Plants and Pets: Our 10 Favorite Pet-Safe Indoor Plants and 7 to Avoid

Posted on Jan 22, 2015

All too often in our nursery, people fall in love with a plant, only to remember, to their dismay, that not all houseplants are pet-safe. “Is this plant safe for dogs? Cats?” they ask.

The answer, as it turns out, is a bit complicated. Many of the most common varieties are not pet-safe indoor plants. That said, the majority of plants that are “poisonous” to your pet will actually only cause them some temporary discomfort, such as indigestion, of course depending on the size of your pet and how much of the plat he or she makes as a snack.

While pets munching on plants isn’t a problem we’ve personally experienced in our homes, it’s always a good idea to play it safe. That’s why we’ve assembled this list of our favorite pet-safe indoor plants that we commonly carry in the nursery and ship from our web shop. Plus, we’ve listed a few that you should avoid (or isolate from pet areas), just to be sure.

Pet-safe Indoor Plants

All these beauties are pet-safe indoor plants! In the image: Ficus alii, Mounted Staghorn Fern, Bird’s Nest Fern, Giant Bromeliad, Tillandsia species, Jungle cactus cork mount (rhipsalis sp), Hoya Carnosa, and Tess, our shop dog.

Our 10 Favorite Pet-Safe Indoor plants:
  1. Rhipsalis  – Mistletoe Cactus
  2. Asplenium nidus – Bird’s Nest Fern
    • Beautiful, rosette-like fern that is happy in medium light and looks beautiful as a kokedama.
  3. Giant Tropical Bromeliads
    • Low light tolerant, easy to care for, and shooting out enormous, long-lasting flower spikes
  4. Hoya – Wax Plant
    • A classic houseplant that lives for years and likely crept around your grandmother’s kitchen. Works well in a kokedama. Loads of Hoya species are available, and we love them all! A few favorites are Hoya carnosa compacta, Hoya kerrii and Hoya pubicalyx
  5. Tradescantia – Wandering Jew
    • Beautifully variegated and lustrous leaves, prolific grower and easy as pie to propagate. [note: safe for cats only – there is mixed information about whether this plant is safe for dogs]
  6. Spider Plant
    • Long, leaves, often variegated and curly, and produces lots of baby plantlets to share with your friends! Plus, it’s said to be a great air purifier
  7. Echeveria – Hens and Chicks
    • Beautiful rosettes that spread easily with little root space and love a sunny window.
  8. Staghorn Fern
    • Antler-like fronds shoot out of these epiphytic ferns, making them beautiful wall mounted plaques.
  9. Tillandsia – Air Plants
  10. Fittonia – Nerve Plant
    • Pink and white leaves look almost embossed with nerve-like lines. Loves to stay wet – great for the over-waterer.
Bonus: Pilea and Peperomia species

Since we wrote this blog post, we’ve discovered loads more pet safe plants to love. Two genera worth mentioning are Pilea and Peperomia. All species within these genera are considered safe to cats and dogs, and there are so many great ones to choose from, like the instagram-famous Pilea peperomioides and Watermelon Peperomia.

Plants to Avoid or Keep Away from your Pets

Unfortunately, many of our favorites fall onto this list of unsafe plants for pets. Here’s a few to keep away from your dog or cat.

  • Pothos species
  • Philodendron species
  • Monstera deliciosa
  • Euphorbia species
  • Schefflera species
  • Jade plant
  • Sansevieria

We hope this list of pet-safe indoor plants helps you liven up your home with confidence that everyone in your household will benefit from the greenery!


  1. Fran Saperstein
    March 10, 2016

    I have pet birds. Always have. Originally had 25 finches that absolutely loved and lived in my 2 or 3 ficus trees. I always worry about the insecticide sprayed on these trees before purchase. It must be impossible to find one that has never been sprayed. Am I correct? Before allowing my birds in the tree, I washed them outdoors with plain water, then soapy water, then plain. Must have washed the damn things 10 times. Birds loved the trees and survived. Thank God.

    Now I have Love Birds. Real chewers! I literally have no live plants in the house but I have to be careful even with the artificial tree I have because I believe the bark is treated with fumaldihide (sp?) . Am awaiting a new ficus
    for the bird room I’m decorating in my home..

    You listed several save plants for pets but didn’t say anything about the insecticides sprayed on them before purchase. So exactly how worried should we be about this? I know I’m absolutely paranoid and hate feeling like this.

    Would love hearing back from you….


    • Jesse
      March 11, 2016

      Hey Fran,

      Thanks for writing in. Your bird room sounds really cool!

      You’re correct that it would be hard to find these trees and other tropicals grown without being sprayed (though I’m sure organic indoor plant nurseries must exist). Pesticides certainly can be dangerous to pets. That said, I’ve never read anything specifically mentioning poisoning from pesticides – only from the plant itself. Unfortunately I don’t know much about birds, and so I can’t say with certainty whether it would be safe or not, but I think that your effort to wash plants before allowing your birds to get in them is good precaution.

      Best of luck,

      • Misha
        May 16, 2017

        Organic does NOT mean pesticide-free as there are organic pesticides. Choosing to go to a special store that advertises itself as organic DOES NOT guarantee that the plants you buy are free from any toxic sprays.

        • Audrey
          January 3, 2018

          . .. I thought that’s exactly what organic means.. All natural & not pesticides. Not being sarcastic or snarky.. Can you explain it please?

          • Audrey
            January 3, 2018

            I mean i understand that there are natural pesticides. you just mean to let people know to watch out for those? Since something natural can still be toxic to pets?

    • dr joe
      February 8, 2019

      “loves” birds yet imprisons them in small cages

      • orangejuice
        June 27, 2019

        bruh this post is from 3 years ago

      • Lehcar
        September 6, 2019

        You’re rude and ignorant. Keep your comments to yourself “Dr.”

  2. Tracey
    April 3, 2016

    Note that the wandering jew plant is considered toxic to dogs and non toxic to cats. I think you should consider removing this one from your list.

  3. Lindsay
    April 3, 2016

    I am relatively new to growing houseplants – we just moved into a house recently and I received a Creeping Charlie (pilea nummulariifolia) as a housewarming gift. I have never had success growing anything before, but my first Charlie has already made 3 babies from cuttings and they are all growing like crazy!
    I am frankly surprised with all the searching I have been doing for easy-care and pet-safe houseplants that this plant has not been on any lists, as it is completely safe for pets ( and is so incredibly easy to grow (seriously – put in pot and throw water in periodically). Mine don’t seem to care about what light they are in either.
    Can you pretty please add this plant to the list next time this page is updated? If there are other fur-baby parents that have black thumbs like me, I think they’d really like the Charlie plants 🙂
    Great content on your site – next one I am planning on is a Hoya Carnosa!

    • Jesse
      April 6, 2016

      Thanks for the info, Lindsay! We’ll definitely keep Creeping Charlie on our shortlist of safe plants for the next post on the subject. So glad you found the site useful and that you’re having success with your new houseplant hobby! We have a good post up about hoya care as well, so check that out if you decide to go on to the Carnosa!

      Jesse – Pistils Nursery

  4. Lex
    April 14, 2016

    Howdy guys!
    I’ve been dying to get a fiddle leaf fig, had one in my arms, and then remembered my cat.

    ASPCA says that it IS poisonous to cats. I’m curious to know if you guys have found that its just an irritant, or if its actually dangerous

    • Jesse
      April 15, 2016

      Hey Lex,

      I think it depends on how much your cat ingests. Personally, I have plenty of “poisonous” houseplants around my pets, since they’ve never shown any interest in chewing on the leaves. It’s always best to stay on the safe side, especially if your cat likes to nibble. But we have found that most are just irritants or cause indigestion/discomfort.

      Hope this helps – sorry we can’t be more specific,

  5. Bry
    May 20, 2016

    Hiya, just wondering what the nice plant with the darker green leaves in the white pot hanging down over the table near Tess’s head is please?


    • Jesse
      May 23, 2016

      Hey Bry, The plant is a Hoya Carnosa. There are a lot of different cultivars with slightly different leaf shapes and colors, but they’re widely available at most nurseries!

      Best of luck,

  6. Susan
    June 4, 2016

    Also want to buy a fiddle leave fig….but have dogs and want to plant it in the yard here in Arizona. Want to make sure my dogs would get hurt? What does everyone think?

    • Jesse
      June 8, 2016

      Hey Susan,

      I’ve removed the ficus from the list of safe plants as there seems to be mixed information. That said, do your dogs have a history of nibbling on trees? Would the plants be large enough that the leaves would be out of their reach? From what I can tell, ingestion of the plant may cause gastrointestinal distress, so I’d take a look at how your dogs have behaved in the past and decide if it’s worth it.

      All the best,

  7. Deb
    June 5, 2016

    I have checked out about for my cats, and between what I’ve researched, and my vet, they can make cats and dogs very sick, poisonous. For our kids’ safety, please double check on this one! Thank you

    • Jesse
      June 8, 2016

      Hey Deb,

      Thanks for writing in. I’ve removed the ficus species from the list, as it does seem that there is mixed information about these trees, and it’s not worth the confusion!

      All the best,

  8. Gail H
    June 7, 2016

    I have been REALLY wanting a Fiddle Leaf Fig but keep hearing they are poisonous? Would you say its more of an irritation than a poison?

    Would love to have one but my cat likes to munch plants.

    • Jesse
      June 8, 2016

      Hey Gail,

      If you have a cat that likes to munch, I’d say it’s best to err on the safe side and avoid the ficus. From what I’ve read, it can cause gastrointestinal distress, but you never know how your particular animal would react depending on how much they eat and it would be so sad if your cat were harmed. Alternately, you could try to get the plant and then place it somewhere in the house that’s inaccessible to your pets.

      Best of luck,

  9. Lexi
    January 20, 2017

    I have 2 parakeets and they enjoy nibbling on our household plant. The problem is I’m not sure the type of tree but it resembles a ficus alii. Any suggestions?

  10. Leila
    February 8, 2017

    Since my cat always had plenty of live catnip, grass, and other plants outdoors to nibble on (and she did, daily), I didn’t worry about my indoor plants. She has a kitty-door so comes and goes on her own. However, this winter, after two months of deep snow, ice, below freezing temps and no outdoors time (not to mention no live catnip), I discovered leaves missing from my purple shamrock plant. ??? Finally caught her in the act. She kept at it, so the shamrock plant has left, and I read up that that is a good thing. I am now trying to sprout some catnip indoors, and will also look at purchasing a spider plant. I had no idea that she would develop this hankering for vegetation when cooped up for the winter. So, end of story … even if it hasn’t been a problem, prolonged lack of access to easy vegetation may cause nibbling on a previously ignored plant.

  11. Ashton
    March 26, 2017

    I really love the look of philodendron plants indoors for their large leafs and tall heights. Is there a replacement plant that gives a similar texture that is non-toxic to dogs? I am not a big fan of fern plants and smaller textures. I have two small dogs that would come visit me occasionally and I don’t think they would eat anything but just in case I don’t want anything that could harm them if they did. Are the banana looking plants ok?

  12. Marie
    May 12, 2017

    Hello! So glad I’ve found your site as I love plants but also my dog 😉 I have a question about the monstera, my dog generally doesnt eat or nibble at plants, you think a monstera would be alright to keep? I just love how big they grow!! Or do you have a suggestion for a dog safe similar in size plant? Thank you so much!

  13. Lisa
    May 26, 2017

    Thank you so much for this. I’m so glad to see a nursery doing this. It’s usually only animal sites, and it’s so important for nurseries to be aware of these things. We never can get answers when we ask.

    My one suggestion/request would be to post photos of each of the plants, in each category, that you have listed. It would be great to see what they look like. Also, common names in the toxic category. (I don’t see lilies there, but maybe it’s there in the botanical name?)

    Thanks again for this. It’s very helpful. I will post a link on my animal website.

  14. Mialene
    June 16, 2017

    Hi there! –

    I was hoping you could assist on the Ficus Panama (Ficus Punctata)? I know it’s a Ficus but I can’t find any information on the plant species in general so I’m a little lost as far as its toxicity to my cats.


    • Jesse
      July 7, 2017

      Hey there! Unfortunately I’m not sure about the toxicity of that species but is our favorite resource for this.
      Hope this helps!

  15. Jody
    August 10, 2017

    Hi There from Australia!

    I’m looking for a plant with a bit of hight, what is the tall plant in the photo to the left. We have already experienced the affects of a toxic plant before and want to avoid this situation again (thankfully we had a good outcome)!

    Thanks in advance


  16. kai bevers
    December 13, 2017

    hey i bought a kitten yesterday and we had a couple different plants in house. we discovered some where poisenis and got them out of reach but we still don’t know about the himalayamix we have can someone please say if it is poisenis?

    thanks in advance

  17. Anastasia
    December 14, 2017

    Great list! I, like many others, have a lot of “toxic” plants in my home with two cats, and have never had them shred or eat any of them. Before I was confident that my cats would ignore toxic plants, I stuck to the varieties on this list plus I added 3-4 large palms trees that added height. They’re pet safe and added a really nice jungle atmosphere.

  18. Anastasia
    December 14, 2017

    Great list! I, like many others, have a lot of “toxic” plants in my home with two cats, and have never had them shred or eat any of them. Before I was confident that my cats would ignore toxic plants, I stuck to the varieties on this list plus I added 3-4 large palm trees that added height. They’re pet safe and added a really nice jungle atmosphere.

  19. Carla
    February 25, 2018


    I just came across your website and was hoping to gain some insight on the FIDDLE LEAF TREE “Ficus Lyrata”. I love the look of this tree and really wanted this in my home, but was reading through some websites and it is considered toxic for cats? I wonder if height can play a factor in purchasing the plant. I don’t believe my cats can reach that high but would want a second opinion. I was thinking of purchasing from I’d always error on the side of caution for my little ones but I think a tree height would be fine? Your input is appreciated!


  20. Adam Hopkins
    March 28, 2018

    Most four-legged companions love to range over their domain and also love to be at leisure near the plants. Thus, it is pivotal for a pet parent to be informed about the potential risks caused by the plants present in the house. A number of plants are there like- Money tree, Palms, Spider plant, Boston fern, African violet, Wax plant etc, where the pet parent can have fun without any concern. At the same time, there are also some houseplants like- Sago palm, Alocasia, Aloe, Arrowhead plant etc, that are highly toxic to the adorable darling. Hence, as a pet owner, you should always focus on decorating your home with non-toxic plants, and should aware of the signs of pet poisoning, by which you can save your pet’s life from fatal diseases caused by the unsafe houseplants. ‘Giving right kind of medication- that is normally offered by a skilled veterinarian- ‘ can definitely bring your pet’s unsafe life back to the safe and happy mode.

  21. Ida
    October 7, 2018

    One of my three cats ate a small air plant. I found vomit in three places this morning. Are air plants toxic to cats?

    • mariah
      June 6, 2019

      No they aren’t.. my cats (i have 10) like to eat my air plants.. its quite frustrating to be honest.. but they have yet to have any issues from munching on them.

  22. Lila
    October 14, 2018

    Trying to find an indoor “tree” similar to a fiddle leaf that is dog friendly. Any ideas?

  23. Jayme
    May 3, 2019

    Just a note, it says ” Echeveria – Hens and Chicks ” they arent the same plant. The latin name for hens and chicks is Sempervivum. Both echeveria and sempervivum are pet safe rosette forming plants, but they are distinctly different families. Echeveria dont really spread like sempervivum do, and prefer a lot of light.

  24. Mariah
    June 6, 2019


    Loved seeing all these.. I have a hard time with plants at my house because my cats.. or one cat in particular… like to eat them..
    I have a spider plant that they attack all the babies and eat the leaves.. (Spider plant hangs in the house during cold months)
    My air plants have been taken to work because she kept eating the tips off all of the pants making them look horrible.. (even when they were placed in areas that i didn’t think she could get to)
    I also got a beautiful Jasmine plant for Mothers Day this year and she has now moved on to eating the branches on that one too..
    Mind you.. she has the ability to go outside along with all my other cats..
    I guess what I am just trying to figure out what plants can I atempt to have that won’t look so pathetic if my cat decides she wants to mess with it. I do not have many window sills..
    I also have BIG dogs (Mastiff.. pit-mix.. aussies)
    So plants have to be durable haha..
    Anyway I am just trying to figure out what to do..

    Maybe a wandering Jew on top of a my tall (7+ foot tall) bookshelf?

  25. anoreksiya nedir
    October 1, 2019


  26. Megan
    October 17, 2019

    Hey, just wanted to add some info:

    For background, I work at a plant nursery. Fiddle Leaf Figs (Ficus lyrata) and other members of the ficus family all have toxic sap. It’s a sticky white sap that can drip from broken leaves or stems. It’s a mild skin irritant, can cause temporarily blindness (happened to a coworker!), and definitely stomach issues if ingested. If it gets on you/your pets, wash it off quickly and you should be fine.

    I don’t know for sure, but I’d assume Ficus allis are the same. (Breaks my heart, because I love them, but I have 4 plant-eating cats).

    Also, all euphorbias also have toxic sap. Same deal as with ficus — white, sticky, irritating. Wear gloves when repotting, etc.

    I’ve also heard that spider plants can make cats a little high, but are not harmful.

    To the earlier person whose cat puked up an air plant: that’s super common. Air plants are not toxic, but many cats will throw up after eating plants, even harmless “cat grass” (wheat grass).

    Hanging baskets, plants on high (completely inaccessible) shelves or on top of fridges, tall plant stands, and wall-mounted plants are all good solutions.

    I’ve also found that cats tend to like thin, grassy-type leaves and not thick, waxy ones. They haven’t messed with any orchids in our windowsill, or the night-blooming cereus, but your mileage may vary.

    Happy planting!


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