9 Pet-Friendly Houseplants That Aren't Totally Predictable

The situation: You love plants but you also love your pets. Okay! But a curious cat or dog might take a nibble of a precious houseplant you’ve been nurturing, despite it being seemingly out of reach. Bad news. The wrong plant, just like chocolate, can cause your pet to have seizures, tremors, or worse, says New Jersey veterinarian Dr. Judy Morgan. While they’re harmless to humans, certain plants can be toxic to pets when ingested. Wondering if you’ve got some in your home right now? Check out ASPCA’s Toxis Plant List and put them out of reach (or better yet, gift them to a new neighbor).

Do your research before you put your cat and your plants in the same room.

Photo: Mirthe Wubs/EyeEm/Getty Images

This goes for seasonal plants, too. As the holidays approach, stay away from poinsettias. While their bright red leaves can look cheery on a mantel, your mischievous kitty can get some serious stomach issues from chewing on them. A Christmas cactus—yes, that’s just a cactus you bring into your home to celebrate the holidays—can bring all the joy without none of the headaches, says Dr. Morgan. And for the rest of the year, if you’re thinking about adding some new greenery to improve your mood (or just bring some texture into your space), here are a few pet-friendly options and for every room in your apartment.

For a low-light corner of the living room…

Calathea Rattlesnake

The colors and easy weekly watering schedule make this Calathea, also called a prayer plant, a great addition to your low-light living room. Can you imagine that funky purple on the undersides of the leaves against your mid-century chair? We can.

SHOP NOW: Calathea Rattlesnake in Planter by The Sill, $52, thesill.com

Photo: Courtesy of The Sill

Tradescantia Zebrina

This plant’s eye-catching hue and soft, curling leaves add a pop to minimal decor and are safe for cats. It can live up high on a hanging basket and just requires bright, indirect light for part of the day.

SHOP NOW: Tradescantia Zebrina from The Plant Farm, $5, etsy.com

Photo: Courtesy of Etsy

For your desk slash cubicle…

Spider Plant

A favorite among vets, this plant is easy to grow indoors and incredibly resilient (yes, even to your black thumb!). Spider plants are also great air-purifiers, so they can help get rid of your home’s toxins.

SHOP NOW: Spider Plant from Pretty in Green Plants, $14, etsy.com

Photo: Courtesy of Etsy

In the corner of the bedroom…

Parlor Palm

Stick one on a credenza or nightstand that’s not too close to a window, as this palm needs only a few hours of indirect light a day.

SHOP NOW: Parlor Palm from Bloomscape, $65, bloomscape.com

Photo: Courtesy of Bloomscape

Calathea Orbifolia

The leaf pattern on this particular Calathea is exquisite, if you ask us. This houseplant needs partial shade, which make it perfect for a plant stand or a shelf in a bedroom that doesn’t get much natural light.

On the kitchen windowsill…


Basil, chamomile, thyme, and mint are all great kitchen herbs that are totally safe for your pets to snack on. They love direct light, so leave them to hang out by a window all day long.

SHOP NOW: Eco Planter Herb Kit by Modern Sprout, from $25, food52.com

Photo: Courtesy of Food52

(Certain) Succulents

Add some pet-friendly succulents, like this Haworthia, Echeveria, or a group of air plants, to your countertop and you’re golden.

SHOP NOW: Haworthia Miami in August Planter by The Sill, $50, thesill.com

Photo: Courtesy of The Sill

African Violet

If you’ve got open shelving in your kitchen, these flowers would be a great, colorful addition. (Just make sure the plant isn’t near a drafty floor vent or window.) With indirect sunlight, they will bloom beautifully.

SHOP NOW: African Violet in 4″ Pot by Garden Goods Direct, $7, etsy.com

Photo: Courtesy of Etsy

Beside the bathroom sink…

Bird’s Nest Fern

This squiggly green fern thrives on the low light and varying humidity conditions that characterize bathrooms. Your teeth-brushing routine just got so much prettier.

SHOP NOW: Bird’s Nest Fern from The Sill, $9, thesill.com

Photo: Courtesy of The Sill