Plants are so pretty and seem so harmless, we often forget some species aren’t pet friendly and contain poisonous compounds. So, before you impulse-buy that fiddle leaf fig, you’ll want to check if it’s safe for your pets (it’s not!), or else your furbaby could end up in the emergency clinic, along with a hefty bill from the vet. To make your plant shopping process a little easier, we’ve put together this list of our favorite non-toxic plants that won’t harm cats or dogs.
Most palms are safe to keep around animals, but we especially love the areca palm for its large size and sleek, elegant fronds. Their height—often reaching up to 6–7 feet—and their tolerance for low-to-moderate light conditions makes them ideal for brightening up empty corners in the room.
As far as maintenance goes, these houseplants are pretty chill. Wait for the top couple of inches of soil to dry out between watering, and mist the leaves occasionally to help clear off dust and provide some extra humidity. If you sprinkle a little bit of controlled release fertilizer containing potassium onto the soil, this will help it grow faster and more lush, but don’t add too much, or it may cause the leaves to turn brown.
These classic succulents are loved for their swirls of petal-like foliage, and with enough sun, they can sprout tall flower stalks covered with bright little blossoms in pink, orange, or yellow. They’re quite cute on their own in small, ornamental containers as a decorative accent for bookshelves, coffee tables, and desks, but they also do quite well in container arrangements with other succulents.
Plant your echeveria in a potting medium formulated especially for cacti or succulents. Water them regularly, about once a week in the spring and summer, and once every two weeks in fall and winter. If your chosen container doesn’t have drainage holes, make sure you don’t overdo it with the water, and place it in a warm spot by the window, so moisture doesn’t collect in the bottom and lead to rot.
It’s no surprise why this trendy houseplant earned its nickname! Its large, flat leaves are slim at the base, but fan out just like antlers! And, similarly to actual antlers, you can mount your elkhorn fern on a piece of wood and hang it on the wall. It’s epiphytic, just like an orchid, which means in the wild it attaches itself to trees and doesn’t require soil to grow. They’ll need a little bundle of peat moss or some other planting medium stuffed underneath it, but a couple small drops of hot glue will help to keep it in place.
Elkhorn ferns can tolerate low light conditions, but bright, indirect light is best. They don’t like humid air very much, so try to avoid placing them close to a humidifier, or somewhere like the washroom where the steam of your shower will build up in the air. If you use a little bit of water soluble fertilizer on them once per month, you’ll notice some pretty impressive growth results.
Also known as the prayer plant, this botanical busybody is in a constant, but slow, state of motion, repositioning its leaves all day long as the sunlight levels shift. Have you ever seen a time lapse video of maranta plants dancing throughout the day? It’s kinda mesmerizing. Not only that, but their leaves have incredible color patterns. Some varieties have bright lime and forest leaves with deep pink stems and undersides, while others have softer jade green leaves with deep emerald splotches.
Bright, direct sun is a bit too intense for the maranta, so avoid placing it right by any South-facing windows. They prefer to be watered once every week or two, but they can be a bit sensitive to the minerals in our tap water, which can build up in the soil and cause discoloration. To prevent this, we recommend letting a cup of water sit out for a few days so the compounds evaporate, or you can just purchase distilled water.
You gotta love this peculiar looking succulent—one of the few trailing varieties with long foliage that trails downward from their containers, making it a perfect plant for hanging baskets. Their ropey strands of plump, succulent leaves kind of look like little green grapes! They can grow quite large, up to 3 feet wide, and its stems can grow up to 4 feet long if left unpruned.
This sedum variety is pretty easy to propagate, so feel free to prune off part of the longer dangling stems, remove the leaves from the bottom third of the cutting, allow the cuts to dry up and callus, and then replant the cutting in a loose potting medium. You’ll only need to water it once every two weeks, and if you’re lucky, it might sprout some little flower clusters on the ends of some of its stems. It does best in bright, indirect light, so we recommend hanging it in an East or North-facing window.
This small-sized succulent comes in plenty of different varieties—some with long, spiky leaves like an aloe plant, and others with plump, swirling rosettes like an echeveria. The taller varieties, such as the striped zebra haworthia, are great for putting in the middle of mixed succulent arrangements, because their upright form makes a great central focal point.
While haworthias generally like a lot of sun, they adapt well to lower light conditions indoors, so they’re pretty easy to keep happy. As with any other succulent, make sure that soil drains well, and water generously, but without enough time in between to allow the soil to dry out. Scale back a bit on watering in the wintertime, and if their leaves start to turn yellow, place them a little farther away from their light source, as this is a sign of sun scorch.
Whether you grow this peculiar vining plant in a pot with a trellis, or in a hanging basket, its glossy leaves and star-shaped blooms never fail to brighten the room. Their flower clusters are usually pastel pink or white with dark magenta centers. Some varieties even have variegated leaves that look as though they were hand painted with splashes of white, silvery mint, or pink.
If you decide to grow your hoya in a pot with a trellis, we recommend looping the vines around the trellis and securing them loosely in place with a little bit of twine or florists wire, to create a more voluminous appearance. When the plant is forming flower buds, don’t move it to a new location in the room—this change in light levels can cause the buds to drop off.
Ready to add to some new greenery to your home collection? Grab one of these pet-safe houseplants from OC Succulents, and if your cat or dog randomly decides to wrestle for no reason, as cats and dogs seem to do, you won’t have to worry about them getting sick! And hey, if they end up popping off a couple of the leaves, you can always just try and propagate them into a new plant!