Garden Guide: These plants are safe for pet owners

Houseplants are a great way to add some style to your home, but they can be a problem for our furry friends.

Alex Calamia

Jan 3, 2024, 11:25 AM

Updated 202 days ago


Houseplants are a great way to add some style to your home, but they can be a problem for our furry friends. If you have a curious pet that might try to nibble on your plants, it’s important to select plants that won’t hurt them.

Pet Friendly Plants.

Most palm trees are safe for pets. Palm trees belong to a family of plants called Arecaceae and nearly all of them are non-toxic for pets and people. Two of my favorites are Parlor and Lady Palms. They are easy indoor palms that don’t require a lot of sunlight or water.
Classic houseplants like African Violets, orchids, Spider Plants, and Bromeliads are all easy houseplants that are not toxic for pets.
Many common plants belong to the Arum family (also known as Ariods) and can produce uncomfortable symptoms for your pets if eaten. These plants include philodendrons, peace lilies, elephant ears, and dieffenbachia. The problem with these plants are the presence of needle shaped crystals of calcium oxalate called Raphides. They can cause severe irritation and many uncomfortable symptoms.

Carefully check your plant names…

Some toxic plants are given “common names” that make them sound safe for your pets, but are in reality quite dangerous.
For example, Sago palms are extremely toxic for pets and can be fatal if injected in large quantities. Although they look like palms and are sold as such, they’re not closely related. Sago palms (also known as Cycas revoluta) are cycads which toxic if ingested.
Peace lilies have a reputation for being extremely toxic, but some of that might be overstated because it’s not a true lily. Peace lilies are part of the Arum family and could be dangerous for your pets, but true lilies in the genera Lilium are dangerous if ingested by dogs and especially cats. These plants are usually in landscapes or bouquets and include Asiatic lilies and Easter lilies.

Know your pet

While may plants are uncomfortable for your pets if eaten, only a few incidents require medical intervention. My dog never bothered with any of my plants, and I always kept my toxic plants in a separate room. Some of the most toxic plants for pets are actually outdoor plants like azalea and even mushrooms growing in the grass. 

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