Something that isn’t always talked about enough is how some houseplants are toxic to pets. Some people only find this out when the worst happens, when their pet takes a nibble of something harmful.
You may be tempted to buy all sorts of houseplants that are toxic if ingested, keeping them to rooms your pets are banned from.
This is a good strategy, as long as you’re absolutely positive that there is no chance in hell your pets can ever reach them.
Choose the right plants from the start, and this will be one less worry on your mind. There are many pet-safe plants you can grow in your home, and this is a snapshot of the most popular, along with some of the most unusual to intrigue and inspire you on finding your latest plant.
Let’s take a look.
Safe Houseplants For Homes With Cats And Dogs
There is a small disclaimer for the plants on this list: most plants will still cause an upset stomach, vomiting, or other problems when ingested, but those that are classed as non-toxic mean that these issues are unlikely to turn into life-threatening situations without existing complications.
If you’re ever unsure about the dangers of a houseplant or its toxicity, refer to the ASPCA website, or call your vet. Only use very trustworthy, official sources for this, as there is always misinformation on the internet.
If your pet has eaten a plant you’re not familiar with, take your pet (and a sample of the plant) with you to the vet to be sure.
Araucaria heterophylla ‘Norfolk Island Pine’
Now normally you would grow a pine tree outdoors, but in the right conditions, it makes a striking and unusual houseplant.
You may also recognize it as a ‘houseplant Christmas tree’, often sold during the holiday season.
It is a slow-growing plant (which can be a blessing for those who are short on space), but it will get larger over time.
Aspidistra elatior ‘Cast Iron Plant’
While this isn’t the most well-known houseplant on this list, it absolutely should be.
Aspidistra elatior has the common name ‘Cast Iron’ as it is famous for surviving very difficult growing conditions indoors, such as very little light, forgetful watering, and other horrors.
It’s a great choice for those just starting out on their houseplant journey, as well as more experienced houseplant enthusiasts. You can also get variegated forms, too.
Beaucarnea recurvata ‘Ponytail Palm’
A sun-worshiping succulent, the ponytail palm (see also How To Repot The Ponytail Palm) makes a statement in any room with its very long, narrow leaves, and thick trunk, and as a bonus, it’s not a difficult plant to keep.
All calatheas are safe plants for pets. You may also know them under their reclassified genus Goeppertia, but the majority of places still sell these gorgeous plants under their previous name and genus, Calathea.
‘Freddie’ is a particularly beautiful variety, with its leaves in two different shades of green, and distinctive patterns on the foliage.
Calathea makoyana ‘Peacock Plant’
Also known as the peacock plant, this is one of the most popular calatheas you can get (See also Calathea Species You Should Grow At Least Once).
Not only is it stunningly beautiful with its peacock-like markings on the leaves, but it’s also a little easier to care for than other forms.
It’s an elaborate beauty, meaning that you don’t have to compromise on more ‘bog-standard’ houseplants to keep your pets safe.
Calathea ornata ‘Pinstripe’
Featuring deep green leaves and distinctive pink pinstripes, this will make a gorgeous addition to any room, and you won’t have to worry about this plant endangering your pets, as it is pet-safe.
Chamaedorea elegans ‘Parlor Palm’
One of the easiest ways to soften any room is to put a parlor palm in it, as it adds a great amount of greenery, staying compact, without being demanding (see also How To Grow The Parlor Palm).
It’s one of the easiest-going palms you can get, and it will tolerate pretty much any growing conditions in your home, but don’t let this plant dry out completely.
Chlorophytum spp. ‘Spider Plant’
Spider plants are another option that’s very easy to grow, even if you consider yourself someone with a black thumb.
When the plant produces plantlets that look like little spiders, draping from the mother plant, it can attract your pets’ interest, but the good news is that they aren’t considered toxic (see also Why Do Cats Like Spider Plants?).
So even if your pet pulls off a plantlet or takes a nibble off one of the leaves, this will not be a disaster (medically speaking!)
Cryptanthus Bromeliad ‘Earth Star’
Most bromeliads are epiphytes, which can make them tricky if you’ve only grown terrestrial plants before.
Those from the Cryptanthus species, however, are all terrestrial (see also Cryptanthus Bromeliad Guide), so they are a little easier to care for.
It helps that these plants will stop anyone in their tracks, appearing in various shades of pink and green.
Davallia spp. ‘Rabbit’s Foot Fern’
You might assume that the name of this particular fern comes from the shape of the leaves, and then wonder who on earth saw a resemblance.
The common name doesn’t refer to the appearance of the leaves, but to the rhizomes that the plant produces, which can tumble over the sides of the pot.
These rhizomes have a furry appearance! While they may attract some attention from cats and dogs, this fern is considered safe to have in homes with pets and children.
It also helps that this fern is easier to care for than others, but you will still need to be careful that it doesn’t become bone dry.
Dionaea muscipula ‘Venus Fly Trap’
Endemic to areas of North and South Carolina, the Venus fly trap is one of the most interesting plants you can have.
Surprisingly, it’s also considered a pet-safe plant, though you will still probably want to keep it out of reach!
It’s worth noting that these plants need very humid conditions, and you can even sit them in a tray of water.
However, it’s worth knowing before you buy that Venus fly traps absolutely need rainwater or distilled water rather than what comes out of your tap, as the chemicals tend to be too much for these plants.
Dypsis lutescens ‘Areca Palm’
For a larger palm to soften any room, the Areca palm is a good choice.
Like most indoor palms, it’s worth making sure that the humidity is a little higher, and this will not only help keep your palm happy but will also deter spider mites.
If you prefer your houseplants to be low-maintenance, succulents such as the Echeveria species are a great choice.
However, you will need a very sunny windowsill to keep these plants happy, as they need the brightest light possible indoors.
Some varieties are incredibly easy to propagate and will live for ten years or more under the right care.
Epiphyllum Anguliger ‘Fishbone Cactus’
Hailing from the rainforests of Mexico, the fishbone cactus is grown as a houseplant across the world for its beautiful, trailing stems that look like fish bones (see also How To Care For The Fishbone Cactus).
An evergreen shrub that looks lovely outdoors, Fatsia japonica really comes into its own when grown as a houseplant.
It’s not difficult to grow, and it will flower in the fall, fruiting in spring (though this is unlikely to happen indoors). It will tolerate most growing conditions, making it perfect for those who haven’t had a lot of luck with fussier plants.
Haworthia fasciata ‘Zebra Haworthia’
While considered safe for households with pets, it’s worth keeping any Haworthia out of reach, as it can attract curious paws!
If you can, give haworthia plants a windowsill with direct sunlight, where you’ll see the absolute best out of these gorgeous plants.
They aren’t tricky to care for as long as you can give them as much light as possible, and ensure that the compost dries out completely between watering.
Hoya australis ‘Wax Plant’
Hoya plants are fabulous for hanging pots indoors. They are fairly low maintenance too, as you can allow most of the soil to dry out in between watering.
Give them the right conditions and these gorgeous plants will eventually flower, producing the most amazing and fragrant blooms.
Hoya carnosa compacta ‘Hindu Rope Plant’
Maybe you’ve grown hoya plants before, and you’re looking for something different. The Hindu rope plant, a cultivar of Hoya carnosa, is definitely that (see also Hindu Rope Plant Care Guide)!
It produces striking leaves that twist and curl in every direction on their trailing stems. Like any hoya, it’s also capable of producing fabulous flowers in the right conditions (see also Hoya Kerrii Plant Care Guide).
Hypoestes phyllostachya ‘Polka Dot Plant’
For a daintier, upright houseplant with a lot of personality, the Polka dot plant might be the one for you.
It features deep green leaves with lots of pink splotches (see also Beautiful Pink Houseplants).
Ludisia discolor ‘Jewel Orchid’
Jewel orchids are absolutely beautiful, with their stunning leaves with distinctive patterns and colors (see also How To Grow Ludisia Discolor).
They are easy to take care of as long as you provide them with a lot of humidity, and capture anyone’s attention.
Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Boston Fern’
Ferns have a reputation for being tricky to care for, but most problems that occur are usually due to a lack of moisture or humidity.
Once you get these parts of their care right, ferns will add the perfect touch to any room. Boston ferns are particularly stunning and eventually look like a waterfall of foliage.
Pachira aquatica ‘Money Tree’
Another plant that likes plenty of moisture and will give any room a focal point is the money tree, also known as Pachira aquatica (see also How To Save A Dying Pachira Aquatica).
Most money tree plants feature braided stems, which only makes this plant more lovely.
Peperomia argyreia ‘Watermelon Peperomia’
There are many lovely peperomia species out there which are easy to care for (see also Peperomia Caperata Care Tips), but one of the more captivating ones is the watermelon peperomia, with its distinctive leaves resembling the skin of a watermelon.
Phalaenopsis spp. ‘Moth Orchid’
Available pretty much everywhere is the moth orchid, putting on a dramatic display of flowers at least once a year.
These dainty-looking plants are a lot tougher than they look, and you can even grow them in pure sphagnum moss rather than an orchid bark mix if you prefer.
Pilea cadierei ‘Aluminum Plant’
If you’d like something similar to a jewel orchid but in a plant that’s more readily available, the aluminum plant is for you. It features distinctive silvery foliage, and happens to be very easy to grow at that.
Platycerium bifurcatum ‘Staghorn Fern’
Staghorn ferns are enjoying an uptick in popularity, as they have gorgeous leaves, making a great focal point in any room.
You don’t even need to grow them in soil, as they are epiphytic, so you can grow them attached to driftwood, as long as the humidity is high enough.
Saintpaulia spp. ‘African Violet’
Distinctively beautiful, African violets flower freely indoors, and thanks to their bright blooms and easy-going nature, they are enjoying a resurgence in popularity.
It’s worth noting that when these plants are healthy and happy, they can flower very nearly all the time, which is rare for any houseplant.
Schlumbergera spp. ‘Holiday Cactus’
Both the Christmas and Thanksgiving types of cactus will last for generations if you care for them, and it helps that they are considered pet-safe.
They look fabulous as part of a hanging pot display, or if you prefer, on a large plant stand where the foliage and flowers can tumble down.
Sedum morganianum ‘Burro’s Tail’
If you are lucky enough to have very large, sunny windows, the Burro’s tail succulent is a great choice for a hanging plant (See also Hanging Plants That Don’t Need Sunlight).
It needs plenty of light, and while it is considered pet-safe, the stems and leaves are fragile, so keep them out of reach.
Tillandsia spp. ‘Airplants’
All bromeliads are beautiful, but if you prefer your bromeliads on the smaller side, air plants are a good choice. They don’t even need soil as they are epiphytes, so the display possibilities are endless.
There are many non-toxic plants out there to choose from, so you don’t have to settle on ‘boring houseplants’ in order to keep your pets safe.
Just make sure you choose plants that match your growing conditions indoors to make it easier, and some will live for decades with the right care.