Non Toxic Houseplants: Safe For Family & Pets
Transitioning to a more sustainable lifestyle means choosing eco friendly alternatives for the entire family, and this includes your pets, too! Some changes I have been making lately include buying eco friendly dog toys, eco friendly cat litter, and non toxic houseplants.
Why consider non toxic houseplants?
1. Fabulous health benefits
Having a few houseplants in your home has shown to reduce stress, improve productivity, and boost your mood! They are also the best air purifiers since they are experts at trapping allergens!
2. Cute home decor
If you love nature and the outdoors, houseplants are an affordable way to bring some style and character to your home! With so many different species to choose from, decorating with plants can be tons of fun.
3. A new hobby
Houseplants can give you something to do with your free time and you can spruce up your gardening skills while you're at it! These days, raising houseplants can even be a profitable hobby if you are looking to make some extra money selling plant “pups”.
4. Connecting with nature
If you live in an urban setting like me, houseplants are a great way to bring nature to you! Plus, it can be so relaxing and rewarding to care for something and watch it grow.
Pro tip: As your plants continue to grow, be sure to reuse or recycle your old plant pots to reduce your plastic waste.
5. Tons of options
There is a houseplant for everyone no matter your budget, space, or lifestyle. In fact, there are thousands of different kinds of plants that can grow indoors! All you need is a few bucks, a water source, and a window. This makes keeping houseplants one of the most accessible hobbies out there.
A few other things to keep in mind before bringing plants home
1. Some are dangerous to pets
Many houseplants contain toxic compounds which can be harmful to pets or children like oxalates, cardiac glycosides, and solanine. Depending on the toxin and level of exposure, side effects from ingesting these plants can include nausea, vomiting, skin irritations, liver failure, and breathing difficulties.
For this reason, we won't be recommending any of these to you today!
But indoor non toxic plants aren’t completely worry-free, either. Even if a plant is labeled “non-toxic”, it still might be dangerous if it's been ingested by one of your pets since their stomachs aren’t used to eating large amounts of raw plant material.
If your pet ingests a plant and starts showing any symptoms mentioned above, take them to a vet right away! You can also call the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) pet poison helpline at (888) 426-4435.
2. Plants can be messy
Mixing fertilizer and repotting plants can be messy at the best of times. I recommend doing these kinds of tasks in your backyard or on your balcony to make the cleanup easier.
Having houseplants means you can't go on vacation without watering them or making sure they are taken care of! If you don't care for your plants properly, they can develop mold and fungus which can actually release spores into the air of your home… you don't want to breathe that stuff.
Pro tip: I would recommend making your own compost at home and occasionally spreading it on the soil of your non toxic houseplant to keep it happy and healthy.
5. Insects and animals
Houseplants (and compost) can sometimes attract insects or animals if you aren’t keeping a close eye on your plant.
Are houseplants safe?
Houseplants are safe as long as you do your research beforehand! And here is the good news, reading this article is your first step toward getting your next non toxic houseplants!
If you are even in doubt if a plant is toxic or not, the ASPCA has a list of all the different plants that have been reported to be dangerous for your pets. According to their website, plants are the 8th most reported pet poison and 6% of poisoning incidents are from indoor plants.
Pro tip: Plants are not dog toys!! To prevent your pets from chewing on your plants, you can spray a little apple cider vinegar or lemon on the plant.
Did you know that not all houseplants are safe for our beloved pets?
It’s true! If mistaken for food, some houseplants can cause irreversible damage to their health. While this is a terrifying thought for any pet owner, there are so many houseplants out there that will look great in our home while also being safe for our pets!
What are the best non toxic house plants for cats?
Unlike dogs, cats can still jump up to access a plant that has been placed higher up and out of reach, so buying a plant that is non toxic for them is VERY important.
1. Bamboo Palm/Areca Palm (Dypsis Lutescens)
Bamboo Palm is very low maintenance which makes them one of the most popular houseplants. Bonus, they aren't toxic to cats OR dogs! To keep your Bamboo Palm happy, place it in bright, indirect sunlight and mist it with water regularly.
2. Birds Nest Fern (Asplenium Nidus)
From southeast asia, Birds Nest Fern would typically grow on trees, cliffs and in more shaded areas. This makes it well suited to be a non toxic houseplant because it can put up with low light and sporadic watering.
3. Haworthia Zebra (Haworthia Attenuata)
I had to include a succulent in this list! Originating from Africa, the Haworthia Zebra is one of the succulents safe for cats and for dogs. For those who want an aloe plant but don’t want to put your cat at risk, this is a great substitute.
4. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum)
I think Spider Plants are one of the easiest indoor non toxic plants to grow since they are so low maintenance and nearly impossible to kill (they are also safe for cats and dogs)!
Spider Plants can put up with a wide range of conditions including indirect sunlight and underwatering. When you do water them, be careful not to completely saturate the soil since they like to dry out fully between watering.
5. Calathea Rattlesnake (Calathea Lancifolia)
The Calathea Rattlesnake also can put up with low, indirect light but you need to remember to water this one in the spring and summer or it might begin to wilt!
6. African Violet (Saintpaulia)
Cats love rubbing their faces up against the African Violet’s soft leaves! While they are one of the most popular indoor flowering houseplants, the downside with this one is that it is pretty temperamental. The plant prefers lukewarm water and you cannot get the leaves wet so you must be careful to water it from the bottom.
7. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis)
Your cat will love to play with the shaggy leaves of Boston Ferns. Although your cat might have a ball playing with the fern, you might want to keep it up and away (most of the time) to avoid losing too many leaves.
To care for a Boston fern, place it in a high-humidity environment and keep the soil damp but not completely saturated. You will know you are underwatering your Boston Fern if the leaves are starting to turn yellow.
What are the best non toxic houseplants for dogs?
As a general rule of thumb, plants that are safe for cats are also safe for dogs. But, there are a few non toxic houseplants for dogs that we haven't talked about yet!
1. Chinese Money Plant (Pilea Peperomioides)
Chinese Money Plants have very distinctly shaped leaves which are why they are sometimes called a coin or pancake plant. Like spider plants, they prefer indirect light and prefer to dry out completely between waterings.
2. Cast-Iron Plant (Aspidistra Elatior)
Cast-Iron plants are great for dog owners. They can grow quite large and tall so your dog won’t knock them over. Cast-Iron Plants are also easy to take care of since they can put up with lower light levels.
3. Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Basil prefers lots of direct sunlight so this is a great one to grow on your windowsill. As long as you keep up with waterings, Basil makes a great dog-friendly houseplant!
Popular houseplants That ARE Toxic to Pets
If you have any of these plants in your home, be sure to keep them out of reach from your pets since many of them will lead to vomiting, diarrhea, (or worse) if ingested.
- Sago Palm (Cycas Revoluta)
- Aloe vera (Aloe Barbadensis Miller)
- Snake Plants (Sansevieria)|
- Philodendron Plant (Philodendron)
- Good Luck Plant (Dracaena Sanderiana)
- English Ivy Plant (Hedera Helix)
- Jade Plants (Crassula Ovata)
- Hibiscus (Hibiscus spp.)
- Hydrangea (Hydrangea spp.)
- Begonia (Begonic spp.)
You can check out the ASPCA website for a full list of all houseplants that are toxic to pets.
Tips for choosing the right houseplants
1. Pick the best light
Think about how much lighting is in your home. While some plants like direct sunlight, others prefer indirect or more shady areas. If your light source is facing south, west, or east, you will get the best light. For indoor non toxic plants that like more shady spots, put them in front of your north-facing windows.
2. This is about how much free time you have
Some indoor non toxic plants require more attention than others. If you tend to be the forgetful type, I would steer clear from buying a plant that is going to be high maintenance and fussy about lighting and watering times.
3. Consider the temperature of your home
During the winter, we switch on our central heating to keep our homes warm and toasty. But this switch in heat and humidity will cause some non toxic indoor plants to react badly. Also, any cold drafts coming through your windows from the winter air will likely cause some problems. Once again, think about the conditions of your home before buying a temperamental plant.
4. Decide how much money you're willing to spend
Non toxic indoor plants can be expensive! A general rule of thumb is that plants that are larger or less common are more expensive. If you are new to indoor gardening, maybe start with a less expensive plant until you get the hang of it.
A final word on non toxic houseplants
If you’re anything like me, you’ll try and always choose pet products that are eco friendly and won't cause any harm to your pets — they really are family after all. And next time you’re out shopping for a new houseplant, keep your pets and mind and consider non toxic houseplants!
You will gain so many benefits from owning a houseplant including better health, cleaner air, and a new hobby. But perhaps best of all, you can rest easy knowing your fluffy friend will be safe and sound!