Whenever we write a post about houseplants, we always get a question wanting to know if these plants are safe for cats and dogs. We decided to take a look at houseplants that are safe for animals. You can always check on the ASPCA’s website if you want to see if a specific plant is toxic or non-toxic for animals.
Here are our top 12 houseplants that are not toxic to cats and dogs:
African Violet – African Violets, as their name suggests, are native to East Africa. They are outdoor plants in their native environment but here in the U.S., they are treated as a houseplant. They are a low growing and compact plant that reaches anywhere from 3 to 16 inches in height. The leaves are usually oval shaped, dark green in color and thick but with a feeling like felt when you touch them. The most common flower color is purple but they also come in white and blue varieties as well. African Violets have earned a reputation for being fussy due to their watering requirements. They require porous soil which is quick draining and there are specific soil mixes for African Violets.
Boston Fern - The Boston Fern may be the quintessential houseplant. They are a popular choice for a hanging pot in a sunny window or on a plant stand in a bright hallway. They prefer potting soil that is high in organic matter and it should be kept slightly moist. Misting the fronds or standing the pot in a saucer with an inch of pebbles is recommended to ensure that humidity levels are consistently maintained during the winter. During the summer you can also use them as hanging pots on a porch or deck but be sure not to place them in full sun.
Haworthia - This succulent is also known as Zebra Plant. The Haworthia plant grows in the winter and is dormant in the summer. Like many succulents, this plant does best in very porous soil and the container needs to have excellent drainage. Water the plant thoroughly when the soil is dry to the touch. This plant is great for beginning gardeners.
Hens & Chicks - Hens and Chicks are an increasingly popular plant that can tolerate a wide array of growing conditions including hot, dry and rocky soil conditions. The main plant, known as the hen, has fleshy leaves with pointed tips and can be topped by a stalk of star-shaped flowers. Once the flowering finishes the hen dies but new plants are produced around the base of the hen and these are known as the chicks. Hens and Chicks are useful as a groundcover, bedding plant or even in a container.
Malaysian Dracaena - The Malaysian Dracaena has lush green and yellow leaves. The plant is also known as the “Song of India “. This plant prefers warm temperatures and should be watered with day-old tap water, distilled water or rain water to avoid damage from fluoride. Do not overwater this plant or allow it to stand in water as the leaves will develop yellow and brown patches which can lead to the entire plant rotting. As with most houseplants, feel the soil to determine if the plants need watering. This plant will tolerate low light, but thrives in medium and bright spots, too.
Neoregelia – Neoregelia are bromeliads that have striking, colorful foliage. They will certainly add some bright color to your home. Neoregelia leaves in the center form a funnel or cup and take on a pretty purple or red hue prior to blooming. Pretty blue flowers bloom randomly at the base of the funnel. The care of bromeliads is similar to that of cactus and succulents but does require a little more water. They are watered through the funnel and it is best to use rainwater, distilled or filtered water. Your baby plant will not bloom right away. They will not bloom until they are fully mature (two or three years old).
Parlor Palm - This palm tree is one of the most popular indoor palm plants. It does well in homes and offices and it also relatively inexpensive. This palm has been popular since Victorian times and is adaptable to low light and humidity levels. It also makes NASA’s list of houseplants that are effective at improving air quality. This plant will work for a beginner or experienced houseplant accumulators.
Peperomia - Peperomia is an easy-to-grow houseplant that's been popular for many years. It is also a small houseplant, so you don’t need a lot of room to grow it. There are many varieties of this houseplant including some that have variegated leaves. Try growing several of these different varieties next to each other. While Peperomia can tolerate an environment without a great deal of light it prefers to be placed in medium or bright light. They should be watered when the soil feels dry to the touch. Since the plant does not grow very fast, you don’t need to worry about pruning them. This is another plant that purifies the air.
Phalaenopsis Orchid - Did you know that there are more species of Orchid on the planet than there are species of birds and mammals combined! As you might suspect Orchids are found in the tropics of Asia, South and Central America but there are even Orchids that grow above the Arctic Circle. They are perennial plants in their native habitats but in the United States, they are usually grown as a houseplant. While their impressive blooms make them appear to be exotic they actually can be relatively simple to maintain if you understand the conditions that they require.
Polka Dot Plant – Polka Dot Plant is also known as Pink Hypoestes. They have bright pink spots which cover the dark green foliage. In recent years, they have added plants with white or red spots. Polka dot plants are native to Madagascar. These plants need bright light but should not be placed in full sun. The lighting environment is important as they need the light for the spots to come out. If there is not enough light the leaves will stay green. A Polka Dot plant looks beautiful in dish gardens or in small decorative containers.
Prayer Plant - Prayer Plant is an easy to grow houseplant that does best in indirect sunlight but can tolerate low light conditions. It is indigenous to Central and South America and gets its name from its leaves which often roll up at night. They prefer moist soil except during the winter when the soil should be allowed to dry out between watering. It prefers humid conditions such as you might find in your bathroom. It can be repotted in the spring and cuttings can be rooted in water or by putting the cutting in soil.
Spider Plant - The spider plant is one of the easiest houseplants to grow and makes a great hanging plant. This plant has interesting foliage, can produce white flowers and helps with indoor air quality. The spider plant is actually an herb that is indigenous to Southern Africa; where it is a perennial plant. Unlike other houseplants which are very sensitive to cooler temperatures the spider plant is capable of surviving temperatures as low as 35 degrees and has adapted itself to outdoor growing conditions in some areas of the United States, such as San Francisco. They can go for extended periods of time without a lot of water and during the winter months, I water them only once or twice a month. Spider plants are fast growers and they multiply quickly by producing what I call “babies” that hang from a stem connected to the mother plant. These smaller plants can be removed, planted in a good draining potting soil, and in no time you can increase your plant collection.
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