As pet owners we take great care in making sure our pets are healthy and safe, but sometimes danger can come from unexpected places. When I first started growing plants indoors, it never crossed my mind that I could be growing poisonous plants. The thought of having toxic plants in the house without even realizing it is very scary. That’s why I wanted to put together a list of common pet friendly house plants that you can grow without worry.
I love growing plants indoors, and I have a large collection of house plants. I also have two cats, including one very curious little lady who loves my plants as much as I do (maybe more!). So, it’s a huge relief feeling confident that the plants I’m growing in my house won’t harm my cats. Although, that doesn’t protect my plants from the danger of having cats.
I get a lot of questions from readers about which types of plants are safe to grow around pets. I’ve even had a few people as me “What house plants are safe for my cat to eat?” Welllll….. let me just start by saying I wouldn’t recommend that you allow your cat (or dog) to eat any of your house plants. Even non-toxic plants can give your pet an upset stomach and cause vomiting if they eat too much of it. But rest assured, there are plenty of pet friendly house plants that won’t harm your furry friend if they do decide to take a bite.
15 pet friendly house plants
When I first started doing research on this topic, I was happy to discover that there are hundreds of plants that are non-toxic. But, in addition to making a list of pet friendly house plants, I also wanted to create a list of plants that are common and would be easy for you to find at your local garden center or big box store. Here are my top picks:
1. Spider plant – When it comes to growing plants indoors, it doesn’t get much easier than spider plants. Not only are they easy to care for, but they also grow well in low-light conditions and can help to clean the air in our homes. Plus they’re really pretty, and even come in a few different varieties. I love my spider plants… although my cats seem to love them too, good thing they’re non-toxic plants! I grow mine in a spot that’s out of reach of my cats (to protect the plants, not the cats).
2. Palms – There are tons of different types of true palms, and they make excellent indoor plants that are safe for cats and dogs. Areca, bamboo, parlor, and ponytail palms are some of the most common indoor palm plants, and they are all pretty easy to grow, too. Plus palm plants don’t need a lot of light, which makes them great for growing in just about any room of the house. It should be noted, however, that sago palms are toxic to pets. While the term “palm” is part of this plant’s common name, sago palms are not actually a true palm; they are a cycad and should not be grown in homes with pets.
3. Bamboo – I remember coming home one day to discover that my cat had been snacking on my bamboo plant. Thank goodness I already knew that bamboo is a non-toxic plant, or I would have freaked out! Bamboo plants are not only one of the best pet friendly house plants, but they are easy to grow and fun to collect too.
4. African violet – If you’re looking for easy-to-grow house plants that have ever-blooming, pet friendly flowers, then African violets are the perfect choice. Keep them in a warm location where they get plenty of light, and these darling little plants will happily bloom for you all year round.
5. Boston fern – I guess if we learned anything from Garfield the cat, it’s that fern plants are non-toxic. Well, I’m not sure which type of fern plant was featured in the popular cartoon, but you can be sure that the Boston fern is safe for both cats and dogs.
6. Burros tail succulent (Sedum morganianum) – My plant-obsessed cat has never tried to eat any of my succulents, but she does love to play with the little pieces that break off my burros tail (who knew they would make such fun cat toys?!). So, I definitely had to make sure this cute little plant was safe for her. Burros tail succulents are safe, but when it comes to ensuring that other succulents are pet friendly house plants, it can be hit or miss. So make sure to search for each specific variety of succulent plant you grow. Learn how to grow succulents as houseplants here.
7. Cast iron plant – The cast iron plant definitely lives up to it’s name; it’s one of toughest house plants out there. Not only are they beautiful, but they will thrive in just about any room of the house. My cats have gnawed on the leaves of my cast iron plant before which is not cool, but at least I can breath easy knowing the plant won’t harm them.
8. Bromeliads – If you’re looking for some colorful, pet safe indoor plants that grow well without much light, then bromeliads are for you! They are one of the most common flowering house plants (which is especially nice in the winter!), and you can find them just about anywhere these days. Bromeliads come in a variety of colors too, which makes them fun to collect. Oh, and caring for bromeliads isn’t as hard as you’d think, they’re actually pretty easy to grow as houseplants.
9. Christmas cactus – Is there anything better than an indoor plant that blooms in the dead of winter? Christmas cacti are easy to grow indoor plants that will flower right around Christmas time, and they are gorgeous! Oh, and if you head to the garden center right after Christmas, you might even get lucky and find one on sale!
10. Haworthia succulents – When I put my haworthia succulents outside a few summers ago, the rabbits ate them down to nubs (grrrr!). So, since I didn’t see any dead rabbits after that (only fatter ones), I was pretty sure they were safe for pets, too. I’m so glad haworthias officially made the list! (Don’t worry, my haworthias have recovered, but you can still see the damage done by those pesky rabbits!)
11. Peperomia – One of the first plants that I ever owned was a peperomia. I was so relieved to find out that it’s pet safe because I love that plant. There are tons of different varieties of peperomia, and they come in all sorts of different colors and sizes. Many of them are trailing plants that look great in hanging baskets or spilling over the edge of a high shelf.
12. Phalaenopsis orchids – Not only are phalaenopsis orchids cat and dog safe indoor plants, they are popular edible flowers too. If you’ve ever been to Hawaii, you might remember seeing orchid flowers garnishing food plates and tropical drinks all the time. Using phalaenopsis orchids to garnish and decorate food is becoming the mainstream (and it’s one of my favorite trends!).
13. Prayer plant – I was so happy to find out that prayer plants are non-toxic to pets because this is another one of my favorite indoor plants. This cute little plant closes it leaves at night (like prayer hands), and it’s a super fun plant to grow. They’re also pretty easy to grow, and will even get tiny flowers if you’re really nice to them.
14. Swedish ivy – Even though my cats have never shown any interest in snacking on my Swedish ivy plants, I still wanted to make sure it was safe to leave this one within reach. Swedish ivy plants are great for growing indoors, and are also commonly sold as annual plants in the summer.
15. Lipstick plant – Lipstick plants are fun to grow, unique, and they make great indoor plants. Not only are they pet friendly house plants, but lipstick plants are easy to care for too. Plus, they are also beautiful flowering plants, which makes them even better, especially for those of us who live in cold climates and want to enjoy beautiful flowers during the winter.
Plants and pets don’t always get along (especially when you have a mischievous kitten on the loose), but some plants can be downright dangerous for your pets. So if you’re looking to add some green into your home and avoiding poisonous house plants, add these pet safe indoor plants to your collection! If you want to find out if your favorite plants are safe, the ASPCA has a great database you can search through.
More posts about growing plants indoors
- 15 Easy-to-care-for house plants
- Overwintering hibiscus plants as house plants
- Natural pest control for house plants
- Beautiful succulents that grow well indoors
- How to water indoor plants
Which of your favorite pet friendly house plants would you add to this list?