Pet Safe Plants: What Makes a Plant Pet-Safe?
- Major toxicity plants can cause serious illness or death if ingested.
- Minor toxicity plants can cause minor illnesses, such as vomiting or diarrhea, if ingested.
- Oxalate refers to the juice or sap of plants containing oxalate crystals that can cause skin irritation and other ailments if ingested.
- Dermatitis refers to plants that can cause rashes or skin irritation if touched.
Pet-Safe Houseplants For Cats and Dogs
Nontoxic Flowering HouseplantsFlowering houseplants can be a lesson in patience. Some of them bloom slowly and others only once in their lifespan. No matter when they blossom, embrace their pops of color and, in the case of the following, the fact they’re pet-friendly.
2. Lace Flower VineLace Flower Vines (Alsobia dianthiflora) are cascading houseplants that can produce zany flowers with tentacle-like petals. They’re also called Chocolate Soldiers.
3. African Violet
4.HoyaAlso called Wax Plants, Hoyas (Hoya carnosa) are comparable to succulents for their waxy flesh, but they also can flower. When they do, give the blooms a sniff to smell their characteristically sweet scent.
6. Lipstick PlantLipstick Plants (Aeschynanthus humilis) are standouts for their red tubular buds with whimsical tendrils. Put them up high or in a hanging planter to give them room to grow — up to three feet long!
Flowing, Climbing, and Cascading Pet-Safe HouseplantsSome houseplants simply overflow with greenery, donning vines that flow, climb, and cascade out of their planters. They’re fun, and they may even tempt your furbabies. The following houseplants are harmless in the event Fido or felines bat them around.
8. Boston Fern
9. Swedish IvySometimes called Creeping Charlie, Swedish Ivy (Plectranthus verticillatus) almost resembles a mint plant but with waxy leaves. When it matures, put it in a hanging planter and let the vines prosper.
10. Spider Plant
11. Aluminum PlantThe Aluminum Plant’s (Pilea cadierei) nickname is spot-on: Watermelon Plant. That’s because this pet-safe plant has leaves that resemble, yep, a watermelon. While we don’t advise you taste them, rest easy knowing your cats or dogs will be OK if they’re tempted.
12. Baby Tears
13. Staghorn FernWhether you mount your plant on a wall or plop it in a hanging planter, Staghorn Ferns (Platycerium) bring a touch of the tropics to any room — just make sure it’s not a dark room! This pet-safe plant prefers bright, indirect light.
Foliage Houseplants That are Safe for PetsFoliage houseplants are the epitome of an organic decoration. Admire their leaves that come in many shades, patterns, and shapes, and rest easy knowing these ones specifically are pet-safe.
14. Royal Velvet Plant
15. Prayer PlantThe leaves of a Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura) can look much like a drawing, with some bearing pink veins and others brush strokes of different shades of green. How did it get its name? The leaves actually fold together, as though they’re in prayer, at night.
17. Bird’s Nest FernA Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus) is quirky indeed, with its leaves having zigzagged edges. Fun design and fine for Fido? This pet-safe houseplant has our approval.
18. Chinese Money Plant
19. Mosaic PlantAlso called a Nerve Plant, the Mosaic Plant (Fittonia albivenis) has earned its name thanks to the intricate veining on its leaves. This pet-safe plant is an ornamental plant indeed.
20. Banana Tree
21. Friendship PlantA Friendship Plant (Pilea involucrata) packs a visual punch in the wrinkling of its leaves that cast interesting patterns. This pet-friendly plant occasionally even flowers.
22. Purple Waffle Plant
Other Pet-Friendly HouseplantsYou might be surprised to find a list of pet-safe houseplants that can go on and on. Here, we’re sharing a few more surprising houseplants — trees, palms, and even Venus Fly Traps — that are pet-safe.
23. Venus Fly Trap
24. Air Plant(s)No dirt for your cats and dogs to dig up here. Air Plants (Tillandsia) require just a little air, water, and if you’re so inclined, perhaps a cute container.
26. Money TreeAs the name alludes, a Money Tree (Pachira aquatica) supposedly brings wealth to its owner. While we can’t confirm if this is true, we can admit we love it as a natural air purifier — and our animals do, too.
27. Areca Palm
28. Parlor PalmParlor Palms (Chamaedorea elegans) are houseplants that can start small and can grow pretty tall — up to eight feet! Put it in indirect light for best results.
29. Ponytail Palm
Pet-Safe Plants for Your Garden
- 30. Basil
- 31. Rosemary
- 32. Dill
- 33. Thyme
- 34. Sage
- 35. Cilantro
- 36. Savory
Nontoxic SucculentsSucculents are beloved for how their fleshy leaves embrace the elements, eating up the sun’s rays and retaining water. Not all, but some — like the following — also happen to be pet-safe.
37. EcheveriaEcheveria (Echeveria elegans) can come in many nontoxic varieties, including Hens, Chicks, and Debbie, and also many colors, shapes, and sizes. Some even sprout flowers.
38. Burros Tail
39. Christmas CactusDon’t let the name or holidays fool you. A Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera), which can also come in varieties like a Thanksgiving Cactus or Easter Cactus, is in fact a succulent. And they bloom around the holiday in their name.
Pet-Friendly Flowering Plants for Your GardenWhile some flowering plants might contain harmful toxins in their petals, leaves, and pollen, these nontoxic plants are pet-safe and can brighten up even the dullest of gardens.
41. Honeysuckle FuchsiaHoneysuckle Fuchsia (Fuchsia triphylla) sprouts tubular blooms. They can make for great hanging plants and even hedges, if you guide them.
42. Magnolia Bushes
43. SnapdragonsSnapdragons (Antirrhinum) are a head-turner in any garden for good reason. Their poles of petals can come in a variety of bright colors, from yellow to pink to red and white.
45. PetuniasPetunias (Petunia × atkinsiana) are overflowing with flower power. Plop them in a barrel, oversized planter, or even elevate them in a hanging planter and watch them prosper.
46. Coral Bells
Other Pet-Safe Outdoor PlantsConsider these pet-friendly plants for added design appeal to your garden and maybe even a little nontoxic distraction for your pets.
47. Cast Iron PlantCast Iron Plants (Aspidistra elatior) can withstand the elements, hence its name alluding it’s as sturdy as a cast iron. Put them in that shadier spot your other outdoor plants don’t prefer.
48. Cat Grass
49. BambooBamboo (Bambusoideae) isn’t a bad bet for pet owners and garden enthusiasts. It’s nearly indestructible from pets and pests and makes for an interesting and natural barrier.
50. Polka Dot Plant
Reasons to Pair Your Love of Pets and Plants
More exercise opportunitiesWhether it’s daily walks to the dog park or playing fetch, dog owners know that the responsibility of caring for a pet means more opportunity to exercise. And gardening is another form of that, too, with the CDC recognizing it as such and estimating that just 30 minutes of gardening can burn up to 165 calories. Breaking a sweat aside, over 80% of people have also considered gardening having a better positive affect on their mental health than attending a gym.
Rejuvenated sense of purposeWhen someone or something depends on you to give them TLC, that provides us with a sense of purpose. Pets and plant babies need us for survival. And the beauty of that relationship is that pet-owners and green-thumbed enthusiasts reap the benefits in the form of increased self-esteem in addition to that sense of purpose.
Reduced stress and anxietyService animals are a testament to how animals can reduce our stress and anxiety, and it’s been reported many times over that plants and gardening can reduce our stress levels, too. But did you know dirt has antidepressant properties? The mere act of getting your nails — or possibly claws — dirty exposes us to a healthy bacteria called M. vaccae that lives in soil and has proven to increase levels of serotonin, which can reduce anxiety.
Boost your mood times twoAll of these points considered, caring for pets and plants plain out makes people happy. Combine both types of caretaking and it can be argued that you’re doubling down on a mood boost.
What to Do if Your Pet Eats a Poisonous PlantDespite how much we work like a dog to keep our pets safe, sometimes they still manage to eat poisonous plants. If you believe your furbaby ingested a poisonous plant, call for help immediately from either the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661. Gnawed leaves or missing flowers aside, some common signs your pet might have ingested or been in contact with a poisonous plant include:
- Diarrhea and upset stomach
- Loss of appetite
- Abnormal behavior
- Excessive thirst or urination
- ASPCA Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant Lists — Dogs
- ASPCA Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant Lists — Cats
- Humane Society’s “Plants Potentially Poisonous to Pets” list
- Pet Poison Helpline Poison List