20 Houseplants Safe For Pets [And 20 Plants Toxic For Pets]

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Why are your pets so interested in eating plants?

There are many different reasons why your cat or dog might try and nibble on your houseplants. A few common reasons are boredom, nutrient deficiency, upset stomach or possibly they think plants are toys.

If there is anything we know about cats, it’s that they are curious, so if you bring a new plant into the house, chances are very high they will thoroughly investigate it. But not all plants love your pets back. In fact, some are downright dangerous.

Want to bring some life into your home without the added vet bill? Here are 20 houseplants that are safe for cats and dogs.

Houseplants Safe for Cats and Dogs

Plants provide a lot of benefits. They can make a space more inviting, help purify the air and they can even make us and our animals happier. But since most of us consider our pets as family members it’s important to pick out houseplants that are safe for our cats and dogs.

1. Saintpaulia (African Violet)

Saintpaulia’s (African violets) are a great plant to brighten up any space with a pop of color. They are also pretty easy to care for, considering they can fully bloom without a ton of light.

You and your furry family can enjoy these plants year-round. Saintpaulia responds the best to soil-free potting mix and moderate temperatures, making them the perfect indoor plant.

2. Schlumbergera (Christmas Cactus)

A favorite among the ChatterSource team, the Christmas Cactus is native to Brazil and safe for all humans and pets. It blooms bright and beautiful flowers in the middle of the winter that can come in red, orange, pink or purple.

As long as the plant gets water and sunlight on a regular basis, especially during the spring and summer, it will survive all year long. Plus, if you have a successful Schlumbergera once you propagate them, you can spread them throughout your house for you and your fur babies to enjoy.

Learn more about caring for your Christmas Cactus and even learn how to root a new Christmas Cactus in water or soil here.


3. Chlorophytum (Spider Plant)

You might recognize this plant from your Grandma’s house. Chlorophytum are often called many different names like spider plants, airplane plants or ribbon plants.

If you aren’t a plant whisperer, this might be the plant for you since they require very little attention and won’t die right away if you forget to water them.

As you can see from the picture above, your cat (or dog) might try and nibble on your Chlorophytum plant.  While you probably don’t want them eating the entire plant, a few bites won’t hurt since they are non-toxic.

4. Nephrolepis exaltata (Boston Fern)

Out of all the plants on this list, your cats will most likely mess with this one the most. Can you blame them? Nephrolepis exaltata (Boston Fern) is the perfect plant for your cat to smack around a little bit.

These plants thrive in humidity. If you don’t live in a humid climate, this is a great plant to spice up your bathroom. It will soak up all the steam from the shower and truly live its best plant life.

If you are worried about your animals messing with this beauty, these plants also thrive in hanging baskets.

5. Sinningia speciosa (Gloxinia)

You may have given your mother, grandmother or another significant female in your life a Sinningia speciosa (Gloxinia) plant for Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. They have very pretty petals making them popular gifts.

These plants make a perfect photo opportunity for your cat to model next to these pretty flowers.

Sinningia speciosa do need to be watered frequently and need a decent amount of sun to keep their beautiful color.

6. Dypsis lutescens (Areca Palm)

Similarly to the Nephrolepis exaltata, you will probably find your cat messing with a Dypsis lutescens (Areca Palm). With the drooping nature of the palms, they are very tempting for playful kitties.

Dypsis Lutescens is a nice touch to any space for two reasons. One, they live for a long time if you take good care of this plant (it can last you ten years). Second, they  grow very quickly. Again, if you take care of them, they can grow into a indoor tree.

7. Pilea involucrata (Friendship Plant)

The Pilea involucrata is also commonly referred to as the Friendship plant. Just like the Christmas Cactus, this plant is very easy to propagate, making it great to share with your friends!

This plant prospers in humid environments and is quite fragile. This would be a great plant to put in a terrarium or out of the reach from furry friends so they don’t mess with it. They also need indirect light, which makes them a better indoor plant.

8. Bromeliaceae (Bromeliad)

The Bromeliaceae (Bromeliad) is another bright and beautiful plant to bring energy into your space.

These plants are very easy to keep alive, need lots of light and a bit of humidity. One of the great things about these pet-friendly plants is they can survive without soil. These are great to keep around the house and not worry about your cats digging in the soil and making a mess.

9. Gynura aurantiaca (Royal Velvet Plant)

The Gynura aurantiaca (Royal Velvet Plant) looks like it belongs in the ’60s. These bright colored plants are not only mesmerizing with their vibrant colors, but the leaves are velvety.

If the look and feel of these plants catch your eye, you better believe they will also catch your cat or dog’s eyes.

These plants are super easy to maintain. They don’t need a ton of water; only a little bit when they start to dry up.

10. Orchidaceae (Orchid)

Orchidaceae’s (Orchid) are beautifully diverse with their coloring and petal shape. The simplistic yet delicate nature of these plants make them extremely appealing.

Not only do they make the perfect backdrop for a photoshoot with your cat, but they are very easy to care for because they do not need a ton of light and help purify the air.

11. Hypoestes phyllostachya (Polka Dot Plant)

Another psychedelic looking plant that is safe for a pet-filled house is Hypoestes phyllostachya (Polka Dot Plant).

These are non-toxic, but if your pet eats too much of them, they will most likely get an upset stomach.

These freckle face plants can grow anywhere, but prefer low lighting, making them a great addition to the atrium or bathroom decor.

12. Soleirolia soleirolii (Baby’s Tears)

The plant that looks like a lush carpet, known as Soleirolia soleirolii (Baby’s Tears), is safe for pets and super easy to grow.

When in bloom little white flowers will pop up, giving it even more dimension. These plants thrive in terrariums, hanging planters or in a planter on the window sill.

13. Maranta leuconeura (Prayer Plant)

The Maranta leuconeura is often referred to as the prayer plant because the leaves fold and look like hands praying during the nighttime.

These plants purify the air and grow pretty easily. They are great to fill an empty space due to their size and low maintenance. You will want to make sure to put this in a place that gets a lot of sun. There’s a good chance you will find your cat sunbathing next to this beautiful plant.

14. Aspidistra elatior (Cast-iron Plant)

The reason the Aspidistra elatior is often called a cast-iron plant? It’s sturdy and reliable.

These plants are very low maintenance, requiring low water, low light and can survive in a variety of temperatures. Basically, this plant can withstand anything!

Some of them have speckled leaves, while others are bright or dark green. Make sure you have plenty of room for this plant, as they can grow up to 3 feet tall.

15. Peperomia spp. (Radiator Plant)

The Peperomia spp. (Radiator Plant) is a forgiving plant and is perfectly safe for pets. Plus, they are easy to maintain.

With over 1,000 species, this plant comes in red, green, gray or purple and can grow up to 12 inches tall in full sun exposure with minimal shade.

Many plant parents use a hanging pot or basket for their Peperomias and keep them in a well-light room.

Related: How To Grow Your Own Coffee Plant [From Seed or Seedling]

16.  Musa (Banana, Plantain Tree)

If you’ve got a lot of space in your apartment or house to fill, this tree (which isn’t actually a tree and is the world’s largest herb) is easy to maintain. While most Banana Plant Trees are too large for a home, if you go with the Dwarf Musa Banana (or Dwarf Cavendish), it will only reach a maximum height of 6 feet tall.

This plant needs a humid, warm and sunny environment with a massive amount of water. Since the leaves grow quickly, they are weak and susceptible to damage, so the plant will need to be nurtured and maintained so it can grow healthily.

17. Beaucarnea recurvata (Ponytail Palm)

A member of the Asparagaceae family (yes, that includes the edible asparagus), this plant will look great on your work-from-home desk and can add a whole new level of enjoyment to your workday as you watch your cat play with the plant’s leaves.

The plant requires a full view of the sun, a little sand and soil plus a pot that can easily drain water.

Ponytail Palms thrive best in drier climates. And don’t be alarmed if your plant looks stagnant. It can take a full year for a foot-tall Ponytail Palm to double in size.

18. Hemigraphis alternata (Purple Waffle Plant)

The Purple Waffle Plant grows in all seasons, is a great air purifier and requires bright lights to maintain its beautiful purple tint. However, if the light is directly on the plant, you’ll notice that the purple will begin to fade and bleach the plant.

Consistent watering and a warm environment will help the Purple Waffle Plant grow to its maximum height of 6 inches tall.

Related: 13 Reasons Why You Should Have An Air Purifier For Your Home 

19. Dionaea muscipula (Venus Fly Trap)

As menacing as these plants look, they are totally safe for you and your animals. Your pets may get frightened if they try and mess with this plant, but it has no toxins that can harm them.

These carnivorous plants thrive with distilled water, lots of light and consistently damp soil.

When healthy, a Venus Fly Trap can grow up to 8 “traps” that will keep your space clear of any flies or other small insects. You can think of them as adding another pet to your ever-growing plant and animal family.

20. Haworthiopsis attenuata (Zebra Haworthia)

This striped succulent is the most common household plant in the Haworthiopsis species and is safe for all your pets. It’s a great substitute for Aloe vera, since that plant can be toxic for your pets. These plants only need a little water on a weekly basis and prefer bright sunlight in a well ventilated area.

Related: 9 Pet-Friendly Weed Killers For Lawns [Happy Lawn, Safe Pet]

Houseplants UNsafe for Cats and Dogs

Now that you are familiar with the plants that are safe for your pets, it’s important to be aware of plants that are toxic for your furry friends.

While many of the plants on the lists below are beautiful, they can be very harmful to your animals. It’s important to be mindful of which ones can cause serious harm or issues.

Just like humans, pets have different reactions and irritations to plants. However, it’s safe to say that you should probably avoid decorating your house with toxic plants.

Slightly Toxic

Slightly toxic plants are ones that your cat or dog might have a reaction to if they ingest too much of the plant. If they consume too much, they could vomit, have diarrhea or potentially experience skin irritation.

Slightly Toxic Plants: 

  • Ficus lyrate (Fiddle Leaf Fig)
  • Zantedeschia aethiopica (Calla Lily) 
  • Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen) 
  • Dieffenbachia spp. (Dumbcane)
  • Epipremnum aureum (Devil’s Ivy)
  • Ficus benjamina (Weeping Fig)

Medium Toxic

Plants with medium toxicity will cause diarrhea and vomiting. It could also cause a lack of coordination, drooling, muscle tremors, high heart-rate and more.

Medium Toxic Plants: 

  • Dracaena spp. (Corn Plant)
  • Sansevieria trifasciata (Snake Plant)
  • Chrysanthemum (Mum)
  • Aloe barbadensis miller (Aloe vera)
  • Euphorbia pulcherrima (Poinsettia)
  • Monstera deliciosa (Swiss Cheese Plant)
  • Asparagus aethiopicus (Asparagus Fern)
  • Hedera helix (English Ivy)
  • Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily)

Very Toxic

It is safe to say you should not have any of these plants in your house if you have pets. Very toxic plants cause the same reactions as slightly and medium toxic plants, and in some cases, can result in death.

Very Toxic Plants: 

  • Lilium longiflorum (Easter Lily)
  • Cycas revoluta (Sago Palm)
  • Nerium oleander (Oleander) 
  • Ricinus communis (African Wonder Tree)
  • Crassula ovata (Jade Plant)
  • Dieffenbachias (Dumb Canes)

While plants provide a wonderful aesthetic to your space, it is important to understand what plants might be toxic to your animals.

There are plenty of plants you can surround yourself with that are safe for your cat and dog. If you want to bring a new plant into your house, it is best to check to see if it is safe for your animals first.


You might also be interested in: The 16 Best Animals To Follow On Instagram [That You Need To Follow RIGHT NOW]

20 Houseplants Safe For Pets: 

  1. Saintpaulia (African Violet)
  2. Schlumbergera (Christmas Cactus)
  3. Chlorophytum (Spider Plant)
  4. Nephrolepis exaltata (Boston Fern)
  5. Sinningia speciosa (Gloxinia)
  6. Dypsis lutescens (Areca Palm)
  7. Pilea involucrata (Friendship Plant)
  8. Bromeliaceae (Bromeliad)
  9. Gynura aurantiaca (Royal Velvet Plant)
  10. Orchidaceae (Orchid)
  11. Hypoestes phyllostachya (Polka Dot Plant)
  12. Soleirolia soleirolii (Baby’s Tears)
  13. Maranta leuconeura (Prayer Plant)
  14. Aspidistra elatior (Cast-iron Plant)
  15. Peperomia spp. (Radiator Plant)
  16. Musa (Banana, Plantain Tree)
  17. Beaucarnea recurvata (Ponytail Palm)
  18. Hemigraphis alternata (Purple Waffle Plant)
  19. Dionaea muscipula (Venus Fly Trap)
  20. Haworthiopsis attenuata (Zebra Haworthia)

Christine Devereaux Evangelista

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