One of the most common questions we get at the hort society is “is this plant safe for dogs or cats?” Fortunately, the folks at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) have a long list of toxic and non-toxic plants for dogs and a similar list for cats. They also have other information on keeping your home and garden safe for your pets, so if you have a puppy or kitty or even a mature animal with a taste for horticulture, check it out.
Here are 10 common indoor plants that are safe for dogs and cats:
1. African violets (Saintpaulia spp.) With the right care (keep those leaves dry!), African violets will flower off-and-on all year and are safe for dogs and cats.
2. Polka Dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya) This common foliage plant is a native of Madagascar and likes indirect bright light and a monthly feeding to keep healthy and looking their best.
3. Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) Boston ferns bring a touch of the tropics to our homes in winter. They do need humidity and indirect light, making them the perfect plant for your bathroom.
4. Echeveria These are one of the most common types of succulents. They have a rose shape and come in a variety of colors and forms, and are not poisonous to cats or dogs.
5. Burro’s tail (Sedum) These are a cute, fun succulent to grow and I can’t guarantee your cat won’t find them to be a wonderful toy, but they are not poisonous.
6. Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) This is another one that we won’t promise your pet won’t play with, but it is easy to grow and non-toxic. Don’t over-water them and give them bright light. Before you know it, you will have plenty of spider-plant babies.
7. Orchids (Phalaenopsis sp.) Eating flowers is not a good thing for cats and dogs, but your prize orchid won’t poison your pet, according to the ASPCA.
8. Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) This is one of the most popular houseplants in the North because it sends out a beautiful flower in time for the holiday season. Fortunately, this easy-care succulent is non-toxic.
9. Trailing peperomia (Peperomia prostata) This is one of many peperomia that are non-toxic, including P. hederifolia, P. rotundifolia, P. peltfolia and others. Peperomia are very easy care and like low light and not too much water. They are the perfect plant for the office.
10. Friendship plant (Pilea involucrata) The common name of this plant comes from its ability to root easily from cuttings, making it the perfect plant to share with friends. It has fuzzy foliage and, if you are lucky, it will occasionally send up a small pink bloom.
Houseplants (and gardens) and pets can mix well as long as you observe your pet’s habits and choose plants accordingly. When in doubt, check with the ASPCA.