When it comes to gardening, people often tend to forget that certain plants are poisonous to pets. Before bringing home another plant baby to add to your collection, make sure you’re not potentially endangering your beloved cat or dog.
Firstly, let’s talk about plant toxicity. This chemical process takes place in some plants as a natural defence against herbivory. In other words, certain plants release a chemical with the purpose of irritating or harming an animal that tries to eat it. The severity of this “plant weapon” varies between different species. If a curious housecat was to nibble on a pothos, she’d experience some discomfort, but won’t suffer any serious health repercussions. However, sampling a bite of tulip may lead to loss of appetite, seizures and even heart problems.
Luckily, at Natures Colours, we have a broad selection of beautiful indoor plants that pose no risk to cats and dogs. Here is a breakdown of some of our favourite picks for a plant-filled home where people, plants and pets can live in harmony.
Bird’s Nest Fern
Bird’s Nest Fern is a fantastic indoor plant that is easy to care for and 100% pet-safe. This fern is the ideal bathroom plant since it thrives in low light and humid conditions, similar to its natural rainforest home. A shower ledge or the edge of a bathtub is the perfect spot for a bird’s nest fern. For maximum growth, plant in loose, organic compost, keep the compost moist but don’t overwater, and be sure not to expose the plant to direct sunlight.
The Parlour Palm will liven your home not only because it’s a great interior decoration, but also because this is one of the best air purifying plants you’ll find, so both you and your pets will benefit from a cleaner, fresher air. On top of that, a parlour palm is easy to grow and maintain, making it a good choice for novice green fingers. This palm flourishes in bright but filtered light and will do well near a window where it won’t be overexposed to direct sunlight. Its ability to adapt to low light and humidity levels is what makes the Parlour Palm such an accessible plant to care for. Be careful not to overwater — when in doubt, rather nudge toward drier potting soil than allowing the roots to be saturated in water.
As the name suggests, cat grass is a great gift for your cat. Placing a pot of cat grass in your windowsill will brighten up the room and ensure maximum growth for the plant so that your cat, in turn, can enjoy maximum benefits from this treat. Cat grass is rich in vitamins and minerals that aid in digestion, removing hairballs and freshening breath. Occasionally snacking on this plant will also make your cat’s coat shinier and healthier, and will divert them from chewing on your other houseplants.
The Haworthia Zebra, or Zebra Plant, is part of the group of succulents that are safe for pets. The Zebra Plant got its name from its uniquely designed leaves — thick, dark green leaves with raised white stripes like a zebra. And if you’re looking for a low maintenance plant, we all know there’s nothing easier to care for than succulents. Since they are used to dry conditions, your only job is to make sure it enjoys plenty of sun and gets water every couple of weeks. Other suggestions for pet-friendly succulents are the Christmas Cactus, Burro’s Tail and Ponytail Palm.
Kitchen herbs like Rosemary, Basil, Thyme and Mint are all pet-friendly. These plants are everyday flavours in your food, so you don’t need to be worried if your cat or dog takes a bite of one of these windowsill herbs. We love the fresh presence that rosemary brings to the kitchen with its unique aroma and beautiful blue flowers in spring and summer. It also symbolises love and friendship — perhaps something your pets will sense around this plant. Rosemary prefers direct light and moderate moisture, so for the best results, place it by a window and allow the top 3-5cm of the soil to dry out before watering again.
Golden Cane Palm
Golden Cane Palms, also known as Butterfly Palms, are lovely indoor plants with their beautiful golden stems and dense, tropical growth. These palms are known to be slow growers but can reach immense heights if cared for right. In the course of a growing season, a butterfly palm will grow about 30cm. Reaching its full potential height of about 8m can take as long as 28 years, so prepare to spend a lot of time with this plant! While Golden Cane Palms are relatively adaptable in terms of light, their prime spot is in bright indirect light. The soil must be kept moist with watering sessions once or twice a week.
The Staghorn Fern grows wild in the tropical and temperate regions of Australia, meaning that it seeks light shade to resemble its native tropical home and shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight. The unique shape of this plant, much like the antlers of a stag, is where its name derives from. Similar to the equally pet-friendly Bird’s Nest Fern, the Staghorn Fern is a popular pick for hanging on a wall or fixing to a plank for added dimension. Its water needs will differ depending on the humidity — the more humid, the less water it needs. If placed in a bathroom, you only need to mist it every three weeks, otherwise every one to two weeks.
Another great performing air purifier, the Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum) is a valuable addition to any home garden. These plants are resilient and easy growers, so they also make fantastic plants for beginner gardeners. Spider Plants require well-drained soil but prefer to dry out between watering sessions to prevent their roots from rotting. Find a low-lit spot for them to spend their days and be on the lookout for baby spider plants, which can easily be plucked off and propagated in water to grow your collection of pet-friendly indoor plants.
If you want to bring a touch of colour into your home, the brightly blooming Bromeliad Vriesea is an excellent choice. This tropical plant is native to the tropical rainforests in Central and South America and is completely pet-safe. Also known as a Flaming Sword plant, Bromeliads’ bright flowers can last for months. They prefer generous airflow and indirect light, so placing them near a window without direct sunlight is a good bet. Since they emit oxygen and clear air pollutants during the night, this is the ideal plant for your bedroom.
If you liked this guide to the best pet-friendly plants for your house, check out our collection of tips and inspiration for your home garden!
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