Tips & Guides

Your Guide to Pet-Friendly Plants for Your Apartment

By Will Ford | Jun 30, 2022
A dog lies on a bed in an apartment surrounded by pet-friendly plants.

So, you adopted some furry friends but your home is still feeling empty. Why not elevate your space with a few plant babies? But, before you put the “petal” to the metal and root through the mystifying world of indoor plants, you should definitely consider buying only pet-friendly plants that are non-toxic to dogs and cats.

Unfortunately for pet owners, many of the more popular and Instagram-worthy plants these days are poisonous and should be off-limits for anyone with a dog or cat at home.

So, before you call your local ASPCA, check out this list of 10 pet-friendly plants that will surely catnip your fears in the bud:

1. African Violet-Saintpaulia

The African Violet is a pet-friendly non-toxic plant that has purple flowers and velvety green leaves.

African Violets are great flowering indoor plants that add a pop of color and a velvety texture to any dull space. These beauties flower year-round, though they do require specific care when it comes to sunlight and watering.

Like your fickle feline, African Violets are particular about the water they drink. Let your water stand for 48 hours and be sure it’s lukewarm, then try watering gently at the base of the plant. Avoid wetting the leaves, as they are sensitive and will spot and die. A true Goldilocks, African Violets enjoy soil that isn’t too wet and isn’t too dry, so check the soil every few days to be sure it receives adequate moisture.

As for sun, this houseplant enjoys filtered, bright-to-medium light and does best within a few feet of a south- or west-facing window. Remember to rotate the plant every few days so it doesn’t reach in one direction.

2. Boston Fern and Bird’s Nest Fern

The Boston Fern is a non-toxic plant-friendly houseplant with long green leaves.

While not all ferns are created equal, Boston Ferns and Bird’s Nest Ferns are two vivaciously verdant options for your home that are both cat-safe and dog-safe. Do avoid the Asparagus Fern, though (also known as the Emerald Feather), as it is toxic to your furry friends.

Boston Ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata) have beautiful, feathery-like leaves and enjoy a cool room with indirect sunlight, but most importantly, high humidity. If you live in a drier climate or tend to have dry air in your space, be sure to mist this plant a few times a week, especially in the winter months. Additionally, Boston Ferns enjoy moist soil. A good soaking once a week will help keep this indoor plant from drying out.

Unlike their cousin, Bird’s Nest Ferns (Asplenium nidus) feature long, seaweed-like fronds. Its name is derived from the appearance of the center of the plant, which often has green and brown furry bulbs that resemble—you guessed it!—a bird’s nest. Like the Boston Fern, it also enjoys moist soil but is more drought-tolerant, making it slightly lower maintenance. The Bird’s Nest Fern enjoys medium-to-low indirect light, so it’s great for a darker room. This pet-safe plant offers a bonus air-purifying quality as well!

3. Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)

The Prayer Plant is a non-toxic pet-friendly houseplant with oblong green leaves streaked with red veins.

Native to Brazil, the Prayer Plant can add great texture and color to your home with its oblong leaves and checkering of colors. The leaves typically feature a mixture of greens, reds, and yellows, in various geometric patterns or stripes. Its name comes from the leaves’ tendency to curl at night and flatten during the day. They look great on an end table or hanging near a window, and are totally non-toxic to your pets!

Since it hails from a tropical climate, the Prayer Plant enjoys bright, indirect sunlight and moist, but not soggy, soil. They are susceptible to drought, so try not to let it dry out completely. Use warm water for this green goddess and be sure to mist it or surround it with other plants to create a humid environment for it to thrive.

In order to help this plant flourish, fertilize it often from spring through summer. Every two weeks should be plenty, but use a water-soluble fertilizer at half strength to avoid burning the roots.

4. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

The Spider Plant is a non-toxic pet-friendly plant with long, papery green leaves.

If caring for an indoor plant in addition to your furry friends seems daunting, then let the Spider Plant be your first houseplant. Like a pet rock, it is nearly impossible to kill due to its adaptability, and it makes a great hanging plant in any room in your home. The Spider Plant is also super easy to propagate, so you’ll be able to fill your space with additional plant babies or hand them off to your friends. It’s even No. 2 on the ASPCA’s list of pet-friendly plants!

This plant has long, papery leaves, typically green or variegated with yellow or white stripes. They prefer bright, indirect sunlight, and can tolerate low light and cooler environments more than most tropical plants. Water them well, but they can tolerate drying out in between waterings. Avoid root rot by not allowing the soil to become too soggy.

5. Parlor Palm and Ponytail Palm

Potted green plant, parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans) and watering can in home interior. Home decor and gardening concept.

Indoor palm plants make stunning, tropical additions to your home, but be careful, because not all of them are cat-safe and dog-safe. Some parts of the plant can be toxic when ingested by your pets, yet these next two are considered pet-friendly!

First, the Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans) has been an indoor staple for years. It is widely popular due to the leaves’ ability to stay fresh and green for about 40 days after cutting. Use their elegant, grass-like fronds in flower arrangements, wreaths, or other home decor. Though it is a slow grower, it can reach up to six feet tall indoors. They prefer bright, indirect light, but will tolerate lower light conditions, too. Definitely avoid overwatering this plant, but do keep the soil moist.

Next is the Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata). Named for its long, curly green leaves that jet out of the trunk, is also a super low-maintenance houseplant that will satisfy any cravings to cultivate a tropical theme in your space. Though it’s technically not a palm tree, it does resemble the large palm trees known to inhabit warmer climates. It does prefer bright light, but it will survive in lower light conditions. Only water this plant sparingly, as it is succulent-like and prefers semi-dry conditions.

6. Haworthia

Haworthia fasciata

Though some succulents are toxic to pets, Haworthia is a large genus of succulent plants that are quite suitable for indoor growing. They are incredibly easy to keep alive and are very low-maintenance. Their green fleshy leaves often have white spots or bands, and just like your furry friend with a new toy, are incredibly photogenic. As with many spiky succulents, Haworthia tends to repel most animals. But fear not! They are non-toxic if ingested.

Plant Haworthia in a well-draining pot with bright sunlight, preferably in morning sun or an east-facing window. They can tolerate direct sunlight but prefer some filtered light. Water them when the topsoil has dried out, but do not waterlog them or the plant will die. Be sure to reduce your waterings during the winter months as well.

7. Echeveria

Echeveria is a pet-friendly non-toxic succulent with fleshy green leaves.

Looking for a plant you can set and forget? Then Echeveria is the one for you! This other succulent will add great color and texture to your home and requires nearly no maintenance. They can grow for years without repotting or moving them, and add a unique pop of blue or green to any gray space. When they flower, a long strand of pink, yellow, or orange flowers will dangle from the end. They are great plants safe for your feline and canine companions.

Like other home-converted succulents, this houseplant prefers desert-like conditions with full sun and well-drained soil. Pot them in the cactus mixture soil you can find at most hardware stores and look out for baby plants, as Echeveria will multiply like rabbits.

8. Chinese Money Plant (Pilea peperomioides)

This unique, eye-catching plant has become one of the most popular houseplants over the past few years. Its round, silver-dollar-shaped leaves poke out from the trunk on long green stems. Once it matures, it can grow to about a foot tall indoors and will spawn a cascade of its gorgeous green leaves from head to toe.

The Pilea plant prospers in medium-to-bright indirect light and will even adapt to lower light conditions. Remember to rotate it every other day or it will lean heavily in one direction, causing a lopsided tilt in its trunk. Allow it to dry out in between waterings and watch for it to droop, so you’ll know when it’s thirsty.

Sometimes known as the friendship plant due to its super easy propagation, this plant is great for the beginner green thumb, as it will frequently produce pups, or plant offshoots, that can be cut and given to friends or kept for yourself! Or, you can leave them on the mother plant—it’s your choice!

9. Baby Rubber Plant (Peperomia obtusifolia)

Peperomia is a pet-friendly non-toxic houseplant with round green leaves and deep brown stems.

One of thousands of species of Peperomia, the Baby Rubber Plant is another wonderful pet-safe house plant for your four-legged friend! They are a low-maintenance bunch and come in many shapes, colors, and sizes. They are quite forgiving for the newbie plant owner as well.

These non-toxic plants like bright indirect light and only need water when they dry out, requiring little attention other than enjoyment. They do enjoy a warm, humid climate, so a plant-safe shelf in your bathroom might be a perfect spot for this one to blossom. Don’t worry about fertilizing the baby rubber plant, as it will draw nutrients from whatever source is nearby—soil or attaching to other plants.

10. Air Plants (Tillandsia)

Tillandsia is a pet-friendly non-toxic air plant with long, pale green leaves.

Last and certainly not least are the pet-friendly and soil-free group of air plants known as Tillandsia. There are over 500 varieties, but they are non-toxic to your loyal companions should they get a hold of them. These air plants can be affixed to nearly any surface with wire or glue and do not need soil to grow. Try putting yours on a decorative shelf or mounting it to cork or stone.

Tillandsia plants enjoy sunning themselves with bright indirect sunlight, preferably from a south-, east-, or west-facing window. If they aren’t mounted, give them a good soak once a week, and be sure to dump out any excess water from the center before returning them to their home. If it is mounted, mist the plant a few times a week, or even daily if you live in a dryer climate. Just be sure not to suffocate the plant with moss, as it needs to draw moisture from the air to survive.

No matter which houseplant you choose to start off with, remember to consult our list or the ASPCA’s website to double-check that it is non-toxic for your furry friends. In the event your pet does ingest a plant, please call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 for how to proceed with keeping your pets safe.

If you are looking for a place for you, your pet, and your plants to call home, the majority of Landing’s apartments are pet-friendly and are fully furnished, meaning all you need to add to make your home complete is your new plant collection. Landing offers apartment stays in over 375 cities across the U.S., all with flexible leases. Learn more about Landing and plan your plants’ new home today!

Will Ford

Will Ford is a ninth-grade English teacher who lives in greater Boston with his husband and golden retriever, Oakley. When he’s not tending to his 60+ plant collection, he enjoys traveling to Europe, kayaking local waterways, reading the latest thriller, and singing in the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus.