Pet-Safe Plants for Indoors and Out
If you’re a gardener and also the human parent to Bella, Fluffy, and Max, this article is for you. We love our plants, but truth be told, we love our pets even more — and nothing would be more traumatizing than realizing we're growing plants that aren't safe for pets. Unfortunately, too many times, that’s exactly what happens as a result of good intentions gone wrong.
But fortunately, we’re going to help you with that! From houseplants to in-ground garden plants, here are some popular pet-safe plants that your furry friends can safely co-exist with, along with some advice about plants to avoid.
Let’s start with those indoor plants that make our homes so cozy and garden-y, shall we? Many pets, cats in particular, are mostly inside pets, so it’s crucial to understand what you can use and what you can’t. Luckily, there are tons of popular houseplants that will do your pets no harm if they decide to snack on them.
African Violet: We love these charming little plants for their cheerful flowers and easy-going ways. Give them medium light, average humidity, and remember to water from the bottom up and feed them with a balanced fertilizer.
Areca Palm: If you’re looking for a pet-safe tropical houseplant that also has air-purifying abilities, the Areca palm is for you. In addition to removing toxins from the air, it’s also humidifying (who knew?), your pets will be safe and your skin will glow. Nothing like a triple duty houseplant!
Money Tree: If the Areca palm is triple duty, then Braided Money Tree must be quadruple duty or more! Easy to grow, completely Daisy-proof, and rumored to bring good luck and prosperity to whomever grows it. Keep the soil consistently moist and well-drained, and you’re good to go.
Boston Fern: For those who love traditional houseplants, the Boston fern is a perfect choice. These old favorites love bright, indirect light and lots of humidity — maybe there’s a spot in your bathroom?
Orchid: Who doesn’t love an orchid? These drama queens brighten up any space with blooms that can last for weeks on end, and they won’t hurt Sweet Pea one bit. Avoid overwatering and give it a consistent balanced fertilizer for your orchid to thrive.
Peperomia: We haven’t forgotten you, hanging basket lovers! It’s peperomia to the rescue with their non-toxic, colorful, and textured leaves. Plus, it’ll take a bit of neglect if you’re the sort to occasionally forget to water.
- Money Plant: Looking for an Instagram-worthy, pet-safe, and low-maintenance houseplant? Get a money plant! Low growing with round, bright green leaves, all it asks for is bright, indirect light and medium water.
If your furry friend has access to the backyard garden and likes to nibble, here are some lovely plants that you can use with the utmost confidence:
Alyssum: Tiny flowers with a delicate honey scent — what’s not to love? These low growers are ideal for container plantings as well as border plants and will do well as long as they have full sun to partial shade, well-drained soil, and moderate moisture.
Canna: These tropical plants sport showy flowers in hot shades of orange, yellow, and red — and their oversized leaves add some heft to your garden as well. Most enjoy full to partial sun and moderate water, and are fairly easy-care, too.
Gloxinia: Colorful and low-growing, gloxinia offer up trumpet-shaped flowers in a variety of luscious shades, along with velvety green leaves. This one prefers partial shade and moderate water; nothing too fussy for these beauties!
Phlox: If you’re looking for a stunning cut flower that’s also pet friendly, take a peek at phlox. Tall, strong stems with mid-summer blooms in a wide range of hues from red and white to pinks and purples. Did we mention hummingbirds and butterflies love them, too? Give it full sun to partial shade along with moderate water, and you’re golden.
Crape Myrtle: Crape myrtles range from low-growing shrubs to towering trees, all with beautiful smooth bark and colorful blooms in yummy shades of red, white, pink, lavender, and salmon. Crape myrtles love full sun but will tolerate some light shade in the afternoon and are quite drought tolerant once they’re established.
- Bee Balm: How about a striking perennial that draws in the pollinators? That’s bee balm, with its fringy flowers in vibrant shades. Make sure it gets full to partial sun and moderate water, and it’ll shine in the garden as well as in a vase with other cut flowers!
TOXIC PLANTS TO AVOID
Now that you know some of the more popular plants that are great for pet people, what about plants to avoid? Some plants can cause minor illness in both cats and/or dogs, and others can actually lead to death, so we want to be absolutely certain we know what’s what. And while it is a long list (see a full list here), with knowledge comes wisdom, right? If your Gizmo or Bailey is the curious sort, you’ll want to avoid these common plants — remember, this is a partial list, so please refer to the above link to be fully informed.
- Asian Lily
- Bird of Paradise
- Chinese Evergreen
- Golden Pothos
- Elephant Ears
- English Ivy
- Rex Begonia
- Sago palm
- Katie Elzer-Peters