A cat sitting in front of a window

7 Common House Plants That Are Pet Safe (and 12 That Are Not)

I love plants, especially beautiful house plants. Healthy, economical plants can make any space warm and inviting—not just for humans, but pets, too! Some cats and dogs enjoy taking a nibble or two and that’s a problem because some indoor plants are toxic to cats and dogs. If you have pets, check out these houseplants that are pet safe.

A cat sitting in front of a window

If you have pets and enjoy beautiful indoor foliage, you want to find a few plants conducive to your home and design taste, then stick to them.

With the exception of edibles like cat grass, it’s always better to keep house plants out of a pet’s reach if you can. The following options are recognized as non-toxic for pets, according to the ASPCA*.

African Violet

A vase filled with purple flowers

One of the most popular house plants, African violets (saintpaulia), are amazing indoors because they have the ability to bloom in low light and love the same kind of indoor conditions that humans enjoy, too—moderate temperatures and average humidity. These beauties, with their velvet-like leaves, are available in many varieties and colors.

 

Boston Fern

A fern in a pot

A popular house plant favorite, Boston fern (Nephrolepis), has some beautiful shaggy fronts that are non-toxic to cats and dogs. What a terrific addition to a guest room, bathroom, or any area in your apartment, house, condo, or RV. It will brighten up any space. Boston ferns love humidity and lots of bright, indirect light.

 

Polka Dot Plant

A vase with a purple flower

The white, pink, and red splashes of color on the polka dot plant Hypoestes phyllostachya are so much fun and add a bit of whimsy to any indoor space. Even though this beauty is not toxic to pets, should your cat decide to make a meal of it, he or she may experience mild digestive upset if you know what I mean. Keep this in mind as you select the perfect spot for your polka dot plants.

Peperomia

A vase filled with flowers sitting on a table

 

Peperomia is one of my favorite indoor plants because it is forgiving in that it doesn’t mind being neglected, as in “forgetting to water.” The lush foliage of Peperomia is filled with a diversity of texture and color. Looks great in a hanging basket and is not toxic for dogs or cats.

Mosaic Plant

A close up of a flower

While this plant has several common names, I prefer Fittonia spp.’s common name “mosaic” to another of its monikers, “nerve plant.” Sounds terrible. Like your cat might have a seizure should she get into it. But that’s not it at all. You can be assured that a mosaic plant’s white or pink veining is not at all toxic to cats or dogs. mosaic plants enjoy low light and moderate watering.

Bromeliad

A close up of a plant

This super tough plant creates a lot of curiosity for pets but is not toxic to cats or dogs. So easy to maintain, give a Bromeliad (Bromeliaceae) plant a bright window and humid environment, and it will bloom like a champ! And grow to 20-inches or taller just to prove how happy it is to be gracing your pet-friendly home.

Banana Tree

A close up of a plant

Large house plants can make a beautiful bold statement, but most are toxic to cats and dogs. One that is not harmful at all to pets is a banana tree (Musa). Give it rich soil in a big pot (it’s going to get really big!), bright light, and regular watering to emulate its natural habitat, and watch it grow right before your eyes.


Plants That Are Toxic to Cats and Dogs

While not all of the following would be considered houseplants, these are the 12 most common plants that are toxic to cats and dogs—these are definitely not pet safe. Cats and dogs don’t usually know what things make them sick, so their curious nature occasionally gets the best of them. To keep your pets safe, avoid having any of these common plants in or around your home.

  • Castor Bean, ricinus communis**
  • Caladium, caladium hortulanum (araceae)
  • Lilies, lilium or hemerocallis
  • Dumbcane, dieffenbachia (araceae)
  • Rosary Pea, arus precatorius
  • Larkspur, dephinium consolida
  • Foxglove, digitalis purpurea
  • Autumn crocus, colchicum autumnale
  • Sago palm, cycas revoluta
  • Black locust, robinia pseudocacia (fabaceae)
  • Yew, taxus baccata
  • Oleander, nerium oleander

 

*ASPCA’s exhaustive list of toxic and non-toxic plants for cats and dogs can be found here.

**The #1 most poisonous plant in the world according to 2007 Guinness World Records


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