We love filling our homes with rich, luscious greenery. Houseplants have a multitude of benefits — from natural purification of the air, to the emotional and mental benefits of having a closer relationship with nature (which has been especially poignant during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown). Indoor plants can boost your creativity, concentration and mood, and can reduce stress and fatigue.
But if your plants share a space with your furry friends, some popular plants are better than others. While certain plants are pet-friendly, others can cause serious health issues and even death.
To avoid any panicked trips to your local vet, here are five pet-friendly houseplants and four that you should avoid:
1. Spider Plant
A very popular choice for indoor plant enthusiasts, the Spider Plant may prove tempting to playful kittens who will enjoy playing with the leaves. But don’t worry if your kitten or pup decides to chow down, this plant is non-toxic and won’t have any negative health impacts for your pet.
2. Figleaf Palm
Palms are popular houseplants for Australian homes and luckily most are pet-friendly. Just be sure to avoid any palms with “Sago” or “Cycad” in the names as these types of palms can be dangerous and can cause death if ingested by your pet.
3. Boston Fern
This humidity-loving plant is easy to care for and will look gorgeous in the corner of your bathroom. Tropical plants, such as the Boston Fern, thrive in humid environments making most bathrooms an excellent location for them. A fantastic air-purifier, the Boston Fern is four-legged friend approved.
4. Blue Echeveria
This favourite succulent is likely to drive your pets away due to its spiky leaves. But, if they do decide to take a little nibble, you don’t need to worry as this little beauty is non-toxic to animals. In fact, all variations of Echeveria are pet-friendly and they’re also easy to take care of, with only occasional watering required as these succulents are drought-resistant.
The Pilea, or Chinese Money Plant, is easy to take care of and very easy to propagate. In no time at all you’ll have your own little Pilea forest that your cat or dog will love to explore and sniff, with no danger to them.
Houseplants to avoid!
Lilies are a gorgeous family of plant, but many of the varieties within the Lily family are incredibly toxic to dogs and cats. In fact, Lilies are among the most toxic plants to animals. Nibbling or even just mouthing a tiny bit of Lily material can cause complete kidney failure in 36-72 hours. If your cat or dog has had access to a Lily, take them to your nearest vet immediately (even if you haven’t seen them in contact with the plant).
2. Aloe Vera
This hardy plant is great for sunburn but definitely not great for your beloved pets. Aloe Vera contains anthraquinone glycosides which cause severe vomiting and diarrhoea. Compared to the lethal toxicity of Lilies, Aloe Vera toxicity rating is mild to moderate. Ingesting Aloe vera can cause seizures, vomiting, breathing difficulty and even coma in pets.
3. Rubber Plant
An increasingly popular indoor plant due to its easy maintenance, the Rubber Plant is unfortunately poisonous to cats and dogs due to compounds found in the sap. These chemicals can even attack the DNA in cells, so give this one a miss. If you suspect your pet has gotten a bit too friendly with a Rubber Plant, watch out for these signs: vomiting, diarrhoea, skin irritation and drooling.
4. Devil’s Ivy
This trailing plant may look innocent draped around your home, but it lives up to its name when pets are concerned. Ingestion can result in vomiting, foaming at the mouth and difficulty breathing in pets. Some plant sites recommend simply keeping Devil’s Ivy out of reach of your pets, but we think it’s better to be safe than sorry and just keep it out of your house completely.
Plants can have great benefits for both you and your furry friends, but having the wrong kind of houseplant can have devastating effects. Our pets are important members of our families and it is up to us to keep them safe. So, as you’re filling your home with a little bit of nature, always do your research and make sure that your new plant-babies are fur-baby approved.