8 Popular Houseplants That Are Poisonous and 8 That Are Safe

8 Popular Houseplants That Are Poisonous and 8 That Are Safe

Indoor plants are big right now. They brighten up a room, bring the outdoors in, and help keep your indoor air fresh. However, not all indoor plants that look good in your living room are safe, especially for small kids and pets. 

This is the reason why it pays to know what plants are safe to bring indoors and what plants are better left outside. Read on to know what these plants are so you can safely enjoy your indoor plants, especially if you have small kids and pets at home. 

Toxic Indoor Plants for Dogs, Cats, and Small Kids 

You don’t know it but so many popular indoor plants are also plants poisonous to cats and dogs. From the dainty leaves of the English ivy to the characteristic leaves of the snake plant, toxic plants can be lying within easy reach of kids and pets in your home. 

1. Sago Palm 

The Sago palm is one of the most poisonous plants that you can bring indoors. All parts of this photogenic plant are toxic, especially to pets. The seeds are the most poisonous and are also the most accessible to small pets. 

When ingested, seeds can cause sago palm poisoning characterized by liver damage. Due to its toxicity, it may be a good idea to keep this plant outdoors and out of reach from small kids and pets.

2. ZZ Plant

The ZZ plant is an ideal indoor plant because it is a hardy plant that thrives in indoor, low-light conditions. However, it is also one of the more popular plants toxic to cats and dogs. The plant produces calcium oxalate on the sap and leaves. 

Skin contact causes skin and eye irritation and ingestion can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. You are better off keeping this plant outdoors or at the least, put on elevated planters so that small kids and animals can’t reach it. 

Also, make sure that the plant is placed in low traffic areas to avoid frequent accident skin contact. Skin contact leads to minor irritation which you can prevent by immediately washing the affected area. 

3. Ivy

English ivy can be toxic to both dogs and cats. This decorative plant produces triterpenoid saponins which cause irritation and GI discomfort when eaten. Dogs and cats that ingest this plant can experience abdominal pain, excessive salivation, and diarrhea. 

4. Snake Plant 

Snake plants thrive in indoor, low light areas. However, when ingested in large doses they can cause nausea and vomiting, as well as numbness of the tongue and throat that can lead to difficulty breathing in humans. The toxic effects can be more severe in dogs and cats. 

5. Dumb Cane

Dumb cane is one of the more popular indoor plants safe for cats. Its low height makes it easily accessible when set on the floor. 

It contains oxalates which mean that it causes the characteristic irritation, vomiting, and GI distress in cats and dogs. The leaves, stalk, and the root are toxic when ingested. 

6. Peace Lily 

Peace lilies are notoriously harmful to cats. Unfortunately, they are also attractive to cats who are prone to chewing or biting at the leaves or stems. The calcium oxalate crystal produced by the plant causes irritation especially around the eyes and the mouth.

7. Pothos 

Pothos contain calcium oxalate crystals that when ingested by cats and dogs, can cause severe irritation to the soft tissues. It causes a burning sensation in a cat’s mouth and causes drooling and vomiting. Your pet may also start pawing excessively at the affected area as an attempt to relieve the discomfort. 

8. Philodendron

This photogenic indoor favorite unfortunately also contains oxalates that cause irritation when ingested. Dogs and cats can exhibit irritation around the mouth and GI distress. Cats may show excessive pawing at the face and the mouth due to the burning sensation. Other symptoms include vomiting and in severe cases, difficulty breathing. 

Plants Safe for Cats and Dogs 

If you want a houseplant and are worried about the health of your pet, not to worry — there are several nontoxic options that are bound to bring beautiful green life to your space.

1. Boston Fern

Boston fern is a photogenic plant that brightens up any room with its bright green leaves and lush foliage. It is also non-toxic to catch, and these ferns thrive indoors under indirect light. 

2. Prayer Plant 

Prayer plants have a unique look, easy to care for, and can thrive with minimal maintenance. Safe for cats and dogs, these plants look great in living rooms whether placed in pots or hanging planters. 

3. Spider Plant 

Spider plants are popular houseplants that are also safe for cats and dogs. They are also easy to care for and can thrive with minimal care indoors or outdoors. 

4. Air Plants 

Air plants are great for small spaces. They thrive anywhere, placed inside glass balls, driftwood, or small hanging planters. These are low-maintenance cat-friendly houseplants which are good since their thin leaves can be attractive to curious felines. Air plants are also safe for dogs and humans. 

5. Areca Palm 

Get the same tropical vibe that you would get with the toxic sago palm if you opt for the Areca palm instead. While the areca palm’s leaves are attractive to cats, they are totally toxin-free. They thrive in large containers, rich soil, and brightly-lit spaces. 

6. Baby Tears 

Baby tears are great as companion houseplants especially when placed in small hanging planters. They can also serve as great soil covers around larger plants to prevent cats and dogs from digging into the soil. 

7. Bananas 

Bananas can be a safe, non-toxic substitute for large plants that you can place indoors. Make a bold statement with its smooth and shiny leaves, especially in rooms with lots of space. The banana is very low-maintenance but will thrive best in areas that can get bright light. 

8. Calatheas

Calatheas are non-toxic to animals. Their patterned leaves make them an ideal substitute for toxic plants like the dumb cane or the peace lily. These plants come with a bright purple pattern, bringing a bright burst of color to any room. 

With so many options for indoor plants safe for dogs and cats, you can easily brighten up a room with fresh foliage while keeping your pets safe. Make sure that plants with irritating qualities are kept safely out of reach, or better yet, opt for attractive houseplants safe for cats and dogs.