Top 5 Plants That Are Not Toxic To Cats Or Dogs
Given more people are working from home, many people are looking to improve the ambience and atmosphere of their home by including house plants. You don’t know an environmental degree to know that plants can look attractive and make a room feel fresh and bright – but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find benefits beyond the aesthetic appeal. Cats and dogs will also enjoy the effort you make as they will experience the same benefits as you.
Research has shown plants are great for people and indoor environments in a variety of ways. Interior landscaping is vital to providing a pleasant and tranquil atmosphere where you can be highly productive and live well.
You may have noticed you, and your dog, feel more relaxed and at ease when being near to greenery – walking through the park or visiting some gardens for example. We experience less stress when there are plants around us, buildings become quieter – but also more appealing and stimulating. When plants are added to office environments people become more productive and are generally happier – taking fewer sick days and making less mistakes.
Patients in hospitals report better feelings, less anxiousness and shorter stays when exposed to some greenery, even adding plants to schools and universities has shown that students perform better.
As the world begins to embrace the benefits of nature and attempt to take better care of our planet, many people are beginning to understand the important role natural vegetation can play in our lives. Adding plants to your home isn’t such a big step as adding a kitten or puppy, but it will still improve your day to day experience.
Bringing more plants into your house will even help improve the air quality and reduce Sick Building Syndrome. Plants will make the air in your home feel gentle and clean by increasing humidity and keeping the temperature down. They will also help reduce pollutants such as carbon dioxide, benzene, nitrogen dioxide and airborne dust. These will all help improve your health, as well as that of your indoor cats and dogs.
However, if you do have pets you should take a couple minutes to make sure you’re not putting them in danger before you decide on which plants you choose to turn your house into a rainforest. Certain plants can be toxic to cats and dogs, so if your pets like to chew on or eat leaves then be careful which one’s you put within their reach.
Major plant families that are toxic to cats and dogs include many flowering plants such as lilies, daffodils and tulips, succulents including aloe vera varieties as well as some ferns and vines.
Now here are 5 of the best looking and beneficial house plants that are not toxic to cats or dogs.
1. Parlour Palm – the houseplant staple
Care required: low
Environment type: mild
The Parlour Palm is one of the most house suited varieties of plant you will find, the low-light tolerating and slow-growing nature of this fern is perfect for the beginner. The large palm leaves might even give your cat some entertainment, as well as being an excellent air purifier and safe around pets.
Soil – Parlour Palms are fine in a peaty based potting mix, just make sure the soil doesn’t hold too much moisture, mix in some perlite if you need to.
Water – the Parlour Palm needs minimal water – it’s actually better to keep the soil slightly dry, rather than overwatering it, and even less is required during winter. Always allow the soil to begin to dry before watering again and tip out the water that pools in the catcher or saucer.
Light – Parlour palms don’t need lots of light, and can be healthy near a window that gets some early morning or late afternoon indirect light. It’s also likely they will be perfectly healthy in low light areas; it will just grow a bit slower.
Fertiliser – all-purpose plant fertiliser is fine for the Parlour Palm and can be given ever two to three weeks during spring and summer, your palm won’t need any fertiliser during autumn and winter.
2. Boston Fern – keep your cat entertained too
Care required: low/medium
Environment type: humid
The Boston Fern is an attractive and easy to maintain houseplant, and you might your kitty gets some enjoyment out of playing with and chewing on the leaves. These ferns keep growing year after year (they grow so well in fact; you might need to trim them back) and are non-toxic to cats and dogs.
Soil – Ensure the soil for your Boston Fern has good drainage to avoid rotting roots, this can be achieved by using rich organic mixture and adding some perlite.
Water – Boston Ferns grow best in cool, damp places so if you’re keeping yours inside or live in an area of low humidity it’s a good idea to mist them with water every few days and ensure the soil stays moist – dry soil is the number one killer of Boston Ferns. To increase humidity try placing the pot on top of a tray containing water and pebbles – as the water evaporates the humidity of the air will increase.
Light – The Boston Fern will prefer medium indirect light, so near a window which gets early morning or late afternoon light is best, or if outside make sure it’s protected by some shade.
Fertiliser – a complete and balanced fertiliser is fine, during spring and summer you can feed your fern around once a month. Then in autumn and winter once every three months – if at all.
3. Swedish Ivy – an Australian native
Care required: low
Environment type: mild and bright
Common in northern Australia and the Pacific Islands, Swedish Ivy is a simple to maintain trailing plant that is a great start for beginner gardeners. Your cat or dog might enjoy sniffing around and playing with the vines and leaves – but don’t worry, they’re not toxic.
Soil – Swedish Ivy enjoys a lightly packed potting mix with a bit of perlite mixed through to help with drainage.
Water – between watering, let the soil dry out slightly, good drainage soil is needed because the plants do not like to sit in water or damp environments. You should be able to get away with watering them around once a week.
Light – the vine plant enjoys bright but indirect light throughout the year, if this isn’t possible and it’s the plant seems to be struggling you could try supplementing with fluorescent light to keep it happy. Swedish Ivy also prefers a mild climate of around 15-25 degrees Celsius.
Fertiliser – general liquid houseplant fertiliser is fine for the Swedish Ivy, and can be given every two weeks during spring and summer, and monthly for autumn and winter.
4. Prayer Plant – with big colourful leaves
Care required: low
Environment type: humid
The Prayer Plant is an interesting addition to your indoor garden, it’s unique in the way its big pretty leaves fold up in the evening as if it is praying. It’s an easy plant to grow and is not any danger to your cat or dog – but there are a couple of specific steps to keep it happy and thriving.
Soil – The Prayer Plant prefers well-drained soil, so it's fine to use a general potting mix that has some perlite mixed through.
Water – Try to keep the plant in a humid environment to simulate the Brazilian rainforests that it’s native to. You can mist it with water to do this or place the pot over a tray of pebbles submerged in water. Use lukewarm water and ensure the soil is kept moist but never soggy – watering every few days should do the trick. During winter the Prayer Plant becomes slightly dormant, so allow the soil to be a bit drier, but still keep the atmosphere humid by misting daily.
Light – Prayer Plants enjoy bright, indirect sunlight, but are also somewhat tolerant of low light conditions, during winter they will likely slow down or become dormant. The ideal temperatures are between 16 and 26 degrees Celsius.
Fertiliser – Use an all-purpose fertiliser to feed your Prayer Plant every two to three weeks.
5. African Violet – cheerful and pretty flowers
Care required: high
Environment type: specific
Besides the beautiful velvety leaves and flowers, one of the most appealing things about growing African Violets is the tiny space they take up. You can keep them in small pots for showy displays and rearrange them to the best spots in your house. Even if they are within range of your cat or dog, they are not poisonous and won’t cause your pets any harm.
Soil – The first step to caring for African Violets is to ensure you have the right soil, you might find some specifically made, or make your own from an equal mix of peat moss, vermiculite and perlite.
Water – African violets are very sensitive to the water, so you should take care when doing so. The soil should always be kept moist to the touch, but never flood the soil or let the plant stand in water. Allow the water to stand for 48 hours, and get it to a tepid or lukewarm level before watering. The foliage can also be damaged by water – even a few droplets – so remember to water African Violets at the base and never splash the leaves or flowers.
Light – The African Violet prefers filtered medium/bright light, depending on the colour of the foliage, dark green leaves will need more light than pale leaves. Rotate the pots frequently to stop the flowers from reaching too much light, and try to keep the plant bathed in light for around 8 hours a day. If this isn’t possible you could consider supplementing with fluorescent lights to help the plants grow.
Fertiliser – Specific African Violet fertiliser can be used to help your plant grow, or look for something with a high amount of phosphorus. Fertiliser can be mixed at one quarter strength and used each time you water the plants. If there are less flowers of the leaves are becoming pale they are likely not getting enough fertiliser.