If you have ever read an article, or two . . . or three about pet-friendly indoor plants, you will have undoubtedly noticed that every one of those articles lists the same fifteen plants. Those indoor plants listed are wonderful, sure, but there must be more available to the combination pet/plant parent, right? Is it really the case that we are all restricted to the same few pet friendly plants? Luckily, no! There are hundreds of varieties of plants that have been extensively researched and proven by scientists to be safe to have around both cats and dogs.
There are plenty of unique, exotic, and rare Succulents, Aroids, Cacti, and Ferns you can find that aren’t the same Spider Plant, African Violet, Air Plant, or Orchid that you’re used to hearing about. If you are in the market for more pet friendly indoor plants (honestly, who isn’t?), but want something a little more out-of-the-box, you’ve come to the right place.
These are our recommendations for five unique plants that are safe for your pets!
Dwarf Cavendish Banana Tree (Musa acuminata)
Yes, you read that correctly – Dwarf Banana Tree; contrary to popular belief, you can grow a fruit tree in your home all year round. This kind of banana tree is not only small enough to grow inside the average home but can also produce fruit if given the proper conditions. The Musa acuminata has been cultivated indoors since the Victorian times, so hundreds of years of research on this dwarf tree has found that this is non-toxic to all common house pets such as cats and dogs.
Though the average outdoor Banana tree can reach a lofty 25 feet tall, the Dwarf Cavendish Banana gets its name because of its maximum height of 10 feet (3 meters). This little tree is still a plant with tropical origins, so it loves a lot of moisture, consistently warm weather, and moderate to high humidity. This variety of Musa loves receiving as much direct light as it can get and grows best in slightly acidic soil. If you live in a very warm climate (think Hawaii) you can get away with planting the Dwarf Cavendish Banana outside, but a space inside your house is just as good!
Lemon Button Fern (Nephrolepis cordifolia “Duffi”)
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the Boston Fern, but because it is always taking up space on every Pet-Friendly Plants article, we thought we could give the stage to another member of the fern family instead: the Lemon Button Fern. This plant gets its name from the small, button-shaped leaves on its fronds and the faint lemony smell it gives off when its happy and healthy. For many indoor plant parents, both beginners and experts alike, the Lemon Button Fern is an easy, affordable, and (best of all) pet-friendly plant to add to any collection.
As with most ferns, the Nephrolepis cordifolia can survive both in and outside of the home, making it a wonderful addition to both living room displays and landscaping. Although an extra humid environment can be wonderful for this fern, the Lemon Button can live through the occasional drying out of its soil and bounce back stronger than before. Place this plant in a spot with bright to moderate, indirect light and watch it tempt your cats into a fun (but completely safe) playtime.
Hindu Rope Plant (Hoya carnosa compacta)
Arguably one of the most popular plants in the world, the Hoya carnosa compacta is a surprising addition to this list because most don’t realize this Hoya is 100% safe for pets – even its colorful, variegated versions are, too! Also known as “Wax Plants” or “Porcelain Flowers,” hoyas are prized and collected for the flower clusters they produce in addition to their thick, vining succulent foliage. The Hoya carnosa compacta, aka the Hindu Rope Plant, is best known for its curled leaves that give the illusion that each vine is one long leaf, like a rope.
These exquisite house plants are not just easy to care for, they are also astoundingly easy to propagate from stem cuttings. The Hindu Rope Plant likes its fair share of medium to bright, indirect light and well-draining soil. Because this plant is of the succulent family, it can hold moisture in its leaves for later, so it doesn’t need as much water as the common Pothos or Philodendron. The best part is that every part of this plant is safe, from its leaves and vines, all the way down to its roots and flowers, so there is never a need to worry about Whiskers getting ahold of this Hoya.
Zebra Plant (Aphelandra squarrosa)
If you have had the chance to see a Zebra Plant in person, you will easily remember the striking leaves of this evergreen that make it obvious where its common name comes from. Originally from the country of Brazil, the Aphelandra squarrosa is a tropical plant that can live indoors known for the shiny, dark green leaves, streaked by bright white/yellow veins. Beautiful yellow flowers bloom at the top from time to time, but the beauty is short-lived because most Zebra Plants only live for a few years at the most.
Though this house plant is non-toxic to pets and people alike, they are super fans of high humidity and water, so the moist soil may still be tempting to digging pets or children. Average household temperatures (60-70°F or 15-20°C) are perfect for the Zebra Plant, making them fairly low maintenance. In the warm season however, this Aphelandra can start to droop dramatically to signify it’s thirsty as frequently as three times per week! Be ready to tend to this Drama Queen often.
Stone Plant (Dinteranthus vanzylii)
With a name like Stone Plant, this succulent may not initially sound like anything astounding, but take a closer look and you’ll find this close relative of the Lithops succulents is anything but boring. Dinteranthus vanzylii is originally from the Cape province of South Africa and is rarely found in a size larger than a couple of inches tall and wide. While this plant is typically one pair of half-circle, above-ground leaves, it does have the ability to grow more layers through a growing process called clumping.
Each part of the Stone Plant is completely non-toxic to both cats and dogs, even the subsequent flower, so it’s easy to keep these tiny house companions around your furry friends. The succulent varieties are extremely drought tolerant, so they rarely requiring watering, but instead thrive in high light areas by storing moisture inside their leaves for long periods of time. Fun fact: the Dinteranthus plants are called mimicry plants, meaning each species has a pattern that matches and blends in with the surrounding rocks to avoid being eaten by passing herbivores. Who knew indoor plants could be so clever?