, Common Thyme, Garden Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

English Thyme, Common Thyme, Garden Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

An evergreen herb, with dainty but flavorful leaves most popular in cooked dishes. Harvest thyme sprigs as needed and cut back to about 3″ (1cm) two or three times per season to encourage thicker growth. Easily dried for long-term storage. Culinary herb for gardens and containers. Commonly used for seasoning meats, fish, poultry, soups and vegetables. Outstanding for planting near walkways, decks and patios where scent can be enjoyed.
Upright Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Upright Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary is a popular culinary herb, with an intense pine flavor. Use the needles, but not the woody stems, when cooking with rosemary. Rosemary is also an attractive, drought tolerant addition to perennial plantings with its fine textured, silvery foliage and pale lavender blooms. Looks beautiful in the garden as a clipped dwarf hedge. An excellent subject for topiary standards and containers. Leaves are popular for seasoning meats, stews, and sauces.

Plants to Avoid Feeding a Bearded Dragon

In addition to knowing which herbs are good for your bearded dragon, it’s also important to know what herbs should be avoided to keep your bearded dragon safe. While a few of them could be safe in small quantities, it is best to check with your vet or simply avoid these plants (or any others you might be considering) unless you’ve conducted sufficient research to verify what, if any, amount is safe:

  • Avocado
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Beet greens
  • Wild plants
  • Dill leaves
  • Chives
  • Bay leaves
  • Parsley

Important note: Herbs that are too acidic in nature should be avoided altogether, unless suggested by your vet as an exception.

A veterinarian gently holding a bearded dragon during a check up.

More Tips for Serving Your Bearded Dragon Healthy, Safe Meals

As we know that bearded dragons are sensitive reptiles, so should owners be sensitive about caring for their nutritional needs. While this gets better with experience, you should have a good understanding of how herbs can be served best. Let’s discuss a few important ones:

Storage of Herbs and Vegetables for Your Bearded Dragon

One of the essential factors to providing your bearded dragon safe, healthy food is food storage. Not everyone gets time to grow their herbs that can directly be plucked and served fresh. Besides, there is a limit to how many they could. It becomes obvious that some or most of the herbs have to be purchased and stored. Here, proper storage becomes an essential consideration.

Herbs should be stored in airtight containers that ensure good sealing to avoid moisture. Also, they should be stored in cool places, away from sunlight or heat, as they will sap the taste and potency. Refrigerators are the best storage options, followed by cupboards. Despite these facilities, herbs should be used quickly.

Storing herbs for bearded dragons-a man placing a plastic container of vegetables into a refrigerator.

Cleanliness and Hygiene When Preparing Herbs for Bearded Dragons

Cleanliness includes disinfecting the herbs, especially when purchasing from outside. This can easily be done using mild vinegar and rinsed again later, which helps in effectively disinfecting the herbs. Also, it’s best to avoid purchasing canned or packaged herbs. While purchasing, checking the label for details is a safe and healthy way to ensure usage of the right product.

A woman thoroughly washing greens and herbs for feeding a bearded dragon.

Moderation and Balance in a Bearded Dragon’s Diet

Serving a proper diet is also about serving the right quantity. A diet should neither be served in a large quantity, nor meager. Moderation is the key. Observe your pet eating its meal to understand whether it leisurely feeds or gulps its meal. If you have more than one bearded dragon, observe whether they are competing for food and eating quickly as a result.

Herbs should serve as 25% of the diet, along with fruits and carnivore diets such as worms, to provide balance of taste and nutrients. If the meal lacks calcium, consider using calcium powder as a supplement. Calcium powder can be sprinkled right on the food. Refer to the product packaging for frequency or check with your vet.

Close up of a bearded dragon eating fresh kale.

Can you feed bearded dragons herbs all the time?

While there are some herbs that can be fed daily, others are fed occasionally. Herbs are not meant to be served as standalone items, but as a supplement to add variety, nutrition, and taste to a meal.

Can you feed bearded dragons herbs that you personally grow?

Herbs grown personally are the best and safest form of food for your pet. By growing plants yourself, you can ensure that the seeds and soil are free from contaminants such as fungicides or pesticides that could harm your pet. As always, be sure to do your research and confirm with a vet that you’re making good plant choices before investing your time and resources into growing them for your beardie.

A woman is potting herbs to grow her own plants to feed a bearded dragon.

Keeping Your Bearded Dragon Happy and Well Fed

While bearded dragons are friendly pets and easy to care for, their sensitive diet demands proper research and attention. You’ll want to ensure a proper balance of a carnivore diet, fruits, and herbs. Besides, it’s also important to know the herbs that are to be avoided. While herbs make up a quarter of your pet’s diet, they contribute greatly to ensuring a happy and healthy pet.

To learn more about growing your own herbs we have compiled a variety of articles on growing, harvesting, and storing herbs. You’re sure to find the information you need to provide healthy, homegrown herbs in, All About Growing and Using Herbs.

Close up of mixed herbs including rosemary, basil and thyme.

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