19 Pet-Friendly Plants for Your Home

These houseplants are non-toxic to cats and dogs

Pet-Friendly Houseplants

The Spruce / Jiaqi Zhou

Why do cats and dogs eat houseplants? Some people believe they do it to calm an upset stomach or help process hairballs, while others think pets are attempting to remedy a nutritional deficiency. Cats and dogs might even chew on houseplants during play sessions, attacking waving fronds as they would a toy. It can be difficult to keep a houseplant away from a pet that is determined to chew, so it's up to us to ensure that we grow pet-friendly plants.

Although it is helpful to know which houseplants are safe for cats and dogs, it is very important also to be aware of the houseplants that aren't pet-friendly and are harmful to them.

But it's entirely possible to have plants with cats and dogs. Except for edibles like cat grass, it's always better to keep valued houseplants out of a pet's reach if you can. However, the plants described here are recognized by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) as being safe and non-toxic to cats and dogs.

  • 01 of 19

    Gloxinia

    Gloxinia Houseplant

    MariaBrzostowska / Getty Images 

    Sinningia speciosa plants are popular gift plants, especially around holidays like Valentine's Day and Mother's Day. If you receive one of these gorgeous bloomers, you won't need to worry about it harming your cat or dog. Provide indirect light and constant moisture for this Brazilian native.

  • 02 of 19

    African Violet

    African violets

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 

    African violets (Saintpaulia) are one of the most popular flowering safe houseplants for pets. They are also in demand because they bloom in low light and thrive in environmental conditions that people like: moderate temperatures and average humidity. Choose a soil-free potting mix and use a balanced fertilizer for the best African violet health.

  • 03 of 19

    Baby's Tears

    closeup of baby tears

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    The creeping mat of tiny green leaves of Soleirolia soleirolii adds character to terrariums, small hanging baskets, and as a companion plant around the base of indoor trees. Baby tears plants cover the soil and might discourage pets that like to dig in your houseplants.

  • 04 of 19

    Banana

    banana tree

    The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

    Sizable houseplants like the weeping fig make a bold statement in the home but are toxic to cats and dogs. However, the large pet-friendly banana tree (Musa) serves as a dramatic accent plant. Rich soil, bright light, and regular watering will emulate the natural habitat of the banana tree.

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  • 05 of 19

    Spider Plant

    a spider plant

    The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

    Thank you, spider plant (Chlorophytum), for looking just as cool today as you did on all those windowsills in vintage kitchens. Also known as ribbon plant or airplane plant, the spider plant is non-toxic to cats and dogs and will tolerate a wide range of light, moisture, and soil conditions.

  • 06 of 19

    Venus Fly Trap

    venus fly trap

    The Spruce / Kara Riley

    Carnivorous plants make a fun and funky addition to a houseplant collection, but what happens when your kitty wants to pounce on one of those traps when they snap shut? Venus flytraps (Dionaea muscipula) are non-toxic to cats and dogs, so a curious nibble won't result in a trip to see a veterinarian. Bright light and irrigation with distilled water will keep these pet-friendly plants in fly-catching condition.

  • 07 of 19

    Areca Palm

    an areca palm

    The Spruce / Alonda Baird

    Also known as the butterfly palm, Dypsis lutescens makes any interior feel like a trip to the tropics. Sometimes palm fronds can trigger a cat's playful swatting and biting instincts, so it's comforting to know that the areca palm isn't toxic for cats or dogs. Place it in a bright room, and allow soil to dry out between waterings.

  • 08 of 19

    Boston Fern

    Boston fern

    The Spruce / Kara Riley 

    Boston ferns (Nephrolepis) are an enduring houseplant favorite, but their shaggy fronds might tempt cats and dogs to chew on them. The foliage is non-toxic to cats and dogs, so it's fine to brighten up your guest room or bathroom with these lush plants. Boston ferns prefer humidity and lots of bright, indirect light.

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  • 09 of 19

    Calathea

    closeup of a calathea

    The Spruce

    Calathea spp. plants, also called zebra plants or peacock plants, bear large tropical leaves with fascinating stripes or stippling. A calathea is an excellent choice for a shady spot in the pet-friendly house, as too much light can cause the foliage color to fade.

  • 10 of 19

    Friendship Plant

    Friendship Plant

    emsiegel / Getty Images

    Pilea involucrata is a trailing plant with fragile stems that thrives in high humidity. It does well as a terrarium specimen, making it even more unlikely that your cat or dog will take an unauthorized nibble. It's one of the best pet-friendly plants to put on full display in any room in your home, including the bedroom, where it will be safe.

  • 11 of 19

    Polka Dot Plant

    hypoestes phyllostachya on a windowsill

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    The green, pink, red, and white splashed foliage of Hypoestes phyllostachya is so ornamental that you won't need to worry about providing the perfect conditions to trigger blooming that many houseplants need. Although non-toxic to cats and dogs, sensitive pets might experience mild digestive upset if they consume large quantities of the polka dot plant or other non-toxic plants.

  • 12 of 19

    Peperomia

    closeup of a peperomia

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    The diversity of colors and textures across the Peperomia species keeps them on the shortlist of popular houseplants. They are non-toxic to cats and dogs, look great in hanging baskets, and they don't mind if you forget to water them occasionally.

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  • 13 of 19

    Orchid

    orchid by a window

    The Spruce / Viktoriya Stoeva

    If you have a passion for orchids (Orchidaceae), you can safely add them to your go-to list of pet-safe plants. Many orchids bloom for weeks in the winter when days are short, thriving in partial light and root-bound conditions.

  • 14 of 19

    Mosaic Plant

    a fittonia plant

    The Spruce / Alonda Baird

    Along with mosaic plant, one of the common names of Fittonia albivenis is nerve plant, which has the ominous sound of something that affects the nervous system. However, this rainforest native with lovely white or pink veining on its leaves is non-toxic to cats and dogs. The small and safe houseplant thrives in low light with moderate watering.

  • 15 of 19

    Bromeliad

    closeup of a bromeliad

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    The tough, strappy leaves of the bromeliad and the curious cone-shaped blooms make bromeliad plants (Bromeliaceae) favorites as houseplants. These pet-safe plants are easy to maintain, needing only a bright window and a humid environment. Many bromeliads will grow as soil-free epiphytes attached to a log, making them even more pet-friendly for those cats that like to dig in potting soil.

  • 16 of 19

    Ponytail Palm

    ponytail palm

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

    What self-respecting cat can deny itself a passing swat at the alluring leaves of the ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)? But it's a safe plant for cats. These non-toxic plants thrive in bright light and they like to be watered when they're on the dry side.

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  • 17 of 19

    Purple Waffle Plant

    Purple Waffle Plant

    pimonpim / Getty Images

    The textured leaves of the purple waffle plant (Hemigraphis 'Exotica') offer all-season interest for those who don't grow flowering houseplants. Bright indirect light will help to maintain the purple coloration without bleaching the leaves. Purple waffle plants are known as great air purifiers, keeping the environment healthy for you and your pet.

  • 18 of 19

    Royal Velvet Plant

    Royal Velvet Plant

    prill / Getty Images

    Gynura aurantiaca plants look like something from a psychedelic garden come to life. The velvety hairs on the leaves are almost iridescent and are at their most vibrant in bright light conditions. To prevent root rot, water only when the soil is dry.

  • 19 of 19

    Haworthia

    haworthia succulent

    The Spruce 

    No need to drop any cash on a faux succulent at the hobby store; haworthia is the real thing, and it's almost as easy to care for as the fake version. Place your haworthia in bright light, and water weekly in the summer and less frequently in the winter. Unlike similar-looking aloe plants, all members of the large Haworthia genus are safe for cats and dogs.

FAQ
  • Can you keep toxic plants with cats and dogs?

    If you have a plant that's toxic to your pet, move the plant out of its reach. That might mean putting it on a high shelf that's inaccessible to your pet or growing it outside as a potted outdoor plant where your pet doesn't go.

  • Are succulents safe for cats and dogs?

    Many succulents, such as haworthia, are safe for cats and dogs. But it's important to know your specific succulent species, as they aren't all pet-friendly.

  • Is lavender safe for cats and dogs?

    Lavender is not considered a safe outdoor plant for cats and dogs. It does have chemical compounds that are toxic to cats, dogs, and horses and can cause digestive issues.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

  2. Weeping Fig. Pet Poison Helpline.

  3. Which Holiday Plants Are Safe for my Cats and Dogs? University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension.

  4. Moya Tatiana et al. A review of green systems within the indoor environmentIndoor and Built Environment, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 298-309, 2019. doi:10.1177/1420326X18783042

  5. Aloe Vera. Pet Poison Helpline.

  6. Lavender. ASPCA.