If you have pets, you need to be a little careful about the plants that you choose, as some can be toxic if an inquisitive pet has a chew.
If you have pets, you need to be a little careful about the plants that you choose, as some can be toxic if an inquisitive pet has a chew. iStock

Picking pet-friendly plants

House plants look great and help purify the air, so it's no wonder that they are so popular again. But if you have pets, you need to be a little careful about the plants you choose because some can be toxic if an inquisitive pet has a chew.

Some might make your beloved friend feel a bit ill, others can do more serious harm.

Fortunately, there are heaps of gorgeous plants we know are safe for pets. Here's a list - by no means exhaustive, but a starter.

Palms, including golden cane palms (dypsis lutescens), parlour palms (chamaedorea elegans), bamboo palms (chamaedorea seifrizii) and rhapis palms (rhapis excela) are all fine.

Most of the calathea varieties are safe too, including C. zebrina and C. rubifarba, and their lovely patterned foliage makes them a very attractive feature.

Ferns including boston ferns (nephrolepis) and maidenhair ferns (adiantum), and birds' nests (aspleniums) are lovely and will thrive in a humid place like a bathroom.

Spider plant (chlorophytum comosum) is a tough beauty, with long, slender bright green and white striped leaves. It looks great in a hanger because it will make new little plants at the ends of the leaves, creating a lovely cascading effect.

Cymbidium orchids and phalaenopsis orchids both get the thumbs-up too, which is great because they are two of the best flowering indoor plants you could ever have.

Some herbs are OK for pets, including rosemary, basil and thyme. Avoid chives and other members of the onion family.

It's probably best to stay away from peace lilies (spathiphyllum spp.), because these are toxic to cats and dogs. Others to be careful about include rubber trees (ficus elastica), fiddle leaf figs (ficus lyrata), dracaena, snake tongue (sanseveria), and devil's ivy (pothos).

Pets can also damage house plants, so you might want to use a few tricks to stop this from happening. They might want to chew the plants, which will spoil the look pretty quickly. They might also scratch around in the potting mix, potentially damaging the root system and making a mess on the floor. I've heard of pets urinating in indoor plants and this isn't good for the plant.

To protect both pets and plants, you may need to keep the plants out of reach, putting them on a tall plant stand or piece of furniture, or up on a high shelf.

Having furry friends in your life doesn't mean you can't have leafy ones as well. You just need to make sure they are going to get along well together.


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