Something that can easily slip our minds when plant shopping for the home is the safety of our pets if they decide to munch on a leaf or two.
Cats and dogs love fresh smelling green leaves and grasses on occasion which, if you have toxic plants in your home, may cause them harm. Instead of relying on training the pet not to eat your plants, you’re better off to reduce the risk altogether by looking for pet-friendly plants or keeping any toxic plants you have out of their reach. Remember that it’s their home too and some pets like to nibble on plants that are safe or even healthy for them.
However, be sure to watch the behaviour of your pet around a new addition to your indoor jungle, pet-friendly plants may still cause a reaction. Consider removing the new plant and consulting a vet if you see symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, hunching in pain, etc.
My cats’ favourite plant – Cat Grass and Catnip
In addition to the more common and trendy indoor plants that are listed in this post, some safe plants I recommend particularly for cats are Cat Grass and Catnip. Keeping a small pot or two of these plants on cat-accessible window sills will provide your furry friend with additional hydration and add healthy greens to their diet. Contrary to popular belief, cats love to eat cat grass and lemongrass* and having a nibble doesn’t always mean that they’re unwell or will be sick on your carpet, so let them at it.
Catnip serves all cats differently, some aren’t affected at all while others are strongly affected with feelings of calm or playfulness. Use dried catnip leaves in home-made toys or rub it on their beds to help them sleep.
*Lemongrass is safe but Lemongrass essential oils are toxic so keep that tucked away in a safe place at all times.
Trendy indoor plants that are safe for cats + dogs
1. Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Chlorophytum comosum, often called spider plant but also known as airplane plant, St. Bernard’s lily, spider ivy, hen and chickens, ribbon plant and cats’ whiskers is a perennial flowering plant. This lovely plant can thrive in indirect sunlight. One of the reasons it’s sometimes referred to as “Hen and chickens” is because of its ability to sprout baby spider plants, which you can pluck off and propagate in water or soil.
2. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)
Nephrolepis exaltata, known as the Sword fern or Boston fern, is a species of fern in the family Lomariopsidaceae. Native to tropical regions throughout the world, it is an evergreen perennial herbaceous plant. It prefers high humidity, continuously moist soil, indirect sunlight and regular misting. Unlike some ferns, the Boston fern is not poisonous to pets but can be attractive to some animals, especially cats.
3. Bamboo (Bambusoideae)
Bamboo is an evergreen perennial flowering plant in the subfamily Bambusoideae of the grass family Poaceae. Sometimes used in the garden for privacy screening or dotted around the house is small pots, bamboo is extremely strong and fast-growing. It’s so safe and strong that the stems can be used as a chew toy for your dog.
4. Palms (Arecaceae)
The Arecaceae are a botanical family of perennial plants. Their growth form can be climbers, shrubs, trees and stemless plants, all commonly known as Palms. Indoor palms add tropical elegance to your home. There are many different palms used as common houseplants that are non-toxic to pets. There are palms for every light situation that require little care, making them a wonderful addition to your home.
5. Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)
Aspidistra elatior, the cast-iron-plant or bar-room plant, also known in Japanese as Haran or Baran is a species of flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae, native to Japan and Taiwan. The cast iron plant is an extremely hardy plant that can thrive in a shady spot making it THE houseplant for neglectful owners or a low-light room. It is also, of course, non-toxic to pets so it’s a wonderful house plant altogether.
6. Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)
Maranta leuconeura, also known as prayer plant, is a species of flowering plant in the family Marantaceae, native to the Brazilian tropical forests. Becoming very trendy at the moment for its luscious clumps of beautifully variegated foliage and prayer-like movement. The prayer plant is somewhat tolerant of low light conditions, however, it does best in bright, indirect sunlight, it prefers well-drained soil and requires high humidity to thrive.
7. Succulent Rosettes (Echeveria)
Echeveria is a large genus of flowering succulents that range in shape and colour, native to semi-desert areas of Central America, Mexico and northwestern South America. Echeverias are also sometimes referred to as succulent rosettes or “Hen and chicks” as it’s another plant that will quickly shoot out many babies that can be left to spread or clipped for propagation. While you may not want your pets nibbling on any lone indoor echeverias as it will lessen their visual appeal, you can easily keep a large decorative pot of them on the ground that will be low maintenance and unaffected by any small bite marks.