Putting plants around your home’s interior can be a simple and cost-effective way to brighten it up while also cleaning the air around you. Indoor plants improve air quality because they take in carbon dioxide and expel oxygen. Their leaves can act as natural filters, which means they can trap allergens in the air and help you feel better if you suffer from indoor allergies. Plus, just seeing plants in a room can give you an instant mood boost, especially plants with colorful flowers.
Just like humans, pets can enjoy the look of a houseplant. Cats often play with houseplants, nibbling on their leaves or batting them around like a toy. When you have safe plants in your home, this won’t cause a problem (aside from your plants having noticeable bits of their leaves missing).
Unfortunately, though, when it comes to safety, not all plants are created equal. If you have kids, pets, or both in your home, you will want to take extra care to only get safe, non-toxic house plants. Toxic plants aren’t necessarily labeled as such, but they can make your pet or child mildly to extremely ill. Fatalities can even occur with certain plants when plant owners are unaware of the dangers their plants pose to humans and animals and unknowingly put their pets or children at risk.
To make sure the indoor plants you buy won’t cause harm to you or the people and pets you love, here’s our list of the best non-toxic house plants for children, cats, and dogs. Keep in mind that while these are safe plants that won’t cause severe symptoms if your pet or child accidentally chews on them, it’s always best to keep all plants out of reach of pets and children.If you’re ever in doubt about whether a plant is non-toxic, you can check the ASPCA’s extensive list of toxic and non-toxic plants.
Keeping Your Pets Safe: 10 Non-toxic House Plants for Pets and Children
It can be hard to keep pets away from houseplants, especially curious dogs and cats who love to chew on things. Unfortunately, a lot of house plants are toxic to cats and dogs. The same toxic plants can hurt humans. While adults should know better than to take a bite out of an indoor plant, young children are curious and can easily mistake the leaf of a plant for food.
Before buying a plant, think about how much care it needs and whether you can provide it with the right amounts of lighting and water. The plants on this list range everywhere from low maintenance to fairly labor-intensive house plants.
Whether you have a furry friend, toddler, or both running around your home, here are 10 non-toxic house plants for animals and kids that will add some color and air purifying qualities to your space. You can bring these 10 plants into your home and keep your baby (and fur babies) safe.
1. African Violet
Cats love the African violet (Saintpaulia) because of its pretty flowers and fuzzy leaves. You can find it in a variety of colors, and it will bloom all year long under bright indirect light. The only issue to worry about is that the African violet is a little finicky when it comes to watering.
You’ll need to water your African violet from the bottom, so the leaves don’t get wet. Avoid getting it too wet or letting it get completely dry. The plant prefers lukewarm water that has stood for 48 hours before pouring. If you can get the watering aspect down, then you can care for an African violet without a lot of headaches.
2. Prayer Plant
The prayer plant (Maranta) gets its nickname because of the way its leaves stay flat during the day and then fold up as if in prayer during the night. It’s a low growing plant that looks nice in a pot on a windowsill.
These plants enjoy humid conditions and require bright, indirect sunlight. They need to be watered regularly with room temperature water. As with the African violet, you don’t want your prayer plant to dry out or get too soggy.
3. Friendship Plant
The friendship plant (Pilea involucrata) is so named because it is easy to divide and share with friends. It will keep your cat or dog safe, even if they end up taking a big bite out of its temptingly fuzzy leaves. Even better, these non-toxic house plants thrive in geraniums, which makes it less likely that your beloved pet will find a way to chew on it.
Friendship plants love humidity and need about 6 – 8 hours of low to medium indirect light every day. As far as watering goes, you just need to make sure they have evenly moist soil. They require less watering in winter when their growth slows down.
4. Boston Fern
The shagginess of a Boston fern’s leaves (Nephrolepis) can make it irresistible to cats and dogs. Fortunately, it’s non-toxic. You might want to place this plant in a room where your animal doesn’t go a lot, though, if you want to have any leaves left.
Boston ferns are relatively low maintenance as long as they are in the right environment. These plants need to be in a cool environment with high humidity. If they aren’t getting enough moisture, their leaves will turn yellow. Make sure to keep the soil damp but not saturated and place them somewhere they can get a lot of bright indirect light.
5. Spider Plant
Also known as a ribbon plant or airplane plant, the spider plant (Chlorophytum) is nearly impossible to kill. You can put it in a low light area to spruce up your home or office.
These are ideal non-toxic house plants if you tend to forget to water your plants, as they prefer to dry out completely in between watering. When you do remember to water them, all you need to do is keep yourself from completely saturating their soil.
6. Baby Rubber Plant
If you want a rubber plant, make sure you know which type you’re getting. The rubber plant (Ficus elastica) is toxic. It is also huge, growing to up to 10 feet. A much smaller, non-toxic alternative is the baby rubber plant (Peperomia obtusifolia). This plant is also known as the American rubber plant or the pepper face plant.
Baby rubber plants have beautiful, shiny green leaves that thrive in bright direct light. They only grow to about 30 cm (a little less than a foot). Watering is pretty easy. All you have to do is water it thoroughly whenever the soil gets dry.
7. Wax Plant
The beautiful wax plant (Hoya carnosa) will add some color to your home without hurting your pets. It’s a succulent-like plant that needs medium to bright indirect light. Its long green leaves will sprout flowers in the spring. Put a wax plant in a hanging basket to let its long leaves grow on its vines.
Less is more when it comes to watering this non-toxic house plant. This is good news for all of us out there without green thumbs. You can go as long as two weeks between watering. If you notice the leaves puckering, give the plant some water.
8. Chinese Money Plant
It won’t guarantee riches, but the Chinese money plant (Pilea peperomioides) will add some gorgeous color to your home without a lot of maintenance. Plus, it’s easy to propagate, which is just a fancy way of saying you can cut the plant’s offshoots out to repot and gift to a friend or grow in another room of your home.
Place the plant near a window that gets sun, but just out of reach of direct sunlight. Like other plants on this list, you should avoid overwatering it. Let the soil dry out between watering.
9. Baby Tears
The leaves of the baby tears (Soleirolia soleirolii) plant look like a carpet made up of tiny green leaves as it grows and spills over its pot. A lot of people add baby tears plants to their geraniums or around their trees to cover up soil and keep dogs from digging. This plant requires more attention than many of the others on our list, so know what you’re getting into before you go out and buy one.
First, the baby tears plant likes bright, indirect light, but not direct light from the sun. These non-toxic house plants prefers humidity with temperatures around 60° – 75°F, and it’s recommended to feed them with fertilizer every few weeks.
10. Areca Palm
Add a little taste of the tropics to your home with an areca palm (Dypsis lutescens) plant, which is sometimes referred to as the butterfly palm plant. These are a bit easier to maintain than Baby Tears, but you can’t completely neglect them. With proper care, these plants can grow the size of small desktop plant to six feet and last up to 10 years.
During the spring and summer months, you should make sure their soil is always moist. However, in the fall and winter, you can let their soil dry out in between watering. You’ll need to repot it every two to three years to keep it growing and make sure it gets lots of bright, indirect light.