Common House (Indoor) Plants Non-Toxic to Cats

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(Last Updated On: August 24, 2018)

At a glance:

  • Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera spp.)
  • Orchid (Orchidaceae spp.)
  • Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
  • African violet (Saintpaulia spp.)
  • Hypoestes (Hypoestes spp.)
  • Wax plant (Hoya spp.)
  • Cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior)
  • Kentia palm (Howea forsteriana)
  • Maidenhair fern (Adiantum spp.)
  • Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)
  • Polka dot plant (Hypoestes spp.)
  • Nerve plant (fittonia albivenis)
  • Bamboo (Bambusoideae spp. )
  • Pilea (Pilea spp.)
  • Venus fly trap (Dionaea muscipula)
  • Air plant (Tillandsias)
  • Zebra cactus (Haworthia margaritifera)
  • Golden cane palm (Dypsis lutescens, chrysalidocarpus lutescens)
  • Ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)
  • Bromelaids (Neoregalia spp.)
  • Burro’s tail (Sedum morganianum)
  • Prayer plant (Calathea spp.)

African violet

African violet non toxic to cats

About: A small, easy to care for flowering plant with 6-20 species native to native to Tanzania southeastern Kenya in eastern tropical Africa.

Scientific name: Saintpaulia spp.

Other names:

Care: Moderate to bright indirect light. Water when the soil is dry, allow to dry out between watering.

Orchid

About: With between 20,000 and 30,000 varieties of orchid, you are spoiled for choice. Orchids come in almost every colour imaginable, some are highly fragrant others have no scent.

These hardy flowers make great indoor pot plants, or grown outdoors and bring the pot inside when in flower.

Scientific name: Orchidaceae spp.

Other names:

Care: Strong, indirect light, high humidity, avoid drafts. The orchid likes a lot of water, but allow the pot to dry out between watering. Avoid splashing water on the leaves.

Polka dot plant

Hypoestes non-toxic to cats

About: A flowering plant with approximately 150 species popular for their patterned leaves. They originate from Madagascar.

Scientific name: Hypoestes spp.

Other names: Baby’s tears

Care:  The ideal location is indirect bright light, keep the soil moist during the active growing period in summer, but reduce once temperatures cool.  Prune the plant to avoid legginess.

Nerve plant

About: A unique indoor plant native to Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and northern Brazil, known for its rich green leaves and brightly coloured veins.

Scientific name: Fittonia albivenis

Other names: Nerve plant

Care:  Prefers bright light, but will tolerate shade. Water when dry, but allow to dry out between waterings.

Wax plant

About: The wax plant is an easy to grow perennial evergreen with  200 – 300 species popular for its fragrant, star-shaped flowers. The plant is native to India, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

Scientific name: Hoya spp.

Other names:

Care: Plant in a well draining soil and keep moist in the warmer months, allow the soil to dry out in winter. Hoyas like to be in a bright location, but out of direct sunlight. Be careful not to pot the plant up, hoyas like to be root-bound.

Christmas cactus

Christmas cactus non-toxic to cats

About: The Christmas cactus is a small genus of cacti with 6-9 species popular for its stunning flowers during Christmas and Easter.  It is native to the south Americas, particularly Brazil.

Scientific name: Schlumbergera spp.

Other names: Easter cactus

Care: Grow in bright light but avoid direct sunlight which will burn the leaves. The Christmas cactus likes to be kept slightly moist during its active growing period but allow the soil to almost dry out between waterings.

Cast iron plant

Image Tom Britt, Flickr

About: The cast iron plant is a shade loving plant native to Japan. Lush green leaves provide a showy and easy to care for indoor plant.

Scientific name: Aspidistra elatior

Other names: Bar room plant, iron plant, haran plant, baran plant

Care: Prefers areas of low light, likes moist but well-drained soil. Avoid direct sunlight which will burn the leaves.

Kentia palm

Kentia palm non-toxic to cats

About: A slow-growing, showy and easy to care for plant native to Lord Howe Island, off eastern Australia.  In the wild, the Kentia palm can grow up to 10 metres tall.

Scientific name: Howea forsteriana

Other names:

Care:  The Kentia palm likes moist soil, but not saturated and bright but not direct sunlight.

Maidenhair fern:

Maidenhair fernnon-toxic to cats

Image Dinesh Valck, Flickr

About: A beautiful and delicate fern with light green fronds and can grow up to 1 metre in height. The maidenhair fern can be a challenge to grow (for me at least).

Scientific name: Adiantum spp.

Other names: Walking fern

Care: The maidenhair fern likes a brighly lit position but out of drafts, keep the soil moist at all times.

Boston fern

Boston fern non-toxic to cats

About: A large and showy fern which is popular in hanging baskets. The Boston fern is native to Florida, West Indies, Mexico, Central America, South America, Polynesia and Africa.

Scientific name: Nephrolepis exaltata

Other names: Sword fern

Care: The Boston fern likes a well lit, protected position with high humidity. Water regularly to ensure the soil is moist but not saturated. 

Bamboo

Bamboo non toxic to cats

About: A hardy and extremely easy to care for perennial evergreen plant which makes a great indoor or outdoor plant. There are over 1,000 species of bamboo which can range in size from several inches to over 30 metres.

Scientific name: Bambusoideae spp.

Other names:

Care: Bamboo likes to grow in well drained soil, allow soil to dry out between watering. 

Spider plant

Spider plant non toxic to cats

Image Forest and Kim Starr, Flickr

About: A popular plant with which forms arching clumps. The spider plant is one of the easiest plants to grow and is tolerant of many conditions.

Scientific name: Chlorophytum comosum

Other names: Ribbon plant, airplane plant, bracket plant, spider ivy, hen and chickens

Care: Choose a well drained soil, and grow in indirect light with moderate humidity. Water when the top inch of soil is dry. The spider plant is very forgiving and is ideal for a the novice. Arching clumps can be cut, and planted to grow additional plants.

Bromeliads

Bromeliad non-toxic to cats

About: The bromeliad is a colourful plant which produces showy flowers on a spike.  Native to the tropical Americas, there are over 3,000 species.

Scientific name: Neoregalia spp.

Other names:

Care: Bromeliads thrive in a moist (but not soggy) and  humid environment and prefer bright, but not direct sunlight.

Prayer plant

Image Chris, Flickr

About: A beautiful indoor plant with showy patterned leaves on long stalks native to Brazil. There are several dozen species of Calathea. 

Scientific name: Calathea spp.

Other names: Rattle snake plant, red veined prayer, zebra plant, peacock plant, maranta

Care:  Grow in shady or dappled light with high humidity. Calathea like soil that holds its moisture but is well draining to prevent the roots rotting. Keep the soil moist but not wet.

Ponytail palm

Image madaise, Flickr

About: A unique and easy to care for plant native to eastern Mexico. Despite its name, it is not a true palm.

Scientific name: Beaucarnea recurvata

Other names: Bottle palm tree, elephant foot tree

Care: The ponytail palm is an exceptionally hardy plant. It likes well drained soil, bright light and a warm position. Allow the soil to dry out between watering.

Golden cane palm

About: A showy flowering species of  palm native to Madagascar. Outdoors, the palm can grow as tall as 6 – 12 metres, indoor palms are usually 4-5 feet tall.

Scientific name: Dypsis lutescens, chrysalidocarpus lutescens

Other names: Areca palm, yellow palm, golden butterfly palm, golden feather palm butterfly palm

Care: The golden cane likes well drained soil and a light position out of direct sunlight. Keep soil moist, but not soaking. Do not allow the soil to dry out between watering.

Zebra cactus

Image Kerry J, Flickr

About: A stunning, low maintenance cactus with dark green leaves decorated with white dots or lines.

Scientific name: Haworthia margaritifera

Other names: Zebra plant, pearly dots

Care: As with most succulents, the zebra cactus likes soil that is well-drained. Allow the soil to dry out between watering. Grow in bright, but not direct sunlight.

Air plant

Air plant non-toxic to cats

About: An unusual plant of around 650 species which are native to northern Mexico and southern Unites States. They obtain water and nutrients through their leaves.

Scientific name: Tillandsias

Other names:

Care: Use a spray bottle to mist the air plant 2-3 times a week and submerge the plant in water for 1-2 hours weekly. Place in bright but filtered light away from drafts. 

Venus fly trap

Venus fly trap non-toxic to cats

About: A unique carnivorous (meat eating) plant with leaves which snap shut when an insect lands on them.  The venus flytrap  is native to native to boggy areas on the East Coast of the United States.

Scientific name: Dionaea muscipula

Other names:

Care: Grow in moist, acidic soil in full sun. Use distilled water as tap water is too acidic. Keep out of drafts and avoid touching the fly traps.

Pilea

Image Dr. Nasser Halaweh, Flickr

About: A showy member of the nettle family with between 600 – 700 species. This flowering plant distributed throughout the tropics, subtropics, and warm temperate regions.

Scientific name: Pilea spp.

Other names: Common species include silver sprinkles, artillery plant, gunpowder plant, moon valley plant, friendship plant, aluminum plant, watermelon pilea.

Care: Grow in bright but indirect light, keep soil moist but not saturated.

Burro’s tail

Image J Biochemist, Flickr

About: An interesting, easy to care for succulent with long, hanging stems which can reach up to 1 m in length.

Scientific name: Sedum morganianum

Other names: Horse’s tail, donkey’s tail, lamb’s tail, stonecrop

Care: Grow in bright light in well drained soil. Keep moist, but avoid saturating the plant. Too much water will cause the stems to rot.

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