Plants for Households with Children and Pets

Have an urban jungle while keeping your curious kids and pets safe! While these plants are non-toxic, you still do not want to ingest them unless they are specifically edible. Ingesting non-edible plants in mass can still cause reactions.

SaintPaulias aka African Violets

These beautiful and compact flowering houseplants are not toxic to dogs, cats, or other small house pets. Keep them happy with bright, direct light. Keep their soil moist, but not soggy, and only water at the base to avoid getting their foliage wet. Their cute, colored blooms come in a variety of colors, adding a sweet delicateness to the thick, dark leaves. Fertilize your plant every other watering to promote plant growth and blooming.

Aspidistra Elatior aka Cast Iron Plant

This plant is a very robust and versatile evergreen. It is not toxic, and can handle a wide range of temperatures, humidity levels, and amounts of light. However, it is best to place it out of direct sunlight, as this can cause damage to the plants leaves. Water this leafy companion moderately. It does prefer moist soil, but over-watering is always a danger. Let it dry out slightly between waterings.

Schlumbergera aka Christmas Cactus

This beautiful cactus variety is known by several names. Christmas Cactus and Linkleaf Cactus are two of the most popular names for this unique plant. It can grow to be quite tall, and its flowers can come in a variety of colors. It prefers partial shade and a warmer climate, with a need for moderate moisture. It is a drought-tolerant cactus, so be careful not to over-water by letting it dry out in between waterings. If growth slows or blooms cease, try a little cactus fertilizer to ensure it is getting the nutrients it needs.

Ferns

Ferns can be temperamental plants as they require more specific environments to thrive. Keep your indoor ferns in a shady spot that gets lots of indirect sunlight. Ferns also do best in warm and humid spaces with lots of moisture. Make sure you are watering often, as the soil should never dry out. Try to avoid soaking the soil though, as too much water is not good either. Placing a humidifier near your ferns, or misting them often can help keep humidity levels where they need to be for the fern to be happy and healthy.

Ficus Lyrata aka Fiddle Leaf Fig

These beautiful plants with their big, broad, and almost lumpy leaves make for a lovely, stylish, and non-toxic addition to any room. They can be pruned as a tree or bush, depending on your preferred look or available space. Plant them in rich, well-draining soil, and water every two weeks or so. If the top couple inches of soil are dry, it might be time to water. Let the plant dry out between waterings to avoid the roots getting water-logged. Fiddle Leaf Figs will be most happy receiving partial or indirect sun. Try to leave this plant in one spot, as it doesn’t respond well to being moved around a lot.

Herbs

With all the various kinds of herbs, from all the different colors, sizes, and uses, they always make a nice addition to any kitchen, table, or windowsill. Not only are they delicate and cute, but they are edible too, and who doesn’t like having some fresh basil to throw in their salad, or fresh mint as a garnish on your dessert? Different herbs vary in care needs, but most like a decent bit of water, lots of sun, and pruning to encourage additional growth.

Plectranthus australis – Swedish Ivy

This climbing evergreen is a very hardy, beautiful and low-maintenance plant that will grow indoors or outdoors. It is non-toxic to your furry friends, making it a great houseplant. Ivy should be planted in a well-draining soil, as really the only way to kill it is by over-watering, which will cause the roots to rot. Water moderately and allow soil to dry out. Ivy will thrive wherever you put it, and can even tolerate full shade, though partial sun is best. When really happy, this plant will even product white or purple flowers!

Orchidaceae aka Orchids

Orchids come in many varieties. The variety pictured here is an Epidendrum Orchid, and among the rest of its kind, is not a threat to house pets. To keep your orchids beautiful and blooming, water once a week. Avoid watering too much, as over-watering can lead to root rot. Placing an ice cube at the base of the plant is a common method of watering that can work well if done correctly. It is often recommended to feed your plant with an orchid-specific fertilizer once per week. This will help keep it healthy and blooming. Another thing that helps an orchid if it stops producing its flowers is to re-pot it in some fresh orchid mix. With the literal tens-of-thousands of species of orchids, each of them can require slightly different care. Be sure to look into your specific orchid type to make sure it gets the care it needs!

Palms

Palms of all kinds provide a leafy, tropical and pet-safe look to any space. For best results, place your palm in bright, but indirect sunlight. The leaves of the palm are sensitive, and if exposed to direct light will burn. Palms will still remain healthy with very little light, though their growth rates will remain relatively slow. Maintain moist soil, but be aware of over-watering. Allow the top couple inches of soil to dry out before watering again, to help guard against root rot. The amount of light your palm receives will also affect the amount of water it needs. If you have it in a shaded corner that does not catch much light, it will need much less water. If the tips of the leaves start to yellow, this means it is over-watered! This plant can withstand some drought, and it is easier to kill them by over-watering than by under-watering, so when in doubt, let it dry out.

Peperomia

These cute, low-growing plants are hardy, adaptable and toxin-free! They prefer to grow in medium light, but can tolerate low light, as well as a limited direct light. However, too much of either will likely leave it slightly unhappy. Water around once a week, though always check the dirt first. If the soil is wet on top, it doesn’t need more water. Generally, the plant is ready for another watering when the soil is try to the touch 2 inches below the surface. You can tell if you are under-watering as the plant will wilt or the leaves will start to curl.

Beaucarnea recurvata aka Ponytail Palm

This plant is great for those of you with busy schedules. It does not require much attention, and generally can thrive on neglect. Just a little sunlight and not a lot of water and you will have one happy ponytail palm. They can sit in anything from full sun to partial shade, as long as they are getting some light. When you water, give the plant a generous drink, allowing water to seep out of the bottom of the container. However you always want to make sure the soil has had a chance to completely dry out before watering again. Planting your palm in a well-draining soil will aid in ensuring you do not drown the plant. For many ponytail palms, watering once a month is adequate, however this varies for all plants depending on size, maturity, and environment.

Maranta leuconeura aka Prayer Plant

Popular for its distinctly colorful and decorated leaves, the Maranta and Calathea plants make for delightful, toxin-free houseplants. They grow best in bright, indirect sunlight and need a moderate amount of water. The roots of these plants like to stay moist, though not soaked. Periodically set your plant in a sink and let water run through the soil until it comes out the bottom of the container. You can do this again once the top of the soil begins to feel dry. These plants also prefer humid environments, so misting or placing a humidifier in the room will help greatly with the health of this evergreen.

Chlorophytum comosum aka Spider Plant

These beautiful plants are easy to take care of, pose no threat to your furry house-mates, and are great for purifying the air around surrounding the plant. Water just enough to keep the soil moist. You will be able to tell if you are over-watering your spider plant as the leaf tips will begin to turn brown. Bright indirect sunlight is best for this hanging beauty, and if it is kept happy enough, it will produce little white flowers as a way of saying “thank you.”

Succulents

If you have limited space or don’t want to worry about potting and caring for larger plants, succulents are a great option! With hundreds of varieties safe for your pets, you can come up with a combination of plants to add a touch of color to any room. Be careful though, succulents need very little water and will be happiest getting a lot of direct sun. Your succulents are able to survive without a lot of sun, but they will get very leggy (long stems and spread out leaves, versus the compact, plump leaves and short stems of most succulents). Succulents are very drought tolerant and can stand to completely dry out before receiving another watering. Planting them in a well-draining cactus/succulent potting mix, in pots that have drainage holes, is a good way to avoid over-watering. Look into the more specific details of the variety you pick out, as each one has slightly different needs.

Citrus Trees

Though it may sound intimidating growing a citrus tree indoors, it is definitely possible and not as hard as it sounds! Citrus trees need direct sunlight for about five to six hours a day in order to produce fruit. The plant can survive on less sunlight than that, though the likelihood that it will produce fruit greatly diminishes with lack of direct light. Citrus trees need a lot of nutrients, so planting them in soil that is rich in organic matter is idea. Try combining your potting soil with compost and peat moss for best results. Citrus trees also like humidity, so it will help greatly to have a humidifier in the room. You can also place your plant on top of a pebble tray (tray with rocks and water) and the evaporating water throughout the day will help keep the plant well moisturized. Citrus trees also require fertilization in order to produce fruit. For more information on growing citrus trees and pollination of indoor trees, come visit our garden center and talk to one of our citrus pros.

Pilea aka Chinese Money Plant

Being one of the most productive air-purifying plants, as well as toxin-free, this Pilea is the perfect plant for your home! This plant is easily propagated as well, so you can grow them all over your house! Bright indirect light is ideal, as direct light can scorch the leaves. Water regularly, letting the soil dry out between waterings. The amount of sun your plant gets will affect the amount of water it needs. Well draining soil and a pot with a drainage hole is highly recommended, as this will help ensure that the plant does not start to rot from its roots. You will know if your Pilea needs water, as the leaves will start to appear droopy. If the leaves start to accumulate dust, feel free to give them a gentle wipe to keep your plant looking fresh and vibrant!