8 Pet Safe Indoor Plants
The day pet parents bring home their new pet is an exciting day, and they want everything to be perfect. Beds are set in place, food is chosen, toys are purchased, and the house puppy-proofed—electrical cords put away and breakable all items set out of reach. One area of puppy-proofing that many people overlook, however, is that of houseplants.
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Dogs and cats, much like babies and toddlers, tend to explore their world with their mouths, and this can include plants as well. Some pet parents simply move any and all greenery out of reach to keep their fur babies safe from toxins. While this is certainly a valid option, other pet parents prefer to enrich their canine companion’s environment with a variety of indoor plants that have been proven safe for pets.
If you are looking to decorate your home with fantastic flora that you don’t have to worry about keeping out of reach of your pet, try one of these eight great options:
Areca Palm (dypsis lutescens)
This hardy plant, also referred to as butterfly or golden cane palm makes an excellent addition to a pet-lover’s home. They are simple to grow and cultivate as well as being somewhat insect resistant. It has tall, pinnate leaves that give the plant an elegant appearance, similar to many other palm trees. Although this plant will not cause any lasting illness for your canine companion, in large amounts, it can sometimes cause mild gastrointestinal issues.
Not all plants with palm in the name are related to one another and some, like the sago palm (cycas revoluta), are decidedly unsafe for your dog. Know the scientific name of your purchases before you bring them home and if you are at all unsure, check against a database of toxic and non-toxic plants, like this one hosted by the ASPCA, or keep them out of reach of your pet.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Basil makes a lovely houseplant with delicate purple flowers, a pleasantly pungent aroma, and beautifully decorative leaves. All varieties of this herb are non-toxic for both cats and dogs and can be served to them either fresh or dried. Basil is reported to have an antimicrobial effect as well that can protect both us and our canine companions from harmful bacteria.
Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus)
The Bird’s Nest Fern is an incredibly resilient plant that can find a home in any room in your house, as long as it gets enough humidity. There are several varieties of this charming houseplant, all of which are pet-safe. While the plant itself is safe, fertilizers used to help the plant thrive may be toxic to your pet so it’s important to research your fertilizer choice or keep the plant out of your pet’s reach when it’s being fertilized.
Plants labeled ferns, like those labeled palm plants, can encompass a large number of houseplants, not all of them related to one another. While this plant and the Boston Fern (nephrolepis exaltata) are non-toxic, the Emerald Fern (asparagus densiflorus) can be life-threatening if ingested by your canine companion.
Christmas Cactus (schlumbergera genus)
Many of the plants that traditionally grace homes in the winter months can be dangerous for dogs. Ingesting mistletoe or poinsettia can cause severe enough vomiting and diarrhea to send you to the nearest emergency vet, and holly can cause hallucinations and cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure.
Christmas cactus of the schlumbergera genus, on the other hand, are winter plants that are safe to have around your dogs and cats. This non-toxic succulent with its waxy, pillow-like leaves is an attractive houseplant year-round but is especially beautiful when it blooms in the winter month, often near the winter holiday of Christmas.
Money trees (pachira aquatica)
The braided trunk of these trees give them a unique appearance, but they don’t come that way in nature. These pet-safe plants are braided together by hand when the plant is very young. The actual trees grow in Central and South American swamplands and can reach over 60 feet tall in the wild, but they only reach 3-6 feet when they are grown indoors.
Moth Orchids (phalenopsis)
Orchids are delightfully colorful flowers with a unique shape that are adored by many. Moth orchids are a beautiful addition to the home that, unlike most orchids, are easy to keep alive.
Most orchids, including the moth orchid, are non-toxic to both dogs and cats, though they can cause mild gastrointestinal distress if ingested. There is one variety of wild orchid, the Lady’s Slipper Orchid, that can cause sores in the mouth when eaten and dermatitis when it comes into contact with the skin.
Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)
The non-toxic Ponytail Palm is not a palm tree at all, but a type of succulent, most closely related to the Agave plant. In the wild, they grow to 30 feet tall, but indoors they rarely exceed four feet tall. These small tree-like plants with their lush, curling leaves are a graceful addition to any room.
It is an enduring plant that thrives on very little attention, only really running into problems if it gets overwatered.
Spider Plant (chlorophytum comosum)
Spider plants are incredibly easy to grow plants that are non-toxic for most pets. They are particularly effective at removing a number of contaminants such as formaldehyde, a common byproduct from many household cleansers.
You may want to be cautious about where you place these graceful hanging plants if you have a cat in the house. While spider plants aren’t toxic, they are reported to contain a mild hallucinogen for our feline family members, who may occasionally overindulge.
While many plants can be dangerous for our pets if nibbled on, there are just as many that are safe for them to interact with. Hopefully, this list will give you a starting place to create a plant lush and pet-safe home.