Pet Safe Plants

In Blog, Feature, Gardening, Houseplants, Tonkadale Greenhouse by Megan NicholsLeave a Comment

Plants and pets increase the quality of our lives and are important for our well-being. To have both is incredibly beneficial, but doing so means knowing which plants are safe for pets in order to keep everyone healthy and happy.

Benefits of Indoor Plants

As if we needed reasons to have houseplants, here are just a few of the benefits of growing plants indoors. Did you know – Plants in our homes remove toxins in the air created by synthetic fabrics, paints, and other materials (even books give off toxins!). Plants help us breath better and increase the humidity, keeping our lungs and skin happier and healthier, overall. Plants in places of work and learning increase focus, decrease stress, reduce sickness and absence rates, boost creativity, and create a sense of community.

With all these benefits to be had, we surely need indoor plants (at least a few if not in abundance). When we have fur babies, though, the first consideration must be which plants will cause no harm should our furry friends sample them. 

So what does toxic mean when it comes to plants? Plants considered toxic can vary significantly in the level of harm or potential harm. Most toxic plants will cause skin irritation, drooling, and perhaps vomiting and other relatively mild upset-stomach issues. Usually pets learn not to chew on that plant again after an uncomfortable experience. Some plants are dangerous though, and the myths surrounding some plants make it difficult to tell the difference between mild and dangerous toxicity. Poinsettias, for example, would need to be eaten in large quantities to cause significant harm. But, only a small amount of an Easter Lily needs to be ingested to cause painful death for kitties.

General Tips

Know Your Pet. Some animals never show interest in plants. Others will paw, shred, and devour leaves and flowers, and some will dump the whole plant over and tromp around in the dirt.

Keeping plants out of reach of pets is best. Dog owners usually find this doable, and cat owners know this is easier said than done. Consider hanging plants, but beware of the possibility of pets hurtling through the air in an attempt to access the plants. If your pet eats even a non-toxic plant, keep a close eye on them. Although not toxic, he still may not feel well, especially if he ate a lot of it! 

If you’re unsure how your pet will react to plants, start with varieties known to be safe. Best practice when shopping for safe plants is to know not just the common name of a plant but also the botanical name, as common names can vary.

Good to Grow

Here are just a few to get you started.

Low light tolerant plants:

  • Cast Iron Plant(Aspidistra elatior)
  • Prayer Plant and Calathea (Maranta family)

Medium light:

  • Spider Plant (Anthericum comosum)
  • Goldfish plant (Hypocyrta nummularia)
  • Bromeliads and Cryptanthus
  • Air Plant (Tillandsia)
  • Staghorn Fern (Platycerium bifurcatum)
  • Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exalta bostoniensis)
  • Majesty Palm (Ravenea rivularis)
  • Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
  • Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)

Bright, indirect light:

  • Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii)
  • Hoya
  • Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus humilis)
  • Peperomia (several varieties)
  • Haworthia (many varieties)
  • Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla)
  • African Violet (Saintpaulia)

Bright light:

  • Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) 
  • Burro’s Tail (Sedum morganianum)

Have fun curating your pet-safe collection!

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