Pet-friendly houseplants – the 10 most beautiful plants that are safe for furry friends
For greenery that looks pretty and is totally fine around cats and dogs and whoever else you live with, check out our pick of the best pet-friendly houseplants
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So you've fallen for a gorgeous pot of greenery, you know the perfect position for it, how it's going to fit in with the furniture and add texture and color and literal life to your home. Great, love that for you. But if you are a pet parent as well as a soon-to-be plant parent you need to also consider if the plants you are bringing into your space are safe for your furry friends.
There are so many pet-friendly houseplants out there, that your choices aren't limited you just need to do a little research before you buy. And that's where we come in.
'Pets are most at risk with any plant that contains a sap,' says Dom Butler, founder of Plant Drop. "Like the latex inside the euphorbia or that bleeds from a rubber plant, hence the name, when a leaf is broken from the stem. These saps are toxic if ingested and can be very harmful and potentially even fatal.'
And so we're making it super simple, whether you are a well-established houseplant hoarder and what you check your collection is pet friendly, or a newbie that looking for a houseplant guide for beginners, we have you covered.
We've asked the experts for the best pet-friendly plants that are trendy and non-toxic for your cats, dogs, and small furries.
The best pet-friendly houseplants
1. Kentia Palm
Palms are a classic houseplant, they are always on trend and can work in any style of room, whether that's super minimalist to Mid-century retro. A lot of palms are pet-friendly and the Kentia palm is one of our personal faves – it's so elegant and makes a statement in any space. They are also one of the best houseplants to clean the air in your home.
'The perfect indoor palm, the Kentia is a stunning statement piece with its long stems and thin, angular leaves.' says Mark McCance, founder of Hortology (opens in new tab). 'Trimming away older, dying stems as low to soil level as possible will stop them drooping down meaning you’ll avoid the risk of them being tugged and dislodged by pets.'
Plant Drop (opens in new tab) founder, Dom Butler adds that, 'Palms like Kentia and Areca are perfect for when you have pets, as no part of them is toxic if ingested and they also have no sap.'
2. Pachira Aquatica
No we all love the look of Rubber Plants and Fiddle Leaf Figs, they are the most Instagrammed houseplants out there, but they are a no-go if you have pets in your home as they are toxic to animals. But there are plenty of similarly chic houseplants that won't cause any harm to your furry friends. Pachira Aquatica, also call the Money Tree is a perfect alternative.
'Pachira Aquatica are a fantastic choice when looking for a house tree with a pet, as the fiddle-leaf figs and other ficus are no good, this plant still has a thick stem and a canopy.' continues Dom.
However, whilst this houseplant is harmless, you still might want to keep it out of reach from your pets as, Mark from Hortology explains, 'The central trunk might look a little too much like an inviting chew toy so raising these plants from the floor through the use of a table or shelving will help to deter your pets.'
3. Boston fern
'It can be tricky to keep curious pets away from your house plants. Luckily, there's plenty of plants that won't harm your furry friend if they have a cheeky nibble. Ferns like the Maidenhair Fern or the Boston Fern won't bother your pets and will thrive in humid environments like the bathroom or your kitchen.' explains Richard Cheshire, Plant Doctor at Patch (opens in new tab).
The majority of ferns are in fact pet-friendly (the big exception being the asparagus fern, that's a big no-no for households with animals) but we love how a Boston fern gives that exotic, glam retro vibe. In terms of fern care, they are fairly high maintenance, but great if you are looking for a plant for a shady corner of your home. They like a shady spot and plenty of watering.
4. Chinese Money Plant
'Our favorite pet-safe plant would be the Chinese Money plant or Pilea peperomioides.' says Jemma Charman from Green Rooms Market (opens in new tab). 'It is a really popular plant for its striking circular leaves, ease of care and it’s a prolific reproducer, meaning the plane will have lots of babies that you can gift to friends and family.'
'It likes bright indirect light and only needs to be watered once the top couple of inches of the soil are dry, it will also tell you when it needs water as the leaf stems will start to droop a little.'
Something to consider about the Money Plant is that it produces lots of mini Money Plants. Once your plant is happy you'll quickly start to see lots of baby plants appearing around the base. Don't panic, it's really easy to propagate, just cut the stem of the new plants around 3cm under the soil, pop them in a smaller pot with new soil, give it a water and you have a whole new houseplant (free gifts for friends and family too!).
Check out our guide on how to care for succulents for more detailed advice on how to care for your Money Plant.
5. Calathea Rattle Snake
If you want to add a bold pop of color to your rooms, peacock plants are perfect, plus they are non-toxic to animals. They are part of the Calathea plant family which produces those gorgeous pink-tinged leaves which really make a statement contrasted with the green tops.
'Another great pet-friendly plant we would recommend is Calathea rattle snake, for those plant parents that love the decorative leaves of Calatheas.' continues Jemma. 'The rattle snake variety is one of the more easy-going Calathea.'
'Being a tropical forest floor dweller in its natural habitat, it won’t like its soil to dry out, so best to keep it slightly moist, a bathroom would be a good room for these as they like humidity and will need to be kept out of direct sun. You can keep these plants extra happy by watering with rainwater rather than tap water. Brown tips to the leaves is a sign it would like higher humidity.'
6. Watermelon Peperomia
This adorable little pet-friendly house plant is ideal if you are after something on the smaller side. Perfect for a shelf or tabletop, Watermelon Peperomia again adds a burst of color with its deep pink stems. Whilst they are non-toxic to pets they are pretty fragile beings so keeping them up and out of harm's way is where they will thrive best.
'Since getting our dog we've had to be pickier with the plants we bring into the house,' says Livingetc editor (and houseplant expert) Pip Rich. 'But I've found there are still so many options available and the Watermelon Peperomia is up there with my favorites. The sleek fleshy leaves are fascinating, adding pattern, texture, and color to any display. They also look lovely grouped together with more delicate foliage like palms and trailing plants.'
7. Strelitzia Nicolai
Banana leaf motifs have been an interior design trend for years now, and what better way to bring the print into your home than with a real-life Strelitzia Nicolai (a.k.a White Bird of Paradise, a.k.a Banana tree). And as well as looking fabulous with their towering green leaves and tropical vibes, they are also none toxic to animals too.
'Strelitzia Nicolai, the white bird of paradise is so sculptural and causes no harm to pets and is rather tough-skinned so there's little chance of your pet doing much damage to it or breaking any part off to ingest.' says Dom of Plant Drop.
Just be away these plants can get big and will need plenty of room, as grow fast indoors and can reach over 5 meters tall.
8. Prayer Plant
Another member of the Calathea family, the Prayer Plant also offers that flash of pink on the underbelly of its leaves. Plus, as the name suggests, it has the nifty trick of folding in its leaves of an evening. Beautiful and usunual.
'The Prayer Plant is super popular at the moment – it’s a really cool plant whose beautiful striped leaves open and close throughout like hands in prayer, plus it’s pet-safe.' says Jo Lambell, founder of Beards & Daisies (opens in new tab).
It's pretty easy to care for Prayer Plants, they just need lots of sunlight, a weekly water, and the occasional mist to thrive.
9. Peperomia Rotundifolia
Trailing houseplants make for gorgeous additions to shelves, fireplaces, and window sills, but what options are pet friendly?
'A cute, compact addition to the pet-safe collection, the Trailing Jade has small, round leaves with stems that trail gently outwards as it grows.' suggest Mark McCance, founder of Hortology. 'It will thrive under low or florescent lighting, making them the perfect plant addition to an office or basement flat. As it is classed as a trailing variety, if the stems start to grow a little too long, trimming them down will help to stop them being pulled off surfaces and tabletops.'
And fear not, the ever-popular String of Hearts is pet-friendly too, Jemma adds, 'If you’re looking for something gorgeous to trail from a shelf or bookcase, the String of Hearts ticks every box. But we do recommend you always do your research beforehand to find out if your plant will pose any problems.'
10. Spider Plant
'A quintessential classic, this versatile houseplant is great on worktops and in hanging displays. Easy care, air purifying, and happy to be left to its own devices, the Curly Spider Plant will thrive is most household locations and is perfect for sprucing up those awkward spaces such as small shelves and the top of cupboards.' says Mark.
'This variety is quite fast growing and sends out shoots with plantlets attached which can be propagated to create your very own homegrown plant family. However, these shoots can grow quite long so cutting these off will stop the plant getting pulled and tugged at.'
When it comes to caring for Spider Plants they are super easy going. So long as you keep that away from direct sunlight and water them when the soil feels dry they will thrive.
What house plants are toxic to pets?
So we've covered the best pet-friendly houseplants, but what types should you be avoiding?
'Ficus and Euphorbias should be avoided for their sap, but there are plants that should be avoided just for their leaves like the Dieffenbachia, known as dumb cane, because when ingested by humans it can cause loss of speech, but with dogs (and cats) it can be fatal.' explains Dom of Plant Drop.
'If your cats or dogs are prone to nibbling, there are some plants its best to avoid keeping in your home. Lilies in any form are toxic to pets, so Peace Lilies are best avoided. Devil’s ivy lives up to its name when it comes to pets, too – it can cause irritation and vomiting, so keep away from any furry friends. Unfortunately, the handsome Monstera Deliciosa is toxic to cats and dogs, too, so choose an equally gorgeous, pet-safe plant instead.' adds Jo of Beards & Daisies.
Are ferns pet friendly?
Some ferns are pet-friendly yes. The Boston Fern and Bird's Nest Fern for example are totally fine to have in a home with pets. However, some ferns are toxic like the Asparagus Fern. If ever in doubt about whether or not a houseplant is toxic opt for something else (better to be safe than sorry) and always do your research or ask for advice from the plant shop or garden center you are purchasing from.
Are spider plants pet friendly?
Yes! Spider plants are pet friendly and they are super easy to maintain too so ideal if you are less green-fingered. However, they may be non-toxic but their long leaves do make for tempting play things, so consider positioning and if it's the best choice for you and your pet.
'Spider plants are technically considered safe for both cats and dogs but cats are more likely to play with them and nibble them as they are mildly hallucinogenic to them, so these are better pet-safe plants for those with dogs.' says Mia Venes of The Nunhead Gardener (opens in new tab).
'They are great for purifying the air and won't harm dogs if they do choose to bite some. Cats are generally more likely to play with plants that have long thin leaves, as well as the fact they can climb higher and access plants on shelves and so a little more caution is advised than with dogs.'
Where to buy pet-friendly houseplants online
Lowes (opens in new tab) has a vast selection of every type of plant, really affordably priced. It is particularly good for a tall, architectural and structural plant.
Bloomscape (opens in new tab) sells all the most desirable plants, from Ficus to Callasia Pink Panthers, all packaged up with beautiful fonts (an important point, believe us).
The Sill (opens in new tab) not only sells a smart variety of modern house plants, but even smarter variety of even more modern looking planters.
Patch Plants (opens in new tab) has taken over the plant delivery world, beloved by Instagrammers for having all the most aesthetic variations.
Hebe is the Digital Editor of Livingetc; she has a background in lifestyle and interior journalism and a passion for renovating small spaces. You'll usually find her attempting DIY, whether it's spray painting her whole kitchen, don't try that at home, or ever changing the wallpaper in her hallway. Livingetc has been such a huge inspiration and has influenced Hebe's style since she moved into her first rental and finally had a small amount of control over the decor and now loves being able to help others make decisions when decorating their own homes. Last year she moved from renting to owning her first teeny tiny Edwardian flat in London with her whippet Willow (who yes she chose to match her interiors...) and is already on the lookout for her next project.
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