If you have a cat, dog, or other indoor pet, you know the struggle of monitoring their possibly mischievous antics. One of these antics might be taking nibbles of things that weren’t necessarily meant to be eaten - including your beloved plants. Because of this, unlike non-pet owners, those who have a furry friend may find themselves needing to consider the toxicity of plants when picking which ones to add to their home. Some plant leaves and stems contain toxins that can lead to irritation, digestive issues, vomiting, loss of coordination, among other things. Luckily, however, there are a number of plants that are not toxic to pets, and your pet nibbling on the leaves is more likely to hurt the plant than your beloved furry friend.
Before we dig into my top recommendations for the best plants for pet owners, I wanted to mention a couple other things you can do to introduce toxic plants into your space even if you have a curious pet. The first is floating shelves. Find a spot on a wall where you can place a floating shelf that will keep plants out of reach of your pets. Second is to utilize plant hangers. Placing a plant in a hanger can be a good way to add greenery without the risk of it getting eaten. With both of these options, if you have cats, you may still need to be aware of surrounding furniture so your cat(s) aren’t able to jump up to the plants by bounding off a nearby shelf, couch, or TV stand.
Okay, without further ado, here are my top plant recommendations for folks who want to be good pet AND plant parents:
Peperomia plants are one of my favorite plants for a variety of reasons, but a major one is that it is a great non-toxic option for pet lovers. Peperomia plants come in a large variety of different sizes, colors, and leaf patterns. They do well in bright, indirect light, so they will prefer to be pulled back a bit from a bright window. I appreciate that peperomias are generally forgiving when it comes to watering. They like to mostly dry out between waterings, but if you go a day or two too long, they will usually perk back up without too much fuss.
Also called zebra plants, these fun succulents are a great option for pet parents. Haworthias are a variety of succulent, but one of the things I love most about them is that they don’t necessarily have to be in bright, direct light to survive. They are one of the few succulent varieties that will grow in a bright, indirect light. So, you get the benefit of a succulent, in that they don’t need to be watered often, as well as the benefit of being able to place them in more creative spaces around your home.
Both of these fern varieties are non-toxic to pets. Their unique leaf shapes make them a great option for any plant lover looking to give their home more jungle vibes. Since they are ferns, both of these plants will benefit from a bright, indirect light and a high humidity environment. Both of these factors make them great bathroom plants.
Although I have never personally owned this plant, I have heard amazing things about them. Not only do they have a beautiful leaf color, they are known to be easy to care for - thus the name cast iron plant. These plants can handle indirect and low light conditions and like to dry out between waterings. You can also find them in larger sizes, so if you are looking for a plant to place in a corner or fill a gap, this might be a great option.
Spider plants are one of the most common and beginner friendly houseplants. When people ask me about caring for a spider plant I usually say they are one of the most classic in the fact that they like a bright, indirect light and usually thrive on regular once a week waterings. Put it by a window, water it when the top couple inches of soil is dry and it will be happy. They are also super fun to propagate. Although these plants are nontoxic to pets, you may find that your cat enjoys playing with and nibbling at the delicate leaves. Spider plants actually contain a mild hallucinogenic that may attract your cats, so be aware of this if you decide to purchase one.
These classic little palms can be a fun and safe addition to a pet friendly home. Their delicate leaves will add a fun texture to your plant collection and they are known as a generally easy care plant. The one thing to watch out for would be crispy leaves which can mean not enough water or too low of humidity.
If you are a seasoned plant owner and are up for a slight challenge, calatheas are a fun pet friendly option. These delicate plants, although stunning, are known to be prone to pests and picky about watering. With that being said, some people have great luck with these plants and really benefit from the beautiful colors and patterns they add to a plant collection.
So there you go. There are a few of my top non-toxic plant picks. I hope it inspires you to add a few more pet friendly plants to your collection.
If you are looking for more information about plant toxicity I would recommend checking out the ASPCA website. They have a lot of great information about plant toxicity and pets (https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants).