Replace toxic houseplants with pet-safe plants.

Which House Plants Are Safe Around Cats & Dogs?

by Amanda Flanigan

Cats and dogs are curious creatures that can get into household items that may pose a danger to them. Some houseplants, for example, may appear innocent enough, but many species are toxic to cats and dogs. However, several plants grow well indoors and pose no threat to your furry friends.

1. Succulent Houseplants

Succulent houseplants have thick flesh to store water, which helps the plant tolerate periods of drought. They are typically easy to care for and make wonderful container plants. Blue echeveria (Echeveria derenbergii) is not toxic to cats or dogs. Also called painted lady, blue echeveria grows as a houseplant or outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11 in partial to full sun. It has a clumping form that reaches 1 foot tall and produces bluish-green foliage with a red margin. Another pet-safe succulent is the Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii), which grows outdoors in USDA zones 10 through 12. This seasonal bloomer produces succulent foliage on arching stems. The pink, red, orange, cream or purple flowers appear on the ends of the stems.

2. Flowering Houseplants

Lipstick plant (Aeschynanthus spp.) is a flowering houseplant that grows well in a hanging basket where its arching stems covered in dark green foliage cascade from the container. It grows outdoors in USDA zones 10 and 11, producing rich burgundy flower buds shaped like lipstick. Lipstick plant is non-toxic to pets and thrives in shaded areas. Another option for non-toxic flowering houseplants is the purple velvet plant (Gynura aurantiaca), which grows to 1 to 2 feet tall in USDA zones 10 through 12. This stunning houseplant produces toothed green leaves that are covered in purple hairs. In the winter, small clusters of orange-yellow flowers appear. Purple velvet plant has weak stems that begin erect but will take on a sprawling form as it grows.

3. Herbs

Herbs grow well indoors and provide fresh culinary ingredients. Peppermint and basil are pet-safe herbs that can be used as houseplants. Peppermint (Mentha × piperita) is an invasive perennial growing in USDA zones 3 through 8 but can be grown as a houseplant. Its toothed leaves have a strong fragrance. Peppermint produces pinkish-purple tubular-shaped flowers that appear on stalks that protrude from the foliage. Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is another pet-safe herb that grows as a perennial in USDA zones 9 through 11 or can be used as a houseplant. It has highly fragrant foliage, grows in full sun and blooms in pink, purple or white flowers.

4. Plants with Attractive Foliage

Cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior) is an evergreen perennial that thrives in shaded areas and grows outdoors in USDA zones 6 through 11. This common houseplant is pet-safe, easy to care for and slowing growing, reaching heights of about 2 feet tall. It has arching, deep green leaves with a glossy sheen that measure up to 4 inches wide and 24 inches long. Unimpressive creamy-purple flowers may appear near the soil level during the spring. Another pet-friendly houseplant grown for its attractive foliage is the Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata), which is hardy outdoors in USDA zones 10 through 12. This fern produces green sword-shape fronds that grow upward but that will begin to arch as they age. Boston ferns thrive in shaded areas and are easy to care for.

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