pet-friendly-houseplantsIn the dark winter months, many of us seek to keep the greener days going by growing indoor plants including tropicals, succulents and cacti, and other exotic plants that require warmer temperatures. We’re happy to offer a great selection of such plants, including some more unique and unusual varieties suitable for all sorts of home or office locations.

Picking a new houseplant isn’t always an easy decision. Even if we like the look of a plant, we have to consider the lighting, watering, and maintenance needs of it. Some thrive with neglect while others need more frequent attention. As well, in many cases our tastes and the plant’s needs aren’t the only considerations — our feline and canine friends should also have a say!

Some cats and dogs are completely indifferent to indoor plants and will rarely give them any notice. Others won’t hesitate to chow down on your houseplants the moment you bring them inside! While this is obviously detrimental to your new plant, it can also have serious repercussions for your pets. Some tropicals are perfectly safe for your pets to nibble on but others are quite poisonous and can cause serious and immediate adverse health issues.

Pet Poison Protocol

If you suspect your pet has consumed a poisonous plant, call or take your pet to a veterinarian right away. Be sure to have the name of the plant readily available — try and have both the scientific and common name, in fact, as your vet will likely require one or the other to help identify the type of toxin your pet has ingested. If you don’t have this information available, bring a sample of the plant with you to help narrow it down.

Thankfully, not all houseplants are toxic to cats and dogs. We’ve compiled a list of a few popular houseplants that your furry friends are safe to nibble on. With this list, keep in mind: like humans, our pets are unique individuals, and one cat or dog may respond to a plant differently than another. Even plants that are considered safe may cause digestive upset or other non-life-threatening problems.

We’ve chosen to focus on cats and dogs with this list: birds, reptiles, and other more unusual pets have different dietary needs and it should not be assumed this list is in any way relevant to them! The best practise is to encourage your pets to avoid eating your plants altogether, or to keep your plants in places inaccessible to your pets – behind a closed door, on a high shelf, et cetera.

A Selection of Pet-Safe Houseplants:

  • African Violet (Saintpaulia)
  • Air Plant (Tillandsia)
  • Asparagus Fern (Asparagus sprengeri)
  • Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra)
  • Chenille Plant (Acalypha)
  • Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera)
  • Fern – Maidenhair (Adiantum)
  • Fern – Boston (Nephrolepsis exalta)
  • Fern – Rabbit’s Foot (Davallia)
  • Fern – Bird’s Nest (Asplenium)/li>
  • Hibiscus
  • Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria)
  • Most Orchids (Orchidacae) – call us for more information!
  • Palm – Areca (Dypsis)
  • Palm – Christmas (Veitchia)
  • Peperomia
  • Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes)
  • Prayer Plant (Maranta)
  • Spider Plants (Chlorophytum)
  • Some Succulents (Echevaria, Sedum) – call us for more information!
  • Zebra Plants (Aphelandra)

Along with this list, we’ve provided a list of houseplants that you should generally avoid if you have a pet with a perpetual case of the munchies. Some of these items are highly toxic, causing lasting damage to the kidneys, heart, or liver of your pets. In less severe cases, they can lead to some unpleasant gastro-intestinal issues, drooling and mouth irritation, and either excitement or lethargy, depending on the plant and the pet. Some pets may be more or less sensitive to their effects.

Use Caution With These Houseplants:

  • Aloe vera
  • Anthurium
  • Arrowhead Plant (Nephthytis)
  • Bay Laurel (Laurus)
  • Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia)
  • Calla Lily (Zantedeschia)
  • Chamomile (Anthemis)
  • Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
  • Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans)
  • Cyclamen
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Most Dracaena – call us for more information!
  • Easter Lily (Lilium)
  • Elephant Ears (Colocasia)
  • Figs (Ficus)
  • Kalanchoe
  • Lavender (Lavandula)/
  • Palm – Sago (Zamia)
  • Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
  • Pepper – Ornamental (Solanum)
  • Philodendron
  • Pothos Plant (Scindapsus)
  • Primrose (Primula)
  • Schefflera
  • Shamrock Plant (Oxalis)
  • Snake Plant (Sansevieria)
  • Spike Plant (Cordyline)
  • Umbrella Tree (Schefflera)
  • Yucca

We have only included items in our list that we ordinarily carry as houseplants — it is by no means a complete list. You might also notice that poinsettias are conspicuously absent — this is because while they aren’t actually all that toxic (a pet would have to consume more poinsettias than the average person has in their house at Christmas to become seriously hurt), they are still quite irritating to the digestive tract of cats and dogs.

When in doubt about a plant’s toxicity, always consult a veterinarian. If you’re in doubt about what type of plant you have, though, we can help with that! Give us a call or e-mail us. We’ll likely ask for a picture and brief description, but we have many experts on staff who can help I.D. your mystery plants.

If you find your cat has a particularly voracious appetite for greens, we carry cat grass seeds which can be easily grown in a sunny window and are an excellent substitute for the generally more expensive houseplant! Contact us to check on their availability.