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.
Here are 14 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. They can help purify the air. 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 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)
Another great option to add a pop of color is a Schlumbergera (Christmas Cactus). These plants tend to bloom around Thanksgiving or Christmas, which is right about the time you could use a color pick me up, depending on where you live.
My mom has had one of these for years and it seems like the ultimate gift that keeps on giving. Every season it flourishes with flowers and feels like a brand new plant! These also don’t require too much light and are very easy to propagate.
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.
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! 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) are beautiful.
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 next to pretty flowers.
Sinningia speciosa do need to be watered frequently and need the 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 will last you ten years! They also grow very quickly and again, if you take care of them, they can grow into a good size 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 up out of the way so your cats and dogs 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-fille 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 at night the leaves fold and look like hands praying.
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)
There’s a 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 room for this plant because they can grow up to 3 feet tall.
Houseplants UNSAFE for Cats and Dogs
Now that you are familiar with the plants that are safe for your pets, it’s important to share plants that are toxic.
While a lot of the plants below are beautiful they can be very harmful to your animals and it’s important to be mindful of which ones can cause issues.
Just like humans, pets have different reactions, but it’s safe to say you probably want to avoid decorating your house with toxic plants.
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 eat too much they could vomit or have diarrhea and potentially a 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)
Plants with medium toxicity will cause vomiting, diarrhea and could cause a lack of coordination, drooling, muscle tremors, high heart-rate and more.
Medium Toxic Plants:
- Dracaena spp (Corn Plant)
- Crassula ovata (Jade Plant)
- Chrysanthemum spp (Daisy, Mum)
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)
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.
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