Comment permalink

The six best non-toxic houseplants for homes with pets

Many common houseplants are poisonous.

It can be tough to build a good collection of non-toxic houseplants. Many of the more common houseplant species are toxic to dogs and cats, including Peace lily, Dracena, Lucky bamboo, Philodendron, Caladium (Angel's Wings), Dieffenbachia, Pothos, Asparagus fern and English ivy.

The following houseplants are rated non-toxic by the ASPCA, and are also commonly available:

1. Peperomia sp.
All Peperomia plants are non-toxic. This is a boon to the houseplant lover, because there are so many different Peperomia species. Most Peperomias have a trailing habit, which makes them great for hanging baskets.
Peperomias are also, for the most part, exceptionally easy to care for. They tolerate a wide range of conditions and light levels. This hardy species includes plants like the Lipstick plant (one of the few flowering indoor plants), and P. caperata which makes an excellent desk plant for the office.
2. Spider plant
It's a good thing the Spider plant is non-toxic, because its long arching thin leaves seem to be irresistible to cats. Many Spider plant owners have been puzzled by a strange disease in which holes appear on the leaves at random, only to discover that these are actually cat bites. Getting this plant up in a hanging pot out of your cat's reach seems to be the only way to really prevent it being eaten.
Fortunately, eating Spider plants is harmless to the cat (if not to the plant). Spider plants are probably one of the most well-known and recognized houseplants. However, they can be very sensitive to water quality including chlorine and other trace elements. If your Spider plant develops brown tips on its leaves, switch to bottled water or collected rainwater.
Reportedly, the Spider plant is also one of the best plants for cleaning the air in your home or office.
3. Prayer plant
The Maranta species is fascinating for the way that its handsomely spotted leaves fold themselves up at night. In addition to being non-toxic, this common houseplant is sturdy and undemanding.
4. Boston fern
Although the Asparagus fern is toxic to pets, the Boston fern and its relatives the Staghorn and Deer foot fern are non-toxic. These plants can be a little more demanding in terms of humidity, but they tolerate poor lighting conditions quite well.
5. African violets
This is another classic houseplant that everyone can identify. The African violet is a succulent which produces beautiful flowers. 
Every African violet I have tried to raise has rotted away, but a lot of people have great luck with them, so.
6. Polka dot plant
Hypoestes phyllostachya, with its small leaves splashed with pink and cerise, is a popular and eye-catching item in baskets and nurseries everywhere. They tend to get leggy, so be ruthless in pinching them back!