Yes, many indoor plants are toxic.
Being a plant parent is one of the most exciting and rewarding journeys to embark on. Watching your plants grow from a baby cutting to a beautiful thriving adult plant is so satisfying. But what about when you have pets? Especially curious pets prone to nibbling things they're not supposed to.
Many plants are toxic in the wild, that's their defense mechanism for survival in the jungle.
A lot of us are also proud parents of our fur babies in addition to plant babies (even human babies). And I think you will agree that nothing scares us more than wondering if our plant obsession might prove deadly to our pets. But we don't want to let that stop you from creating that tropical oasis in your home.
If you can't put your tropical treasures out of reach from your plant babies, don't fret. There are plenty of luscious green indoor plants that are totally pet safe. Here are 12 plants that are known to be safe around curious nibblers...
1. Spider plant
Ah, chlorophytum comosumm, the good old spider plant. Virtually indestructible and still somewhat in style since its heyday in the 70's. This easy to care for plant thrives in moderate light and can be placed in hanging baskets higher up. Be warned, the dangling babies off the ends of the leaves beckon curious kittens to give it a sawt or two.
Group together for a wee indoor garden, and pluck off off the little spiderplant pups to propagate.
2. Phalaenopsis orchid (moth orchid)
Orchids not only look great but also won’t harm your pet. These beautiful plants are fairly low maintenance; just make sure you don’t over-water them. And by overwater, we mean like any water.
They like orchid food and a splash of warm water. They also enjoy a bathroom and to be super tightly rootbound in their pots. And if the flowers drop off, don't fret, that's normal. Chop back to the last node and wait for it to rebloom.
With a reputation for being a drama queen, Calathea may not be the easiest plants to grow, they're certainly very safe for your pets. And they're beautiful!
Also known as the prayer plant, Calathea has beautiful green leaves that fold together moving with the light of the day. They do need a good watering once a week for them to be happy and healthy. Keep them out of the sun and moist and they'll be happy!
4. Hoya carnosa
Recently, a variety of hoya sold for a staggering $6500 in New Zealand!! Don’t worry though, you can definitely get cheaper varieties which both you and your pet will love!
The Hoya carnosa is wax plant with long vines and has lovely leathery green leaves. Once happy, it'll flower with the most fragrant of blossoms! Train it up a wall like we have done at NODE for the full jungle effect at home.
A beautiful plant with thick green foliage, this perennial is a popular houseplant in NZ and safe for your pet. Bonus, it’s easy enough to grow from leaf and stem cuttings and we can show you how at our propagation workshops - hint hint, wink wink.
6. Boston Fern
Not only is this plant safe for pets, but it also purifies the air. The Boston fern loves a wee dark, moist spot, so go on and plant this one in your bathroom where it will thrive.
7. Maranta prayer plant
The plant gets its common name from the fact that its leaves stay flat during the day and then fold up like praying hands at night. Stunning and beautiful, they're perfect to have at home.
8. A lot of succulents
Haworthia, Echeveria, or a group of air plants, many succulents are pet-friendly. Super easy to care for and beautiful with such a variety of colors, succulents are awesome additions to a plant-loving home with pets.
This old school houseplant is still going strong. Aspidistra or Cast-Iron Plants fall firmly in the houseplants you cannot murder category, a place we love to hang around. Tough as beans, you'll often see them hidden away in dark corners of people's houses covered in dust, utterly forgotten yet still alive. The perfect low-key plant to have in the background for some green. Your pets probably won't notice it either.
10. Donkey's tail
This is seriously one cool plant. Sedum morganianum or donkey's tail is a popular and easy-to-grow trailing succulent with rows of fleshy, tear-drop shaped leaves.
They start to look really cool hanging down and forming the most incredible geometric shapes.
11. A lot of palms
There are many types of indoor palm plants that can be safely kept with pets, which is good for us because palms make the perfect jungle backdrop at home, instantly transporting somewhere tropical, even on grey and dull days.
For example, pony tail palms, parlour palms and kentia palms are all fine around pets. In fact, most indoor palms are great for pets. Just make sure you avoid anything with the words Sago or Cycad as these are considered toxic.
Fittonia make for fab houseplants with their delightful color combos and lovely symmetry. Also known as the nerve plant, Fittonia are tropical, like most houseplants, with striking leaves of pink and green, white and green, or green and red. They prefer high humidity to truly thrive here in New Zealand, so pop in your bathroom for it to look really good.
What have we missed? Have any plants that are safe for your pets? Share!