20 Pet-Friendly Houseplants That Are Safe for Cats or Dogs—And 20 That Aren't

Before you bring home a new plant, be sure to check that it's safe for your pets, too.
Before you bring home a new plant, be sure to check that it's safe for your pets, too. / Dustin Jaros / EyeEm / EyeEm Collection / Getty Images

Plants add an element of joy to most homes, bringing more nature and color to our lives. They can help infuse a space with a sense of tranquility, and some studies even suggest that they may come in handy if you’re looking to purify the air inside your house. But before you get carried away cultivating your indoor jungle, you need to make sure that whatever you bring in won't end up making your pets sick.

“It’s very important to purchase pet-safe plants for your home so that your pet doesn’t end up with an emergency vet or hospital visit,” Dr. Katy Nelson, senior veterinarian at Chewy, tells Mental Floss. According to Nelson, a plant is considered “toxic” if it can cause harm to a pet through ingestion or contact.

Exposure to toxic plants is actually more common for cats and dogs than you might expect. In its list of the most commonly reported pet toxins, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) ranks plants as one of the biggest, alongside over-the-counter medications and chocolate. It accounted for 9.8 percent of all cases seen by the APCC in 2021, with the organization noting in past years that the most severe cases involved cats exposed to lilies.

“Eating, or in some cases even chewing on, toxic plants can lead to things like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, drooling, seizures, coma, loss of coordination, liver failure, kidney failure and death,” says Nelson, who recommends that pet parents call a trusted veterinarian or animal poison control immediately if they suspect that their dog or cat has ingested a potentially toxic houseplant.

While certain plants can be hazardous to pets, there are plenty out there that are perfectly fine to keep at home, too. Apart from potentially improving your indoor air quality, some studies suggest that all that added greenery could promote better concentration and productivity, which is all the more reason to add a few to your collection. Below are 20 pet-friendly plants that could be great to check for the next time you go shopping, plus 20 toxic plants that you probably don’t want to invite into your home any time soon.

20 Plants That Are Safe To Have Around Cats and Dogs

1. Air Plants
2. Areca Palm
3. Banana Plant
4. Boston Fern
5. Bromeliad
6. Calathea
7. Christmas Cactus
8. Echeveria
9. Friendship Plant
10. Money Tree
11. Mosaic Plant
12. Parlor Palm
13. Ponytail Palm
14. Prayer Plant
15. Purple Waffle Plant
16. Royal Velvet Plant
17. Spider Plant
18. Swedish Ivy
19. Venus Fly Trap
20. Zebra Haworthia

... And 20 That Aren’t

1. Aloe
2. Aglaonema
3. Asparagus Fern
4. Azalea
5. Chrysanthemum
6. Cyclamen
7. Dieffenbachia
8. Elephant’s Ear
9. Eucalyptus
10. Hyacinth
11. Ivy
12. Jade Plant
13. Lilies
14. Oleander
15. Pothos
16. Philodendron
17. Rhododendron
18. Sago Palm
19. Snake Plant
20. Tulips