20 Pet-Safe Indoor Houseplants for Cats and Dogs (2024)

Filling your home with live plants is great for your health, but it’s important to ensure those plants are safe for your pets.

Stephanie Colestock
Stephanie Colestock

Stephanie is a DC-based freelance writer specializing in personal finance. Her work covers insurance, loans, real estate investing, retirement, and more.

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Danny Smith
Edited byDanny Smith
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  • 4+ years in content creation and marketing

As Insurify’s home and pet insurance editor, Danny also specializes in auto insurance. His goal is to help consumers navigate the complex world of insurance buying.

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Updated November 6, 2023

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Houseplants can be a great addition to any living space, contributing to your home’s aesthetic and purifying the air. But if you have pets in your home, it’s important to ensure that any plants you have are non-toxic to cats and dogs.

Rather than risk your pet’s health or life by keeping toxic plants around, here are 20 pet-safe plants to consider.

Importance of plant safety in pet homes

Many pets are attracted to houseplants because of their smell, appearance, or accessibility. This is especially true if you have a curious kitten or puppy in your home who might be prone to playing with leaves or putting just about anything in their mouths.

Ingesting certain plants can harm or even kill your pet, though, so it’s imperative that you only add indoor plants that are non-toxic to your home with animals living with you. Be sure that the plants you choose are non-toxic to the specific animals you have in your home, or opt for safe plants for both cats and dogs.

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Best pet-safe houseplants

There are pet-friendly plants, and some are only safe for cats or dogs. Depending on the pets in your home, you may need to look around to find plants safe for everyone in your home.

Here are 20 of the best pet-safe houseplants for cats and dogs and how to care for each.

Spider plant

Not only are spider plants easy to care for, they also improve the air quality in your home by removing benzene, xylene, formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide from the air. It’s safe for both cats and dogs, making it a good choice for any pet-friendly family.

Care: Spider plants are resilient and can easily withstand neglect, so they’re an easy option. These plants enjoy medium to bright light, average humidity, and a wide range of indoor temperatures. Spider plants grow quickly and need frequent repotting to avoid crowding their roots.[1]

Calathea

While caring for this tropical plant might initially be a challenge for anyone without a green thumb, a Calathea can be a beautiful and non-toxic addition to any space. Calatheas come in a variety of patterns and colors that thrive with a bit of attention.

Care: Because the Calathea is native to tropical rainforests — where the tree canopy overhead shades it — it doesn’t enjoy direct sunlight. You’ll need to keep it humid with regular misting and find a spot that’s warm but with indirect light.[1]

Boston fern

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance houseplant that can survive in most conditions in your home while also not harming your pet, consider the Boston fern. Like most true ferns, the Boston fern is safe for both dogs and cats while also purifying your home’s air.

Care: Caring for a Boston fern is relatively easy, as it requires indirect or partial light and the occasional misting. It’s great for open spaces as well as bathrooms or even shaded porches.[2]

Money tree

Aside from the enticing name, the Chinese Money plant is safe for both cats and dogs and is said to bring luck, good energy, and prosperity to the owner.[3]

Care: Money trees are tropical and will require high humidity along with bright, indirect light to thrive. This might mean putting it in well-draining soil on a tray of pebbles with water or even misting the plant frequently.

Begonia

If you’re looking for a great gift or just want a potted plant with a unique look, consider buying a begonia. These trailing plants are non-toxic to both cats and dogs and will occasionally reward you with a beautiful bloom.[3]

Care: Some species of begonia like more light than others, so you may need to move yours around to find out where it thrives. This might also mean moving the plant in the summertime so it doesn’t get too much direct light. Begonias like to stay evenly moist but never soggy.

Bottle palm

Also known as a ponytail plant or elephant foot tree, the bottle palm is a frondy and fun addition to any home. It’s safe for cats and dogs and is relatively easy to care for indoors.[3]

Care: Bottle palms can be easily grown in a container as long as you have a sunny spot for them to reside. They enjoy up to eight hours of sunlight per day as well as infrequent watering. You may also need to wipe dust off of the fronds on occasion using a lightly damp rag.

Peperomia

The peperomia is a fun, shiny-leaf plant that thrives in indoor pots and behaves almost like a succulent (except it’s pet-safe). It’s non-toxic to dogs and cats and really enjoys humid areas of your home.[3]

Care: Keep peperomia out of direct sunlight. The leaves retain water like succulents and don’t enjoy overwatering, making them a lower-maintenance option. They thrive in warmer environments, so a humid and warm kitchen or bathroom is ideal.

Orchid

One of the most beautiful houseplants you could add to your space is an orchid. With an array of colorful flowers to choose from, this large-leaved plant provides you with a lovely decor piece that’s also non-toxic to your cats and dogs.[3]

Care: Keeping an orchid alive and thriving is the tricky part, as they require just the right amount of bright, filtered light to avoid scorching and encourage future blooms. Orchids like to be watered once a week or so, depending on whether or not it’s currently blooming. Low-light conditions are the most common reasons these beautiful plants fail to bloom.

Venus fly trap

Despite their carnivorous nature, these plants are great in any house and can even provide you with entertainment while being non-toxic to dogs and cats.[3]

Care: A Venus fly trap can be a challenge to care for, at least until you get the hang of their needs. This plant enjoys at least four hours of daily, direct sunlight in addition to filtered water. Nutrient-poor soil with good drainage will help it thrive, and it’s important to note that it’ll have an annual dormancy period each winter.

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Gloxinia

This soft, velvet-leafed plant provides you with beautiful flowers in the spring and can even be taken outdoors during the summer. It is non-toxic for cats and dogs, as well.[3]

Care: Gloxinia enjoy bright but indirect sunlight and consistent moisture indoors. A dormancy period occurs between blooms, during which time you’ll want to cut back on watering a bit. If you move this plant outdoors for the summer, make sure it’s in a shaded spot.

Christmas cactus

The Christmas cactus is a non-toxic plant to both cats and dogs and belongs to the succulent family. Its name comes from its tendency to bloom in the winter months — usually around Christmas and Easter time — though it requires more frequent watering than a true cactus.[3] 

Care: You should only water Christmas cacti when the top third of the soil feels dry. When the plant is flowering, it may require more water. They like bright, indirect sunlight and rooms with higher humidity, like kitchens or bathrooms.

Marigold

If you enjoy colorful flowers, the non-toxic marigold can add some brightness to your home while also keeping your cats and dogs safe. These plants can grow year-round indoors and will provide you with beautiful orange, yellow, or red flowers.[3]

Care: Marigolds require a lot of light, so plan on at least five hours of direct sunlight per day. However, to encourage blooming, it also needs about 12 hours of darkness each night. Marigolds like frequent watering but don’t appreciate being soggy, so opt for a well-draining soil and pot.

African violet

If you’re looking for a small plant that will provide you with a pop of color all year long, the African violet is worth a look. This plant is small, making it ideal on tabletops, in windowsills, or in hanging baskets. It’s also safe for cats and dogs alike.[3]

Care: African violets enjoy a lot of sunlight and high humidity but don’t like being misted, so keeping them in a humid room (such as a bathroom) is ideal. They also like moderate to warm temperatures but are sensitive to temperature fluctuations, so be aware of any potential drafts.

Bamboo palm

Another safe houseplant option for cats and dogs is the bamboo palm, also known as a good luck palm or fishtail dwarf palm. Depending on your lighting and pot size, these miniature palms can grow from four to 12 feet tall, making them an excellent statement piece in the larger rooms of your home.[3]

Care: They like medium or bright filtered light and enjoy drying out a bit between watering. Keep the temperature medium to warm and keep the plant out of direct sunlight.

Bromeliad

The bromeliad is a colorful and long-living houseplant that comes in a variety of styles and hues. This plant is safe for both cats and dogs and flowers before producing pups that can be repotted to form new plants.[3]

Care: Bromeliad enjoy bright, indirect light and humid air. Don’t allow the soil to get soggy, but regularly mist the leaves to maintain humidity.

Gerbera daisy

Looking for a vibrant, flowering plant that’s safe for dogs and cats? Gerbera daisies offer bright blooms that add a pop of color to your home all year long.[3]

Care: Well-draining soil and frequent watering will keep your gerbera daisy happy. They enjoy a lot of bright, filtered sunlight and good air circulation, as well. You can keep this plant outdoors during the summer, but be sure to bring it inside once the temperatures begin to drop.

Aluminum plant

This low-maintenance houseplant provides you with fun, metallic leaves and is non-toxic to both your cats and dogs.[3]

Care: Aluminum plants are easy to care for, requiring a bright, indirectly sunny spot in your home and even watering. You may need to mist the leaves on occasion, depending on the humidity in your space, and offer a bit more water in the spring and summer than in the colder months.

Friendship plant

Whether you buy for yourself or a loved one, friendship plants are a fun and non-toxic choice for pet owners. These houseplants grow to be about 12 inches tall with soft, patterned leaves and the occasional pink blooms. They can be easily propagated into new plants that make great gifts, explaining their common name.[3]

Care: Friendship plants enjoy bright, indirect sunlight and high humidity. You may need to water more often in the growing seasons than you do in fall or winter.

Kitchen herbs

While you probably don’t want your pet playing with plants that you’ll eventually eat or use for cooking, it’s good to know that many kitchen herbs, such as sage, rosemary, and basil, are safe for your cats and dogs.[3]

Care: Most herbs enjoy regular watering and bright, indirect sunlight, such as a kitchen window. You can avoid root rot by not overwatering.

Wax plant

One of the most common houseplants is the wax plant, which boasts slender vines, waxy leaves, and the occasional white or soft-pink flowers in the blooming seasons. Also known as honey plants, they’re non-toxic to dogs and cats.[3]

Care: Wax plants are in the hoya family and enjoy smaller pots with airy, well-draining soil. Water regularly, but let it dry out a bit between watering, and withhold water in the winter months to avoid root rot. Wax plants like bright, indirect sunlight and frequent fertilization.

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Most unsafe plants for cats

Many plants are mildly unsafe for cats and can cause dermatitis (itching skin), burning in the mouth after ingestion, and similar reactions. These include chrysanthemums (“mums”), irises, poinsettias, and azaleas, to name a few. [3] [4]

Then, of course, some plants are toxic to your cat and can cause vomiting, digestive upset, kidney failure, or even death. Some of these include:

  • Aloe vera

  • Amaryllis

  • Lilies, including Easter lilies, peace lilies, and daylilies

  • Hydrangea

  • Tulip

  • Geranium 

  • Eucalyptus

  • Philodendron

  • Asparagus fern

  • Begonia

  • Pothos or “Devil’s Ivy”

  • Carnations

Most unsafe plants for dogs

Even if they aren’t life-threatening, some plants are still mildly toxic to dogs, causing a burning sensation in the mouth, irritation, or itching on the skin. These might include daylilies (which can irritate sensitive dogs but are toxic to cats), junipers, poinsettias, and tradescantia. [3] [5]

There are also poisonous plants that can be very harmful to dogs and may even be fatal if ingested. These include:

  • Amaryllis

  • Aloe vera

  • Carnations

  • Philodendron

  • Asparagus fern

  • Pothos

  • Tulip

  • Geranium

Best Pet Insurance for Cats (2024)

Best Pet Insurance for Cats (2024)

Pet-safe plants FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about pet-friendly plants and houseplants that are toxic (or non-toxic) to cats and dogs.

  • What hanging plants are safe for cats?

    Many hanging plants are safe for pets, including African violets, Boston fern, burro’s tail, and fishbone cactus, to name a few.

  • Are pet-safe plants completely non-toxic to all pets?

    Some pet-safe plants are only non-toxic to dogs, while others are only non-toxic to cats, so it’s important to research each plant according to the specific pets in your home.

    Additionally, some plants are considered pet-safe but may still cause an allergic reaction in sensitive pets. The ASPCA has a great reference guide on pet-safe plants.

  • What symptoms may your pet display after ingesting a toxic plant?

    Depending on your pet’s sensitivity and the plant’s toxicity, your pet may experience itching, burning of the mouth, drooling, or digestive upset. Severe toxicity can result in abdominal distress, kidney failure, lethargy, seizures, and even death. If you suspect your cat ate a toxic plant, call your vet immediately and keep your cat from eating any more of it.

  • How can you safely keep your pet from ingesting your plants?

    To keep your pet safe from plants, you should always ensure that you only bring non-toxic houseplants into your home. Even non-toxic plants can upset a pet’s stomach if ingested, so putting plants out of reach — such as in a hanging basket or high windowsill — can help prevent your pet from eating them.

Sources

  1. Homes & Gardens. "Best pet-safe indoor plants – 10 house plants to keep your furry friends safe."
  2. Chewy. "9 Air-Purifying Plants Safe for Dogs and Cats."
  3. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants."
  4. Metropolitan Veterinary Center. "Avoid This CAT-Astrophe! 10 Spring Flowers That Are Toxic To Cats."
  5. Leaf & Paw. "A Guide to Tradescantia."
Stephanie Colestock
Stephanie Colestock

Stephanie is a DC-based freelance writer. She primarily covers personal finance topics such as insurance, loans, real estate investing, and retirement. Her work can be found on CBS, FOX Business, MSN, Yahoo! Finance, Business Insider, and more. When she isn't helping people plan for their financial futures, she is traveling, hiking with her kids, or writing for her own website, TomorrowsDollar.com. She can be reached on Twitter @stephcolestock

Danny Smith
Edited byDanny Smith
Photo of an Insurify author
Danny Smith
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 4+ years in content creation and marketing

As Insurify’s home and pet insurance editor, Danny also specializes in auto insurance. His goal is to help consumers navigate the complex world of insurance buying.

Featured in

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