Home Decor, Lifestyle

Best Houseplants for the Pet Lover

Many common houseplants are toxic to humans and pets; find out which ones are the best plants for pet lovers, and which to avoid at all cost.

Make Sure You’re Not Tempting Your Pet’s Fate With Poison Houseplants

Houseplants are a great way to breathe life into a space both literally through their respiration, and figuratively, in terms of their decorative qualities. After all, with a little bit of TLC, house plants can be beautiful to look at and fairly easy to maintain. Unfortunately, many pet owners don’t know that many common houseplants are actually highly toxic to your pets.

Sad cat on the windowsill. She is bored. The cat sits on a windowsill next to the flower. The cat is breed scottish fold.

Though your pet may seem more intelligent than every other pet you’ve ever encountered, it still may be tempted to chew the leaves on a plant that can make it sick, or in some cases, even kill it.

It can be a bit tricky trying to satisfy your aesthetic needs by decorating with plants, while also ensuring that the plants you’re purchasing won’t harm your precious companion animals. Unfortunately, the toxicity of many plants hasn’t been established. This is even more the case when it comes to their toxicity to animals.

So just to keep it safe, consider decorating with plants from this quick list of nontoxic plants. Your pets will surely thank you for it!

Spider Plants

Spider plants are extremely common, and they are also relatively inexpensive and very easy to take care of. Most importantly, they are also nontoxic, which is a good thing as most cats love to chew on their leaves. If the look of your spider plant (chewed leaves and all) ends up being a problem for you, then consider hanging it from a ceiling hook where your cat can’t get at it. Plus, spider plants are great at reducing indoor air pollution.

Spider plant was plant in the garden

The Boston Fern

Unlike its cousin, the Asparagus fern, the Boston fern is completely nontoxic. It’s also relatively easy to grow, and absolutely beautiful to look at. The relatives of this plant, namely the Staghorn fern and the Deer foot fern, are non-toxic as well.

This group of plants can be a little more challenging to grow as they need a certain amount of humidity in the air to keep them thriving, but they tolerate low-light conditions rather well and make a good plant for the bathroom.

African Violets

The African violet is a classic houseplant, and making them even more attractive, they are easy to grow and very drought tolerant. In fact, the way most people go wrong with African violets is by over-watering them. A member of the succulent family of plants, the African violet stores water in its leaves like a cactus or jade plant, but unlike a cactus, it won’t give your pets a carpeting of needles and it isn’t toxic in the slightest.

Potted African Violet (Saintpaulia) on the background of cactus houseplants

Poisonous Plants You May Already Have in the Home

There are many house plants that you may already have in your home that are toxic to pets. Common house plants that many folks don’t know are poisonous include American holly, aloe, begonias, ficus, arrowhead vine, birds of paradise, black calla lilly, and many many more. Many veterinarian websites feature short lists of toxic plants, and the Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) maintains a more robust database of plants known to be toxic to cats, dogs, and horses.

You Can Have Both Pets and Plants in the Home!

This is far from a comprehensive list of all the non-toxic options when it comes to decorating the house with plants. Check with your vet and your local plant professional to determine what plants might work best for your unique combination of companion animals, living space, and tastes.

You’re sure to find something that will thrive in your home without compromising the health and safety of your pets.


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Alex is a home staging guru who moonlights as a writer. She loves everything about interior design and loves working in the industry. Alex is an expert in finding what makes people light up when they walk into a room, and has made a living by creating interiors that are unique, warm and inviting. When she isn't arranging flowers or making sure she's found the right loveseat for prospective buyers, she writes about her passion — home design.

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