Pets & plants.
Two of everyone's favorite things. Unfortunately, they don't always go together very well. Even the most well-behaved fur babies are bound to get a little curious sometimes and take a nibble out of a plant (or two or three). What most people don't realize, though, is that the majority of common houseplants are not safe to grow around pets. Beyond just causing an upset tummy, some of the plants in your house may be incredibly dangerous when ingested, causing symptoms like seizures, difficulty breathing, heart failure, and more.
But don't let this scare you away from continuing to grow your plant collection! We've compiled a list of our top 10 houseplants that are totally safe to grow around your pets (and an additional list of our top houseplants to avoid as a pet owner). While eating too much vegetation will almost certainly cause an upset stomach in any pet, the plants on this list won't cause any severe symptoms.
If you're considering purchasing a plant and don't see it on this list, the ASPCA has a comprehensive database of plants and their effects on common pets!
Read on so you can learn how to keep your pet safe while continuing to nurture your green thumb!
If your pet has ingested a plant that you think may be toxic, contact your emergency veterinarian or the ASPCA animal poison control hotline at (888) 426-4435.
One of our all-time favorite plants, Calathea (and the majority of Prayer Plants) are non-toxic to both dogs and cats! These gorgeous plants come in tons of shapes, sizes and colors. They're low-light tolerant but they need a decent amount of moisture and humidity to keep them healthy, so be sure to keep that in mind if you're considering bringing one into your home.
Echeveria (and many other succulents including Haworthia and Opuntia) are pet friendly! With so many varieties available, these are a wonderful option for an indoor garden bed. They're also a great option for beginner plant people, as most of them are relatively low-maintenance! Just provide plenty of sunlight and allow them to dry out quite a bit before watering.
*Though there are many non-toxic succulents, there are some species that are toxic, so be sure to research the specific type you're interested in before bringing it home.
3. Areca Palm
4. Chlorophytum (Spider Plant)
The Spider Plant has been a popular houseplant for decades, and we understand why! These beautiful trailing plants are pet friendly, low-maintenance and excellent for sharing with friends. Just provide bright indirect light and water when the top couple inches of soil are dry. As the plant matures, it will produce plantlets that can be pruned, rooted and grown into their own plant!
5. Bird's Nest Ferns
When it comes to houseplants, there is no plant quite as classic as a fern. Luckily, many true ferns are pet friendly! (It's important to use caution, however, as some plants with the word "fern" in their name are not truly ferns and are not pet friendly; the Asparagus Fern is one example.) Bird's Nest, Boston and Maidenhair Ferns are all safe options for pet owners.
In terms of care, Ferns require plenty of bright-indirect light and consistent watering to remain healthy. Oftentimes they also require some extra humidity to keep their leaves from drying out, especially in the dryer winter months.
6. Peperomia Obtusifolia
Peperomia Obtusifolia (or Baby Rubber Plant) is a wonderful option for beginners and pet-parents alike! These plants have thick, waxy leaves that retain water and allow for longer periods between watering. In terms of light, they'll do well with indirect light and can tolerate lower light, though variegated varieties may require more light to retain their white color.
7. Ponytail Palm
If you're looking for a plant that's both eye-catching and incredibly low maintenance, the Ponytail Palm is for you! More closely related to agave than palms, the Ponytail Palm grows from a thick trunk that retains water for long periods of time (which means less work for you!) Allow them to dry out for a couple of weeks in between watering and provide bright-indirect light to keep your plant happy and healthy.
8. Pilea Peperomioides
Everyone's favorite plant for sharing with friends, the Chinese money plant is both pet friendly and adorable! With petite round leaves, long stems and frequent offshoots, this Pilea is a true gem among common houseplants. To keep your Pilea healthy, provide medium- to bright-indirect light and allow the top inch of soil to dry before watering. Keep an eye out for droopy leaves, as that's a common sign that your plant needs more water.
9. Air Plants
One of the most common things we hear from our pet-owning customers is that their fur babies love digging and burying toys in their potting soil. If you'd prefer to avoid soil altogether, then air plants are for you! All tillandsia are perfectly safe for pets, and they're very easy to care for - just soak them in water once a week for thirty minutes, and then allow them to dry overnight on a towel (we prefer to dry outs upside-down so the water drains away from the base.) Provide medium- to bright-indirect light and your air plant will be happy for years to come!
10. Moss Balls
No pet-friendly list would be complete if we didn't mention our favorite quirky friends, moss balls! These little aquatic plants are exactly what they sound like - balls of moss that grow slowly over time. They require no sunlight (and should be kept out of full sun) and only require fresh water every couple of weeks. It's unlikely that your pet would every have a chance to take a bite out of your moss ball, since they're kept in a lidded jar! If they did, though, you can rest easy; moss balls are totally pet friendly, and many people even use them as a decoration in aquariums!
Top common plants to avoid as a pet owner:
- ZZ Plant
- Snake Plant
- Sago Palm
- Aloe Vera
- Asparagus Fern
Though it may seem overwhelming at first, pets & plants can coexist peacefully and safely (with just a little research!) You can easily create a gorgeous indoor jungle consisting of only pet-friendly plants.
If you're reading this and realizing that you have a home full of toxic plants, don't panic! Assess your space: is there anywhere you can place your plants that your pets can't reach? Many pet owners have success with hanging their plants from a plant hanger or placing them on a high shelf. If you can't find a good space, or if you have a fur baby who loves to climb, consider investing in a small greenhouse! We've seen lots of plant collectors have luck with a converted Ikea cabinet.
Do you have both plants and pets? Drop a comment below and let us know your favorite tricks for keeping them both happy and healthy!