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ASK A PLANT EXPERT: What are the safest plants to have around cats and dogs?

Every week we’re answering all your pervy questions about plants with the help of the plant geniuses over at Leaf Supply. Have a question you want answered? Send an email to [email protected] We’ve got you covered. 

Question: I have two cats and a dog. What are the safest plants to have around the little guys?

Plants and pets are two of our favourite things but there are definitely some instances where the two don’t live in harmony. While plenty of pets won’t pay an ounce of attention to your indoor jungle, there are certainly some curious creatures that just can’t help but get their noses in the soil or their claws into that beautiful foliage.

There are lots of indoor plants that have a level of toxicity for pets when consumed. Generally the animal would need to ingest a fair amount of the plant to be severely affected but even small amounts of the most toxic plants can cause some damage and discomfort to our furry friends. If you can’t bear to part with a toxic plant just make sure it’s placed up high and out of reach from even the highest of jumpers.

For those whose pets just can’t keep away from the greenery there’s no need to fret, there are some incredible non-toxic plants out there that will satisfy your green needs. Here are our top three that are also seriously beautiful to boot.

Peacock plant (Calathea orbifolia): like all varieties of Calathea, the orbifolia is safe for cats and dogs (and horses too!). It has striking bright green leaves with silver stripes. A show off just like its namesake bird, it makes a perfect(ly safe) addition to your plant gang. They like regular misting, well-draining soil and a moderate amount of water.

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Chinese money plant (Pilea peperomioides): not only is this plant bang on trend at the moment, it is also a safe bet for your pets. Other peperomias like the equally stunning Watermelon peperomia also fall in the safe category. They like bright, indirect light, moderate watering and well-draining soil. It’s also easily propagated, just gently cut off the little baby plants (pups) that form at the base of the plant and place in water.

Wax plant (Hoya): there are so many sweet varieties of Hoya out there. They have one of the most glorious little flowers. Ever. With juicy thick waxy leaves they are also super low maintenance. They like bright, indirect light but will tolerate lower light conditions, and a moderate amount of water with slightly less in winter.

A couple other plants on the safe list include:

  • Lipstick plant
  • Spider plant
  • Parlour palm
  • Staghorn fern
  • Boston fern

Some key plants to steer clear of include:

  • Pothos
  • Peace lily
  • Philodendron
  • Alocasia
  • Elephant ear
  • Syngonium
  • Strelitzia
  • Begonia
  • Dumb cane
  • Ivy
  • Zanzibar gem

Always double check before bringing a plant into your home and if you’re looking for more info on what is and isn’t safe, we find this to be a great resource

More from the Leaf Supply column: 

How do I know if I’m watering a plant too much or not enough?

What’s the one indoor plant even a black thumb like me can’t kill?

Leaf Supply is an online plant store delivering lush green goodness throughout Sydney and beautiful botanical wares Australia wide. It’s the love child of friends and massive plant nerds Lauren Camilleri + Sophia Kaplan, who believe that life is better surrounded by greenery. For some serious plantspiration, follow along on instagram @leaf_supply and check out their online store.

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