These 13 Indoor Plants Are Safe for Cats and Dogs (and Will Spruce Up Your Space)

houseplants safe for cats

Cathie Hong Interiors

Lush, green houseplants can beautify your space, brighten your day, and even clean the air in your home, but they don’t always mix well with our furry friends.In fact, some of the most common houseplants—like aloe, jade, and lilies—are poisonous if ingested by dogs or cats.

The only thing worse than your favorite new plant being eaten is taking your cherished pet on an expensive and stressful trip to the emergency vet. Luckily, there are lots of happy houseplants that are easy to grow and won't hurt your pets if they get their paws on them.

Read on for 13 houseplants that are safe for cats and dogs. Featuring eye-catching foliage, beautiful blooms, or both, these indoor plants are proof positive that pets and plants can safely coexist.

01 of 13

Air Plants

indoor plants safe for cats: air plants

Dine x Design

  • Botanical Name: Tillandsia
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: n/a (epiphytic)
  • Soil pH: n/a (epiphytic)

Hardy yet featherlight air plants, or Tillandsia, can thrive hung from the ceiling in a globe, mounted in a chic frame on the wall, or arranged on a narrow windowsill—all places that are extra-tough for cats and dogs to reach. And even if your critters do manage to sink their teeth into one, it’s comforting to know that air plants are nontoxic.

Air plants are epiphytes, which means they don't need soil to thrive. In the wild, air plants grow on tree branches and other surfaces, taking in nutrients and water from the air and the surroundings.

Choose from varieties like Tillandsia ionantha (also known as sky plant), whose leaf tips turn pink when it flowers, or a fuzzy, gray-green xerographic with long, curling leaves. 

02 of 13

Staghorn Fern

two staghorn ferns mounted on wood boards on white wall

Allison Cherry / Getty Images

 

  • Botanical Name: Platycerium bifurcatum
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: n/a (epiphytic)
  • Soil pH: n/a (epiphytic)

Like air plants, staghorn ferns are epiphytes. That means you can sidestep the soil-and-planter combo and grow your fern by wrapping its root ball in moss, then mounting it on a wooden board or plaque. Not only does this method of planting reward you with a living sculpture once you hang it on a wall, it helps keep your fern out of the reach of your four-legged friends. It’d take a pretty athletic pup or curious cat to get a bite of one of the fern's long, antler-shaped fronds.

03 of 13

Money Tree

houseplants safe for cats: money tree

Katherine Carter

  • Botanical Name: Pachira aquatica
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, peat-moss-based soil mix
  • Soil pH: 6.0 – 7.5

The tropical tree Pachira aquatica is often sold with several stems braided together. The plant gets its nickname from feng shui, where it earned a reputation for bringing financial fortune if you keep it in a bright, well-lit space in your home. If you’re a pet owner, consider yourself lucky already: The worst thing that can happen to your cat or dog if they eat a leaf from your money tree is an upset stomach—meaning no big vet bills for you!

04 of 13

Haworthia

houseplants safe for cats: haworthia

Erin Williamson Design

  • Botanical Name: Haworthiopsis attenuata
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining soil mix
  • Soil pH: 6.6 – 7.5

If you’re missing the spiny, tapering leaves of pet-unfriendly succulents like aloe, look no further than the many species in the Haworthia genus for an elegant, compact, and pet-friendly replacement. One of the most common is Haworthia fasciata (also known as zebra plant) for its point, dark-green leaves lined with thin, white horizontal stripes.

Display it in a sunny window that gets lots of bright, indirect light for best results. 

houseplants safe for cats: Haworthia
The Sill Haworthia $25
Shop
05 of 13

Echeveria

houseplants safe for cats: Echeveria

Ashley Montgomery Design

  • Botanical Name: Echeveria lilacina
  • Sun Exposure: Direct sun
  • Soil Type: Sandy, well-draining soil mix
  • Soil pH: 6.0

Several species in this colorful, roselike genus of succulents—wax rosette (Echeveria gilva), blue hen and chicks (Echeveria glauca), Copper Rose (Echeveria multicaulis), and Mexican gem (Echeveria elegans), to name a few—are nontoxic to dogs and cats. To keep them showing their brightest colors and prevent them from getting leggy, display yours in the brightest, sunniest spot in your space. 

06 of 13

Polka Dot Plant

Polka dot plant close up in a pink pot

Getty Images/timsa 

  • Botanical Name: Hypoestes phyllostachya
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Rich, well-draining soil mix
  • Soil pH: 5.6 – 6.5

Your cuddly fur babies are just about the only thing cuter than the polka dot plant (also known as baby’s tears). Its bushy green foliage, which looks like it’s been splatter-painted with shades of white, pink, or red, won’t hurt your dog or cat if they happen to chomp on a leaf or two. Even better, its colors show best in medium-bright light, giving you a little flexibility in where you decide to display it. 

07 of 13

Bird's Nest Fern

houseplants safe for cats: bird's nest fern

Cathie Hong Interiors

  • Botanical Name: Asplenium nidus
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Light, well-draining soil mix
  • Soil pH: 5.0 – 5.5

Along with other true ferns like Boston ferns, bold spear ferns, and staghorn ferns, bird's nest ferns are non-toxic to cats and dogs. With their long, drooping leaves—they do well in a window with bright, indirect light—they’re great hanging plants that can be displayed out of reach of your pets.

Keep in mind that plants with misleading common names—like asparagus fern, which is not a true fern but a toxic member of the lily family—are big trouble if your animals ingest them. 

houseplants safe for cats: bird's nest fern
The Sill Bird's Nest Fern $43
Shop
08 of 13

African Violet

African Violets

 Christina Schmidhofer/Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Saintpaulia ionantha
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Loose, porous, well-draining soil mix
  • Soil pH: 5.8 – 6.2

These adorable, pet-friendly houseplants are a kitchen windowsill classic, boasting cute flowers with yellow centers and petals in vivid shades ranging from white to deep purple—but you can put them anywhere in your home that gets lots of bright, indirect light. African violets thrive in moderate temperatures with good humidity, so choose a spot away from cold drafts to display yours. 

09 of 13

Parlor Palm

indoor plants safe for cats: parlor palm

Casa Watkins Living

  • Botanical Name: Chamaedorea elegans
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, peat-moss-based soil mix
  • Soil pH: 5.1 – 7.5

Parlor palms give a graceful tropical feel to any space and make great tall statement plants for high-ceilinged or open-plan spaces. Since large specimens are typically displayed in containers directly on the floor, it’s great news that they’re nontoxic to cats and dogs. They grow best with lots of bright, indirect light—think in front of a large, east-facing window—but can tolerate lower-light conditions, too. 

10 of 13

Prayer Plant

indoor plants safe for cats: prayer plant

Casa Watkins Living

  • Botanical Name: Maranta leuconeura
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining soil mix
  • Soil pH: 5.5 – 6.0

Add a pop of color to your bathroom with a pet-safe prayer plant, the collective name for plants in the Calathea and Maranta families. These humidity-loving plants get their nickname from the way their vibrant, stained glass-patterned leaves fold up at night as if in prayer, and they’re nontoxic to both dogs and cats. They need bright, indirect light, but not too much. Try displaying yours in a north-facing or east-facing windowsill. 

11 of 13

Spider Plant

indoor plants safe for cats: spider plant

Anne Sage

  • Botanical Name: Chlorophytum comosum
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting mix
  • Soil pH: 6.0 – 7.2

This charming tropical pops up in every kind of space not only because of its hardiness, flexibility, and elegant growth habit, but because no harm will come to your critters if they sink their teeth into its long, variegated leaves. Even better, spider plants can grow well in bright, indirect light or lower-light spaces, so you have lots of options when deciding where to display them.

12 of 13

Baby Rubber Plant

houseplants safe for cats:

Katie Hodges Design

  • Botanical Name: Peperomia obtusifolia
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting mix
  • Soil pH: 5.0 – 6.0

Nicknamed the "baby rubber plant," Peperomia obtusifolia shares some features with the traditional rubber plant—think thick, fleshy leaves; an upright growth habit; and a resilience against not-so-green thumbs. However, unlike the rubber plant, Peperomia obtusifolia is safe company for four-legged friends.

The thick, fleshy leaves of this succulent-like houseplant—a native of south Florida and the Caribbean—appreciate bright, indirect light, so perch yours upon a sunny windowsill. Note that the plant will tolerate low humidity, but easily succumbs to root rot when overwatered.

Peperomia Obtusifolia
The Sill Peperomia Obtusifolia $37
Shop
13 of 13

Orchid

houseplants safe for cats: orchid

Rikki Snyder

  • Botanical Name: Orchidaceae
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Loose, well-draining potting mix
  • Soil pH: 5.5 – 6.5

While orchids are often deemed difficult to care for, the popular phalaenopsis (or moth) orchid isn't particularly fussy. In fact, this orchid variety will reward you with delicate, showy blooms provided that you meet a few simple demands: Keep the plant in bright, diffused light; allow the soil to dry between waterings; and don't let its surroundings dip below 65 degrees.

Prefer the look of a different orchid variety? Rest assured that your dog or cat will be safe sharing a space with the plant—all plants within the Orchidaceae family are generally considered to be non-toxic.

white orchid
The Sill White Orchid $98
Shop
Article Sources
MyDomaine uses only high-quality, trusted sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Poisonous Plants. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Related Stories