frog condos: oxalis, bromeliads and other habitats

frog hidden in oxalis pot
I FINALLY FIGURED OUT WHAT MY FROGBOY FRIENDS see in me. Real estate! No matter what their individual taste in style or color or size, I have a plant to meet their needs–a wide selection of botanical frog condos in the making. Some quick, fun shots of a few of my favorite summer 2011 renters.

The guy up top (a green frog, Rana clamitans) spent most of the season tucked into a big pot of Oxalis vulcanicola by the bigger frogpond out back, soaking up the rays and waiting for unsuspecting insects to pass his way.

frog hiding in bromeliad
The male green frog who made his summer home my above-ground seasonal water gardens–two big troughs I fill with water by my kitchen door, like this–considered a nearby bromeliad (in this case a Vriesea) to be his digs, when he wasn’t at poolside. (Some years little tree frogs have tucked themselves into such houseplants as the one above and found themselves temporarily indoors in fall when I stashed the potted things–oops!)

2 frogs in potted water plant
And then there was the pair who wanted a life raft as housing, and passed most days inside the rim of a submerged potted water plant that I’d stood in the smaller of two pools. How about those ridiculous smiles looking up at me each day from down in the dark recesses of their watery residence?

You’ve already seen the commune that as many as eight green frogs at a time were perpetrating in my dwarf white pine, remember? Well, in case you forgot:

frog huddle

Here’s hoping I can make them all at home and just as comfortable in the coming colder season.

  1. Laura Biegger says:

    At least three tree frogs made their home in our front porch deck box this summer, when they weren’t “hanging out” on the picture window. They have gone wherever for the winter now, I guess. May be possible to wash that picture window!

  2. Ridgely Hoyt-Whitaker says:

    I’m so jealous! I grew up on the East Coast, but now live on the West Coast and we don’t have many frogs and NO TURTLES, and I miss them….a lot!

  3. Tricia says:

    I love your frog pictures! Wish we had water closer — it’s far enough away to hear them but not entice them into our garden. We did catch a glimpse of a toad in the front flower garden so I put in a DIY toad house but it’s very hard to see if there’s been occupation. Maybe next year…

  4. Maude Ciardi says:

    I had a tree frog in my Mandavilla Vine this summer . I have no water ponds nerarby so that was the best I could do. I wanted to bring the vine in the house and searched to make sure he didn’t come in too. So far no frog and I can hear him singing away outside. I am glad you told us about watching out for frogs in the plants.They are a green color and very hard to spot.
    Thanks for all the great frog pictures,I enjoyed them. Seems like your garden is just what they love. The perfect place.

  5. Shirley says:

    I get tree frogs in my wind chimes. I think they like the way the chimes amplify their voices. Total guess on that one.
    In 2008, I had one inside a med. chime and hurricane Ike blew through (I’m in Galveston County, TX). We came back and the garden looked like…well…it looked like a hurricane blew through. It was pretty terrible but compared to family and friends, we were really blessed and didn’t have all that much damage (comparatively, my sister’s garden had 6 feet of seawater laced with sewage sitting on top of it.)
    Somehow…the wind chime with the frog in it was still hanging from the house and the frog was still in it! I can only imagine the ride that he had while the storm was raging. Yeeee HA! Ride ’em Frogboy!

  6. Vicki J says:

    Had to giggle when I saw this post. We too seem to offer the local frogs some prime real estate. I am always finding little tree frogs peeking out of my bird houses hanging on the deck–in the banana tree and they love hiding under the chair covers. I do have a koi pond and an ornamental water garden so we seem to attract every kind of frog!

    1. Margaret says:

      If only we could get them to sign their leases and pay their rent, Vicki J. :) Yes, the garden ponds will definitely do it. I am surrounded by every manner of frog, which is not a bad thing in my view. Nice to see you.

  7. ricki says:

    We have cacaphonies of frog song, especially in the spring, but very few sightings. I envy your ability to get them on film. Photogenic little guys, aren’t they?

  8. NancyinRichmond says:

    Funny frog siting: was brushing my huge Shepard/husky mix this morning. And my hand felt this big glob on her belly….a big tree frog trapped in her hair! I took him to the sink and extricated him from the tangled mess and set him free in the garden. I can only imagine what other things this hairy dog brings into the house!

  9. Rae says:

    I enjoyed listening to the YouTube young man identifying all these different frogs. Now that I, too, live in a rural setting, I do hear all the different calls, especially because my neighbor has a man-made pond in her back yard. I didn’t realize all the different frogs make such distinctive calls. Thanks, Margaret.

  10. Arlene says:

    Hi Margaret, I read your post on frogs in your plants and was hoping to find a suggestion to keep the frogs from coming in with the houseplants which I will be bringing in next week because of predicted frost. Last February I had 3 tree frogs emerge from the plants in my sunroom (about 100+ plants of various sizes) and it was still very winter outside. Not sure what happened to them but hoped they went back into the plant soil and returned to a natural outdoor home when the plants went outside in the late spring. This summer has been ‘froggier’ than previous years and I am concerned I will be bringing in more frogs than last year. Any suggestions to get the hibernating frogs out of my plants before they come inside beside transplanting all the plants—shaking out the old soil from the roots and replanting with new soil. A major endeavor and very time consuming in the short period before the plants must come in. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  11. Jamie fellner says:

    Hi Margaret, after years of admiring your frogs and their habitat, I finally installed a frog pond this. Unfortunately it is in full sun (til grasses shrubs and trees grow taller). Does algae bother the frogs? Any suggestions for addressing?
    Many thanks, Jamie

    1. margaret says:

      Yes, Jamie. With water gardens, it’s essential to cover at least half (I cover almost all) the water surface with floating plants. More on that and other algae-prevention tips in this story.

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