Animals are curious creatures. They sniff, paw and dig their way through life – and this can be especially true when you add new plants to your home. But instead of panicking every time you see Mr. Whiskers nibbling on your kangaroo fern, know that there are plenty of ways for your furry and green family members to co-exist in unison carefree and non-toxic.
“Many of us share a living space with a cat or a dog, or both! It is therefore essential to keep in mind the toxicity of plants when picking a houseplant to protect them said Erin Marino, plant expert at The Sill, an indoor plant store that offers educational workshops.
Marino explained that plant toxicity is something that occurs naturally as part of a plant’s evolutionary defense mechanism.
“Most plants create or secrete what are called secondary plant metabolites to defend themselves. They’ve been doing this for millions of years! For example, the poisonous sap of the popular rubber tree (or Ficus elastica) protects it from many herbivores,” she said.
Some of these secretions can be not only toxic, but deadly to pets. However, Marino said there are many factors that go into determining whether or not a poisonous plant poses a complete threat to your pet.
“It really depends on the animal and their level of interest. And it’s important to note that the plant, or part of the plant, has to be ingested to affect your animal. Simply being in the same room, maybe being on a shelf out of reach can be perfectly fine.
Marino suggests keeping plants out of reach by using ceiling brackets, raised shelves, and plant stands.
However, if you want to be on the safe side or have a particularly curious pet, Marino said it’s best to avoid bulbous plants like daffodils, lilies and hyacinths, as well as very hot pothos. popular and suitable for beginners. plant.
“Other popular poisonous plants include heartleaf philodendron, ZZ plant and peace lily,” she added.
Marino also noted that just because a plant is non-toxic doesn’t mean it’s necessarily edible — it just means it won’t make your pet seriously ill if they eat it. Organizations like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offer great resources for learning which types of indoor and outdoor plants pose a potential threat to your pet and which are safer options.
For some of Marino’s favorite non-toxic plants, plus other pet-friendly choices and suggestions on where to position them, keep reading the list below.
An easy-care tropical palm
“The parlor palm thrives in medium to bright indirect light, but can tolerate low indirect light,” Marino says. “Unlike the palms you see at the beach, this palm is not suited to intense, direct sun. It will be happiest in full, indirect sun if possible with water every one to two weeks. Fun fact: this The plant has been cultivated since the Victorian era and was (and still is) prized for its resistance to indoor conditions and its laid-back nature.
A fuss-free neon-hued plant native to the forests of Brazil
With striking oval green leaves that feature a chartreuse herringbone pattern, this neon prayer plant gets its name from the fact that it folds its closed leaves at night, much like hands clasped in prayer. This vibrant plant benefits the most from lower indirect sunlight and humid conditions, similar to what they would experience on the rainforest floor.
An easy-going houseplant that blooms occasionally
Also known as baby rubber, Peperomia obtusifolia has thicker, succulent leaves and sprouts white flower spikes about once a year. “A popular variety of peperomia, obtusifolia doesn’t need much to thrive. It can tolerate a wide range of conditions from bright to low light, but does best in bright to medium indirect light with water every one to two weeks,” Marino mentioned.
A Brazilian air plant with a long flowering period
For a whimsical splash of color in your home, this potted air plant known as Bromeliad aechmea pink is pet-safe and features dusty pink flowers that can last up to six months per bloom. In their native environment, they grow on trees and absorb most of their nutrients through their silver-dusted foliage. They prefer indirect sunlight and humid environments and should be filled halfway with water through the central cone of the plant, rather than soil.
A delicate looking fern that is one of the easiest to care for
“Bird’s Nest Fern is one of the easiest ferns to care for indoors. It can tolerate bright to low indirect light (does best in between), with weekly waterings. It can also benefit from ‘a little extra moisture,’ Marino said. This six inch leafy fern comes pre-potted in a woven planter.
A self-propagated plant with original round leaves
The perennial grass Pilea peperomioides, native to southern China, grows coin-shaped leaves and is fairly easy to care for. Marino said it thrives in direct, bright light and should be watered every one to two weeks, allowing the soil to dry out completely between waterings.
A unique cactus with trailing ric-rac stems
Best recognized for its zigzag stems, this succulent is known as the ric-rac cactus. According to Marino, you should err on the side of overwatering, allowing the soil to completely dry out between waterings. “It thrives in direct to indirect direct light and should be watered every two weeks,” she said.
A whimsical sage-colored air plant
A beautiful cream colored orchid
“Lovingly called the Beginner Orchid, the popular, pet-safe Phalaenopsis orchid is one of the easiest orchid varieties to grow,” Marino says. “It usually blooms about once a year, for up to three months. After one bloom cycle, the flowers wilt and drop off. This is the orchid’s way of storing energy to bloom again next season. It thrives in indirect sunlight with weekly waterings.”
A set of five handmade macrame plant holders
For an especially tenacious pet that won’t leave your houseplants alone, Marino suggested elevating your plants in some way, either with shelves, raised plant supports or hanging planters. . Using 100% cotton cordage, these handwoven macrame planters can be dip-dyed to add a pop of color or stay natural. They are also available in different sizes and lengths to accommodate different ceiling heights and flower pot sizes.
A floating plant saucer for a magical, pet-friendly display
These adjustable hanging saucers offer a minimalist design approach to plant display and can help keep plants away from curious creatures. They’re made from 80% recycled plastic, come in five different colors, and are both UV-resistant and waterproof so you can water your plants directly on them and also hang them in brightly lit spaces.
A raised plant stand to keep plants away from pets
For a modern tiered display, this raised plant stand can be a great option to have in your home. Designed and manufactured in a small Los Angeles company as part of the local West Elm initiative, this rack is made from hand-welded steel and is available in five different colors.