Adding plants to your home can be worrisome if you have a cat or dog who is interested in your new plant. Ensuring that the plant you add is pet-safe can put your mind at ease.

Here are my top 5 plants that are not only pet-safe but beautiful and easy to care for.

If you want to know whether another plant is pet-safe, check out the ASPCA’s website here and search for your plant!

Have one of these plants at home already? Tell me about it in the comments! Love a different pet-safe plant? Share it with us below!


1. Hoya carnosa ‘Rubra’ or Hoya Krimson Princess

Why I love it: Hoya carnosa ‘Rubra’ is a gorgeous variegated plant that is fast-growing and very easy to care for. It would do well in a hanging pot, on a shelf, or even trellised. The new growth on a mature plant is a beautiful deep pink and its blooms are clusters of star-shaped flowers.

About this plant: In the wild, this plant is an epiphyte, growing among the branches of trees in tropical forests and using its aerial roots to climb. This plant has many common names, but the most common is Krimson Princess.

Lighting: This plant prefers bright indirect light. It would thrive in an east or west-facing window. It would also do well in a south-facing window where it could be pulled back a foot or two so as to not receive too much direct sunlight.

Water: Hoya carnosa ‘Rubra’ likes to be watered when its soil is completely dry from top to bottom. You can also test whether it is thirsty by checking its more mature lower leaves for firmness. If firm, it is still full of water. If the leaves become more pliable, it is ready for a good drink!

Soil: A well-draining soil would make this plant happy. A mix of one-half potting mix, one-fourth orchid bark, and one-fourth perlite would work well. If you would prefer to not mix your own soil, a quality cactus mix would be fine also!

Side note: Lots of hoyas are pet-safe so feel free to look at other varieties as well and find one that is perfect for you!


2. Peperomia caperata ‘Rosso’

Why I love it: Peperomia caperata ‘Rosso’ has a beautiful reflective green color on the top of its leaves, with parallel indentations running down them. On the bottom of its leaves, it sports a surprising pop of red! It grows long, tail-like flowers, called inflorescences, that emerge among the foliage. This compact beauty is hard not to love once you’ve seen it in person!

About this plant: Peperomia caperata is native to the rainforests of Brazil, growing on the forest floor. ‘Rosso’ is a cultivar of Peperomia caperata with care requirements mimicking its parent.

Lighting: This plant prefers bright indirect light, like that available in an Eastern window. It could also do well pulled back a couple feet from a Western window or several feet from a South-facing window. Too much direct sunlight will burn its leaves.

Water: Peperomia caperata ‘Rosso’ likes to be watered when its soil is completely dry or when its leaves have become less firm or succulent. It will droop if too thirsty, but if caught right away will perk back up.

Soil: A well-draining soil would make this plant happy. A mix of one-half to two-thirds potting mix with the remainder as perlite would work well. If you would prefer to not mix your own soil, a quality cactus mix would be fine also.

Side note: Lots of peperomias are pet-safe so feel free to look at other varieties as well and find one that is perfect for you!


3. Peperomia obtusifolia ‘Marble’

Why I love it: Peperomia obtusifolia ‘Marble’ has lush, succulent round leaves with gorgeous variegation. This plant looks expensive, but can be found at a reasonable cost in varying sizes. It is a great plant for beginners because its large leaves can easily tell its owner whether it is time to be watered.

About this plant: Peperomia obtusifolia is native to southern Florida and the Carribean. ‘Marble’ is one of many variegated cultivars available.

Lighting: The Marble peperomia likes bright, indirect light. It will tell you if you are not providing bright enough light as new growth will begin to revert to green so the plant can photosynthesize the light it is receiving into more food. The white/cream areas are unable to do this for the plant.

Water: Peperomia obtusifolias like to be watered when their soil is fully dry. You can also test whether it is thirsty by checking its more mature, lower leaves for firmness. If still firm, it is full of water and does not need to be watered. If the leaves become more pliable, it is ready for a good drink! This is particularly easy with Peperomia obtusifolias because their leaves are larger so you can really feel what is firm versus what is a soft, pliable, more thirsty texture for it!

Soil: A well-draining soil would make this plant happy. A mix of one-half to two-thirds potting mix with the remainder as perlite would work well. If you would prefer to not mix your own soil, a quality cactus mix would be fine also.

Side note: Lots of peperomias are pet-safe so feel free to look at other varieties as well and find one that is perfect for you!


 



4. Aeschynanthus radicans or the Lipstick Plant

Why I love it: Aeschynanthus radicans, commonly referred to as the lipstick plant, has gorgeous green, succulent leaves with lots of brightly colored blooms that emerge from the ends of the vines like tubes of lipstick. They are an easy-care plant that is less light-demanding. It is a beautiful plant that houseplant beginners can have great success with!

About this plant: Epiphytic in nature, lipstick plants can be found climbing among the branches of trees in tropical forests, like Hoya carnosa ‘Rubra.’

Lighting: Lipstick plants like bright indirect light, but will be damaged by too much direct sun. They are happiest in an east-facing window where the gentle morning sunlight can visit them. However, they can also thrive in a west-facing window with a sheer curtain or blinds diffusing the hotter afternoon sun.

Water: This plant likes to be watered when completely dry. Feeling the soil as deep down as possible to ensure it is dry, using a moisture meter to test dryness, or becoming familiar with the weight before and after watering can be effective methods of knowing when the soil is completely dry and ready for water.

Soil: A well-draining soil would make this plant happy. A mix of one-half potting mix, one-fourth orchid bark, and one-fourth perlite would work well. If you would prefer to not mix your own soil, a quality cactus mix would be fine also.


5. Chamaedorea elegans or the Parlor Palm

Why I love it: The Parlor Palm or Chamaedorea elegans is a very inexpensive and easy-to-find plant that ranges from a couple of inches tall to several feet tall. It is quite beautiful and tolerant of a variety of water and light conditions, which makes it an ideal plant for beginners.

About this plant: Native to the rainforests of Central America, Chamaedorea elegans likes humidity but can thrive in the less humid environments we often have in our homes as well. In nature, these palms can reach 6 or 7 feet in height; in our homes they generally peak at around 4 feet. However, they are very slow growers so it takes many years for them to become this size, making them ideal indoor plants for those who would like to have a palm but lack the space for a large tree.

Lighting: Parlor Palms can tolerate low to bright indirect light. They will burn or dry out too quickly if in too much direct sun.

Water: This plant likes to remain somewhat moist most of the time. Allowing the first inch of soil or so to dry out is good before watering. The plant shouldn’t sit in too much water as it can still develop root rot, so using a pot with drainage holes is a good idea. However, if you are a person who tends to overwater your plants, this could be a good fit since this plant likes to be watered a little more frequently!

Soil: Despite preferring to be watered more often, Parlor Palms are still very capable of developing root rot. As such, well-draining soil is the best way to go! A mixture of 2/3 potting mix to 1/3 perlite would work well. You could even use half and half potting mix to perlite if you are particularly attentive to your plants.

Side note: This is one of the only, if not the only, palms that are pet-safe. So be sure to specifically choose the parlor palm when plant shopping! To check others, visit the ASPCA website.


6. Bonus – Orchids

Why I love it: Orchids are readily available and absolutely gorgeous. If provided with basic care requirements, they can thrive as a houseplant and, depending on the variety, their blooms can last for several months. However, their care is slightly more demanding than the other plants on this list, which is why they are a bonus plant!

About this plant: Orchids are epiphytes, like hoyas and lipstick plants, growing on trees and other climbing plants in tropical forests.

Lighting: These plants like bright, indirect light. If they do not receive enough light, they will not bloom for you. Direct sunlight, however, will burn them and should be avoided. Eastern exposures work well or a sheer curtain over western or southern exposures will also help an orchid to thrive.

Water: Orchids like to be thoroughly watered after their potting medium has dried out. When watering, be careful not to allow water to sit on their leaves or at the place where their leaves and stem come together. This will induce crown rot.

Soil: Orchids need very well-draining soil. They can live exclusively in orchid bark and thrive. You can also buy a pre-made orchid mix, but avoid any mix that includes peat moss as it will retain too much water for orchids.

Pots: Because orchids need a lot of aeration around their roots to maintain health, people often use pots with drainage holes and slits on the sides and bottom. These can be used as its main pot or as a pot that can be placed in a decorative cover pot.


Click to read last week’s article: Answers to the Most Common Questions About Fertilizer

 
A Natural Curiosity
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