Pet-Friendly Houseplants

Many pet owners are surprised to learn that some popular houseplants are toxic to pets. Fortunately, there are many beautiful, pet-friendly houseplants that can create an urban jungle that won’t endanger your pets.

Top 15 Pet-Friendly Houseplants

There are a variety of plants, ranging from easy-care for beginners to the more challenging for experienced growers, that are pet-friendly. The top choices, suitable for homes with both dogs and cats include…

  1. Air Plants – Petite and low-maintenance, air plants or tillandsia varieties come in different shapes and colors, and make great statement pieces in offices, bedrooms, or any space. They’re ideal for beginners, and work well attached to driftwood, rocks, or set in a terrarium.
  2. Spider Plant – A great plant for beginners because of its forgiving nature, the spider plant may have either striped or plain foliage that cascades in elegant curves. This easy-care plant looks best when hung or may be perched on a pedestal for a similar effect.
  3. Ponytail Palm – While this palm-like plant is actually part of the agave family, it is an excellent air purifier and its long, slender foliage adds welcome variety to a houseplant grouping. This plant prefers full sun and can grow up to four feet tall indoors.
  4. African Violet – A classic blooming houseplant with rich purple, pink, magenta, or white flowers and broad, velvety leaves, the African violet is a pet-friendly favorite. These colorful plants are compact, making them great for smaller spaces in the urban jungle.
  5. Boston Fern – The delicate, feathery foliage of the Boston fern prefers filtered light and a higher humidity environment, making it great in bathrooms. Hang the plant to show off its foliage to best effect, or perch it on top of a bookshelf or pedestal instead.
  6. Wheat Grass – Also called cat grass or pet grass, is a lawn-like houseplant that is fun for pets to nibble at. While wheat grass is relatively easy to grow, it does require regular “mowing” with appropriate shears to stay full and lush.
  7. Cast Iron Plant – This extremely hardy plant is great for beginners and tolerates all types of neglect, including low light, low humidity, and irregular watering. This makes it a wonderful houseplant for anyone just starting with plants or who find it difficult to offer scheduled care.
  8. Polka Dot Plant – The colorful splashes of pink on this plant’s foliage make it a bright addition to any indoor jungle, and it can be a pet-friendly alternative to the highly toxic poinsettia during the holidays. Bright, indirect light is best to help this plant keep its fun coloration.
  9. Blue Echeveria – This popular succulent is also known as hen-and-chicks and works best in bright light but with low watering. The entire echeveria family of succulents is pet-friendly, so feel free to try different varieties for more colors, sizes, and shapes.
  10. Bromeliad – These bold plants have colorful blooms and dramatic foliage, making them favorite statement pieces in the urban jungle. Bright light will help bring out the most color, and good airflow will help keep the plant free of pests and other problems.
  11. Prayer Plant – The colorful, striped foliage of the prayer plant, plus its unique habit of “folding” its foliage at night, make it a houseplant favorite. Bright, indirect light and high humidity will help keep this plant healthy and lush.
  12. Donkey’s Tail – A dramatically draping succulent, donkey’s tail is best displayed where its trailing can be fully appreciated, such as hanging the plant or placing it on a taller ledge, such as a shelf, so it has room to shine. This is an easy-care option perfect for anyone starting with succulents.
  13. Moth Orchids – While many orchids can be challenging, Phalaenopsis or moth orchid, is easy to grow and a great orchid for the beginner. Phalaenopsis Orchids are and are available in white, pink, and mauve, some even have unique marking on their petals.
  14. Haworthia – A spikey succulent similar to aloe, this dramatic plant is an eye-catching option in any home. There are several varieties available, most with white stripes, bars, or stippling to give the plant additional drama and color.
  15. Basil – If you prefer fresh herbs for tasty meals, basil is a low-maintenance, pet-friendly choice that is deliciously fragrant and ideal for sauces, stews, and salads. Other pet-friendly herbs include rosemary, thyme, and sage.

Protecting Your Houseplants From Pets

It’s important to remember that even if a houseplant is considered pet-friendly, pets that nibble on the foliage may have some digestive trouble, particularly if they were to eat a large quantity of the plant. Furthermore, pets can stress plants by tipping pots, laying on the plant, digging in the dirt, or otherwise disturbing the plant. For the safest relationship between your houseplants and your pets, you can take several steps to help them get along.

  • Position houseplants out of reach of pets, or in a room pets are not permitted to enter.
  • Train pets to leave houseplants alone and reinforce that training whenever necessary.
  • Use heavier clay, concrete, or ceramic pots that pets will be unable to easily tip.
  • Use stones as a top dressing so pets are unable to dig in the plant’s soil.
  • Spray the pot or foliage with bitter apple or other pet repellant sprays if needed.

Houseplants can be just as much a part of your family as any four-legged, furry family members, and by choosing pet-friendly houseplants, your pets can get along with your urban jungle just fine.