Pet-friendly flowers and houseplants

dog laying on couch surrounded by plants

Danny Baggs

Posted July 25, 2022

Many common household plants and flowers are toxic to cats, dogs and other pets. To keep your pets safe, here are some pet-friendly houseplants to choose instead.

Flowers remain one of the most popular gifts for special occasions, and houseplants have become increasingly popular in recent years. Like many human foods however, some plants are toxic to common pets like cats and dogs, and are not conducive to a dog-friendly or cat-friendly home
Here are some of the most beautiful pet-friendly plants that you can safely bring into your home. If you are planning to spend a lot of time away from your home on holiday and leave your pet with your house flowers or plants, consider using a pet hotel. Even safe plants can cause some mild gastrointestinal upset in dogs and cats if they eat more than a few bites.


cat with a rose

Roses are safe for cats and dogs. Image: Getty

Pet-friendly flowers for your home

1. Rose

Roses (Rosa sp.) are beautiful, finely fragranced and come in a wide variety of shapes and colours. Red roses are considered a romantic flower in many Western cultures. Luckily, these popular blooms are pet safe. Just make sure to remove any thorns from the stems in case your cat or dog gives them a munch.

2. Gerbera daisy

Gerbera daisies (Gerbera jamesonii) are a popular bouquet choice for all occasions thanks to their cheery, eye-catching shades of red, pink, yellow and white. Their soft petals can be tempting to chew on for cats and dogs, however, so keep them placed high in the home. While these daisies aren’t toxic, you want to keep them looking beautiful.

3. Sunflower

Common sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) are a symbol of happiness – plus their seeds make for a delicious snack. In fact, all parts of the sunflower are edible for humans. They’re also non-toxic to your dog or cat. Place your sunflowers in bright sunshine to keep them happy and watch young sunflowers turn their faces toward the sun throughout the day.


dog with sunflowers

Sunflowers are a symbol of happiness for both you and your pet. Image: Getty

4. Orchid

Orchids (Orchidaceae) are a delicate and expensive flowering plant renowned for their unique beauty, lending a sense of elegance to any room. The common moth orchid (Phalaenopsis) that you’ll find in most flower shops grows gorgeous purple-white flowers that can last for month and will re-bloom the next season. If you cat or dog has a cheeky nibble, you’ll be more concerned for the health of your orchid than your pet. Other orchids like Cymbidum, Dendrobium and Oncidium are also pet-friendly.

5. African violet

African violets (Saintpaulia) are beautiful indoor plants: small, low-maintenance, and rife with tiny purple or pink flowers year-round that are safe for your pets. African violets prefer moderate temperatures and average humidity. This flower doesn’t need bright light or a lot of care: just its soil kept moderately moist, with water allowed to soak up through its drainage holes to avoid damaging its delicate petals.


cat chewing gerbera daisies

Gerbera daisies won't harm your cat if he takes a bite. Image: Getty

Pet-friendly houseplants

1. Spider plant

Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are one of the easiest pet-friendly indoor plants available. This green and white striped plant adds a touch of 70s and 80s décor to your home. Also called ribbon plant, spider ivy or airplane plant, the spider plant is non-toxic to both cats and dogs. It’s very easy to grow indoors thank to their resilience – plus, they are wonderful natural air purifiers and propagate easily, allowing you to grow your indoor garden on the cheap.

2. Peperomia

The Peperomia plant family (Piperaceae) has many different varieties in different colours and textures, all of which are totally safe for your cats and dogs. They’re also pretty low maintenance, happily forgiving a missed watering or two, and look good in hanging baskets as well as pots. The Watermelon Peperomia (Peperomia argyreia) is a particular favourite thanks to its glossy, watermelon-like green and white leaves.

3. Air plant

Air plants (Tillandsia spp.) are ‘epiphytes’: in nature, they grow on other plants. In other words, they don’t need to be potted in soil; they’re quite happy to live on rocks and branches in terrariums. All air plants need is air, indirect sunlight and a quick water once a week. Although their spindly leaves might be tempting to your pet, they are non-toxic.


cat standing underneath spider plant

Cats love spider plants' spindly arms. Image: Getty

4. Calathea

Calatheas (Calathea spp.), also called prayer plants, are a gorgeous group of plants with almost 60 species with names like rattlesnake, zebra or peacock plants thanks to their fascinating stripes and stippling. Several varieties of Calathea are pet-friendly, like the big, velvety and robust Calathea Rufibarba (Goeppertia rufibarba), and the beautiful but delicate pinstripe plant (Calathea ornata).

5. Banana palm

The banana palm (Musa spp.) has big, bright leaves that can give your pets a naturally shady spot to lounge in. It’s large enough to make a statement in your home while remaining non-toxic to cats and dogs. Keep it in rich soil with bright light and regular watering to grow a luscious palm that adds a distinctly tropical vibe to your home. The most common banana palm is the Dwarf Cavendish (Musa acuminata).


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