Nontoxic Houseplants Safe for Cats and Dogs

February 19, 2020Allison Murray
The Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya) is a nontoxic pet safe houseplant you can have around your cats and dogs without worry.

Love the look of houseplants but worry if they are safe for your pets? These nontoxic houseplants safe for pets are attractive and won’t harm your cats or dogs!

Love the look of houseplants but worry if they are safe for your pets? These nontoxic houseplants safe for pets are attractive and won't harm your cats or dogs!

I’ve been nesting in my new home for around 2 months, now. It’s been all encompassing and you might have seen my cabinet makeover earlier this week!

At first I had it in my mind that everything in this new  house needed to be perfect pretty much immediately. And getting everything together so quickly totally stressed me out. Plus it’s really darn expensive to buy so much house stuff in such a short amount of time. After a move where I left a lot behind there were so many things that I needed like sofas, a refrigerator, and a bed.

The vast majority of my decorative items were left behind as well. In my frenzy to get the new house “photo ready” I started buying up wall art and knickknacks that I didn’t necessarily love. But then, one day I decided that all of this was nuts. The perfect house doesn’t happen overnight. For me, at least, a cozy home slowly forms by adding things you love here and there. Deciding to take my time and letting go of any kind of rush was such a good feeling.

Naturally finding decor I love…

Walking around the hardware store one day I saw a neat little plant and thought that I’d really like to have that in my home. But the problem was I have pets. Or more specifically I have a cat who chews on any plant she gets anywhere near. In the last 2 years I almost lost this little kitty to an illness that had me driving all over creation for her to have a kidney removed.

If I love a cat THAT much there’s no way I’m just going to bring any old plant home that might be bad for her. And so I put the plant back and went home to do some research to see what houseplants are nontoxic and safe to bring home to her. Before leaving the store, however, I did buy up a BUNCH of cute flower pots :)

Researching Nontoxic Houseplants Safe for Cats and Dogs

In my research I’ve found an absolute ton of plants that I want to add to my house. Within just a few weeks I’ve added 15 gorgeous nontoxic houseplants that are safe for my cats and dogs (and I’m sharing a dozen of my very own nontoxic houseplants with you today!) To be honest, they’re my most favorite home decor right now. They add such a natural, lovely feel to the house. And the air feels so much cleaner. All around, adding these to my home has been probably the best decor decision I’ve made yet. (Now we’ll just see if I can keep them all alive :)

As a resource I found the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Page to be incredibly helpful. In fact, each of the plants below has a link to the nontoxic status for each plant. I think all but ONE of these links is from the ASPCA so it’s super comprehensive. In fact, it’s just a fabulous resource that if you’re interested in cat and dog safe houseplants you should bookmark it now. It’s super easy to use, simply type in the plant name (common or scientific) into the search bar and quickly learn if it is a plant you can or should not bring home.

Should you find yourself in a potential poisoning emergency, contact your local veterinarian or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 immediately.

Today I’m sharing 12 of my favorite cat safe plants from my home.

Here you will find common names and (scientific names) for each plant plus a link to where you can read about each’s nontoxic status. Remember, though, while nontoxic it is still best to make effort to keep your pets from chewing on houseplants.

Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) is a nontoxic pet safe houseplant you can have around your cats and dogs without worry.

Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) Nontoxic

Considered an easy to grow plant, the ponytail palm does best in dry conditions including soil and air. Water it well every 2 to 3 weeks allowing the soil to dry out completely between watering. It does best in bright light and does well in full sun but can tolerate some shade during the winter. They are best kept in a small pot so their size remains manageable as a houseplant. Native to Mexico, this plant can grow up over 20 feet tall!

The Aluminum Plant/Watermelon Plant (Pilea cadieri) is a nontoxic pet safe houseplant you can have around your cats and dogs without worry.

Aluminum Plant/Watermelon Plant (Pilea cadieri) Nontoxic

The aluminum plant requires about 4 hours per day of bright indirect sunlight and the leaves can become brown with too much light exposure. It will do best in soil with good drainage that is kept moist. It does better in humid environments meaning it does well in bathrooms or rooms with a humidifier.

The Aluminum plant is a native to Vietnam and has strong roots that can break containers as it grows. Be sure to re-pot as the plant grows to prevent destruction.

The Staghorn Fern (Platycerium bifurcatum) is a nontoxic pet safe houseplant you can have around your cats and dogs without worry.

Staghorn Fern (Platycerium bifurcatum) Nontoxic

The staghorn fern requires lots of indirect sunlight and will not survive in low light conditions. Its soil should be kept moist but never overly wet as it is does not do well with over watering and is very susceptible to root rot. It can also take in moisture through its leaves as well as roots and does well with occasional misting. These ferns are native to tropical areas

These fun looking ferns get their name because they do very well when mounted. I’ll be mounting my staghorn fern soon with this tutorial from Gardenista.

The Elephant Bush/Plant (Portulacaria afra) is a nontoxic pet safe houseplant you can have around your cats and dogs without worry.

Elephant Bush/Plant (Portulacaria afra) Nontoxic

The elephant plant thrives in full sun to partial shade and will need lots of light to survive indoors. It should be watered only occasionally allowing the plant to soak up as much water as it can when watered and then allowing the soil to completely dry before the next watering.

With red stems and bright leaves, the elephant plant is an evergreen plant native to Africa where it can grow 15 feet tall. Their leaves are quite tasty and, I’ve been informed by my local plant nursery, to be an awesome addition to homemade fruit salad!

FYI, this plant is sometimes confused with the Jade plant which is HIGHLY TOXIC.

The Purple Waffle Plant (Hemigraphis alternata) is a nontoxic pet safe houseplant you can have around your cats and dogs without worry.

Purple Waffle Plant (Hemigraphis alternata) Nontoxic

The purple waffle plant needs lots of bright, indirect sunlight but watch out because the dark leaves can burn with too much direct light. Keep the soil moist but not soggy and don’t allow them to get too cold. They do best in warm conditions and are considered an easy nontoxic houseplant to grow.

The Urn Plant (Aechmea fasciata) is a nontoxic pet safe houseplant you can have around your cats and dogs without worry.

Urn Plant Bromeliad (Aechmea fasciata)  Nontoxic

The Urn Plant is a type of Bromeliad which, in general, are a great nontoxic houseplant option for your pet filled home. Requiring lots of indirect sunlight, the urn plant also requires warm temperatures and should be kept away from windows in winter and air conditioning ducts in summer. It needs a loose soil and does well in orchid potting mix. The urn plant should be watered sparingly, only watered when the top of its soil has dried out.

The Urn Plant will bloom with a gorgeous flower just like this one. Once that flower begins to brown and die the leaves will soon begin to brown as well. The plant will die back but leave pups, new urn plants you can transplant to new pots. How cool is that? FYI – my urn plant had a gorgeous flower that died. You’re seeing the state of it after the bloom was trimmed away but before he leaves began browning. It’s sad watching it die but it’s exciting waiting for some little urn babies :)

The Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans) is a nontoxic pet safe houseplant you can have around your cats and dogs without worry.

Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans) Nontoxic

The Parlor Palm is native to the rain forests of Mexico and Guatamala. It should not be overwatered and will do better in soil that is slightly dry rather than a pot that is waterlogged. I’ve already had a watering issue and learned that if your leaves are yellow the plant needs more water. If they are brown you’ve given the plant too much water.

They do best in bright, indirect sunlight but can thrive in low light conditions also. They are grow very slowly and will rarely need to be repotted.

The Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus)  is a nontoxic pet safe houseplant you can have around your cats and dogs without worry.

Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus) Nontoxic

The bird’s nest fern does best in medium or low light conditions. Interestingly, the plant’s leaves will change according to the amount of light the plant receives. A bird’s nest fern with  more light exposure will have leaves that are more crinkly. A fern with less light will have leaves that are more flat. Cool, right?

The soil needs to be kept moist without becoming soggy or waterlogged. Water around the edge of the pot to prevent the center of the plant from rotting.

The Hens and Chicks (Echeveria elegans) is a nontoxic pet safe houseplant you can have around your cats and dogs without worry.

Hens and Chicks (Echeveria elegans) Nontoxic

Hens and chicks are a very common succulent that requires dry, rocky soil (or a cactus mix) and infrequent watering only when the soil is completely dry. This plant requires a lot of light but little care in general and are considered incredibly tolerant to poor care.

This plant will reproduce with little offset plants, chicks, developing around a hen. Hens and Chicks should be divided occasionally to prevent overcrowding. This will also mean you’ll have lots and lots of hens and chicks plants one day!

The Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya) is a nontoxic pet safe houseplant you can have around your cats and dogs without worry.

Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya) Nontoxic

Also called a Freckle Face, the polka dot plant is really colorful with red, green or pink leaves splotched with green. It needs medium to bright light and can tolerate direct sunlight though the leaves might become less colorful and more green with more light. Water often so that the soil all of the way around the plant is moist but never soggy. The plant can get scraggly looking so feel free to trim it down for a full and bushy appearance as it grows. Plants will need to be repotted as it grows and becomes root bound.

The Money Tree Plant (Pachira aquatica) is a nontoxic pet safe houseplant you can have around your cats and dogs without worry.

Money Tree Plant (Pachira aquatica) Nontoxic but upsetting to the stomach

Maxing out at 3-6 feet, the money tree plant is one that grows well indoors with bright but not direct sunlight and warm, humid conditions. This means they do especially well in bathrooms with a window. Susceptible to root rot, this plant needs to be planted with good drainage and the top 1-2 inches of soil should be allowed to dry between watering.  Quick tip, if your leaves begin to yellow, your plant is being over watered.

The Money Tree Plant (Pachira aquatica) is a nontoxic pet safe houseplant you can have around your cats and dogs without worry.

The money tree plant is most known for its braided trunk. Five green stems are braided together as it is grown. When the plant matures the stems become woody lock the braid in place but they are often bound to hold their shape. The money tree plant is said to bring good luck and financial success to the grower (which is something I’ll gladly take, thank you very much :) You’ll need to occasionally trim this plant to keep it looking nice.


I hope you enjoyed checking out these 12 gorgeous and totally nontoxic houseplants safe to bring home to your pets. Which plants are you most eager to decorate your place with?

Love the look of houseplants but worry if they are safe for your pets? These nontoxic houseplants safe for pets are attractive and won't harm your cats or dogs!

Love the look of houseplants but worry if they safe for your pets? These nontoxic houseplants safe for pets are attractive and won't harm your cats or dogs!
Love the look of houseplants but worry if they safe for your pets? These nontoxic houseplants safe for pets are attractive and won't harm your cats or dogs!Love the look of houseplants but worry if they safe for your pets? These nontoxic houseplants safe for pets are attractive and won't harm your cats or dogs!

Comments (1)

  • Mike

    March 21, 2020 at 10:45 PM

    Hey, Allison! Love all of your plants! I’m a plant person too; have been for a few years now. Since I don’t have any pets, I’ve decided that plants are the way to go. :)

    Glad you found some that are non toxic for your kitties. A lot of house plants are toxic to pets (I think all of mine are), but are nonetheless great to care for and love. I’ll tell you more about them later! ^_^

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