If you have small children or pets, you have probably wondered about the safety of your houseplants. Even with the best parenting, things happen! In this post, I have done the research to help you determine whether 48 of the most common houseplants are safe for kids and pets.
It is no accident that I came up with this topic! After years of having houseplants issue-free, I had 2 days this week where I was suddenly thinking a lot about safety.
The first day my dog became intimately involved with my air plant– it did not end well for the air plant. (Thankfully air plants are pet-safe.)
The next day, despite me sitting right beside her, my one-year-old daughter was just quick enough to grab a leaf on my Hoya pubicalyx and pull it completely out of the pot. (Hoyas are also kid and pet-safe, so I was lucky again!)
I made a decision then that I would do more research and make sure to get anything questionable far away from my kid and my pets– and then I would share that research with you. I hope you find it as helpful as I do.
Table of Contents
- Houseplants that are SAFE for Kids AND Pets
- Houseplants that are TOXIC for Kids AND Pets
- Houseplants that are SAFE for Kids but TOXIC for Pets
- The Complete List of 48 Houseplants by Scientific or Latin Name
- The Complete List of 48 Houseplants by Common Name
- When a houseplant is labeled pet-safe or kid-safe, what does that mean?
- What can you do if you have a toxic plant that you would like to keep?
- Where can you search for an unlisted houseplant to determine if it is Kid-Safe?
- Where can you search for an unlisted houseplant to determine if it is Pet-Safe?
- FAQ for the Houseplant Safe and Toxic List:
- Important notes for this article on plant safety
- Resources used for this article
- Related Posts
Houseplants that are SAFE for Kids AND Pets
|Scientific or Latin Name||Common Name||SAFE for Kids and Pets|
|Aeschynanthus spp.||Lipstick plant||SAFE|
|Cactaceae family (does not include Euphorbia)||Cactus family – DOES NOT INCLUDE EUPHORBIA||SAFE|
|Calathea spp.||Prayer Plants including Rattlesnake, Pendant, Peacock, Fishbone, Tricolor, and More||SAFE|
|Ceropegia spp.||Ceropegia genera including Rosary Vines, String of Hearts,||SAFE|
|Chlorophytum comosum||Spider plant||SAFE|
|Coleus spp.||Coleus genera||SAFE|
|Echeveria spp.||Echeveria succulents||SAFE|
|Fittonia spp.||Nerve Plants||SAFE|
|Haworthia spp.||Haworthia succulents||SAFE|
|Hoya spp.||Wax Plants, Hoya genera including Krimson Queen, Krimson Princess, Hindu Rope, Carnosa, Compacta, and More||SAFE|
|Lithops spp.||Living Rocks, Living Stones, Lithops genera||SAFE|
|Maranta spp.||Prayer Plants||SAFE|
|Peperomia spp.||Peperomia genera including Golden Gate Peperomia, String of Turtles, Watermelon Peperomia, and More||SAFE|
|Pilea spp.||Pilea genera including Pilea peperomioides commonly known as the Chinese Money Plant, Friendship Plant, UFO Plant, and more||SAFE|
|Saintpaulia ionantha||African Violet||SAFE|
|Schlumbergera||Christmas cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus||SAFE|
|Sedum spp.||Sedum genera including Burro’s Tail||SAFE|
|Tillandsia spp.||Air Plants||SAFE|
Houseplants that are TOXIC for Kids AND Pets
|Scientific or Latin Name||Common Name||Toxic for Kids and Pets|
|Alocasia and colocasia||African Mask, Alocasia Frydek, Elephant’s Ear, and more||TOXIC|
|Aloe spp.||Aloe genera including aloe vera||TOXIC|
|Syngonium podophylum||Arrowhead vine, Syngoniums||TOXIC|
|Caesalpinia gilliesii and Poinciana gilliesii||Bird of Paradise||TOXIC|
|Caladium spp.||Caladium genera including Elephant Ear, Heart’s Desire, Moonlight Caladium, and More||TOXIC|
|Coffee Arabica||Coffee Plant||TOXIC|
|Crassula spp.||Crassula genera including the Jade Plant||TOXIC|
|Codiaeum spp.||Croton genera||TOXIC|
|Dieffenbachia spp.||Dieffenbachiea genera, all dumb canes||TOXIC|
|Euphorbia spp.||Euphorbia genera (often mistaken for cacti, includes Poinsettia, baseball cactus, milk barrel, ghost cactus, dragon bone cactus, pencil cactus and more)||TOXIC|
|Ficus spp.||Ficus genera including Rubber Trees, Fiddle Leaf Figs, Ficus Benjamina, and more||TOXIC|
|Oxalis spp.||Oxalis genera including Shamrock Plants||TOXIC|
|Spathiphyllum spp.||Peace Lilies||TOXIC|
|Philodendron spp.||Philodendron genera (Heart Leaf Philodendron, Neon Philodendron, Philodendron Lemon Lime, Velvet Leaf Philodendron, and all other Philodendrons)||TOXIC|
|Epipremnum aureum||Pothos, Devil’s Ivy, Golden Pothos, Marble Queen Pothos, Pothos n’ Joy, Manjula Pothos, Neon Pothos, Jade Pothos, Snow Queen Pothos, and all other Pothos||TOXIC|
|Scindapsus spp.||Satin Pothos, Exotica Pothos, Silver Splash Pothos, Silvery Ann Pothos, Moonlight Pothos, Dark Form Pothos||TOXIC|
|Senecio spp.||Senecio genera including String of Pearls||TOXIC|
|Sansevieria spp.||Snake plant, all varieties (Snake Plants were Sansevieria and are now scientifically classified as Dracaena)||TOXIC|
|Monstera spp.||Swiss Cheese Plant, Mexican Bread Fruit, Monstera Deliciosa, Monstera Adansonii, and all other Monsteras||TOXIC|
|Anthurium spp.||Tailflower, Flamingo flower, and Laceleaf||TOXIC|
|Schefflera spp.||Umbrella Plant||TOXIC|
|Zamioculcas zamiifolia||ZZ Plant||TOXIC|
Houseplants that are SAFE for Kids but TOXIC for Pets
|Scientific or Latin Name||Common Name||SAFE for Kids||TOXIC for Pets|
|Begonia spp.||Begonia genera||SAFE||TOXIC|
|Dracaena (not including snake plants)||Corn Plants||SAFE||TOXIC|
|Dracaena sanderiana||Lucky Bamboo||SAFE||TOXIC|
|Kalanchoe spp.||Mother of Thousands succulents||SAFE||TOXIC|
The Complete List of 48 Houseplants by Scientific or Latin Name
|Alocasia and colocasia||TOXIC||TOXIC|
family (does not include Euphorbia)
|Caesalpinia gilliesii and Poinciana gilliesii||TOXIC||TOXIC|
|Dracaena (not including snake plants)||SAFE||TOXIC|
The Complete List of 48 Houseplants by Common Name
|Common Name||Toxic for Kids?||Toxic for Pets?|
|African Mask, Alocasia Frydek, Elephant’s Ear, and more||TOXIC||TOXIC|
|Aloe genera including aloe vera||TOXIC||TOXIC|
|Arrowhead vine, Syngoniums||TOXIC||TOXIC|
|Bird of Paradise||TOXIC||TOXIC|
|Cactus family – DOES NOT INCLUDE EUPHORBIA||SAFE||SAFE|
|Caladium genera including Elephant Ear, Heart’s Desire, Moonlight Caladium, and More||TOXIC||TOXIC|
|Ceropegia genera including Rosary Vines, String of Hearts,||SAFE||SAFE|
|Christmas cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus||SAFE||SAFE|
|Crassula genera including the Jade Plant||TOXIC||TOXIC|
|Dieffenbachiea genera, all dumb canes||TOXIC||TOXIC|
|Euphorbia genera (often mistaken for cacti, includes Poinsettia, baseball cactus, milk barrel, ghost cactus, dragon bone cactus, pencil cactus and more)||TOXIC||TOXIC|
|Ficus genera including Rubber Trees, Fiddle Leaf Figs, Ficus Benjamina, and more||TOXIC||TOXIC|
|Living Rocks, Living Stones, Lithops genera||SAFE||SAFE|
|Mother of Thousands succulents||SAFE||TOXIC|
|Oxalis genera including Shamrock Plants||TOXIC||TOXIC|
|Peperomia genera including Golden Gate Peperomia, String of Turtles, Watermelon Peperomia, and More||SAFE||SAFE|
|Philodendron genera (Heart Leaf Philodendron, Neon Philodendron, Philodendron Lemon Lime, Velvet Leaf Philodendron, and all other Philodendrons)||TOXIC||TOXIC|
|Pilea genera including Pilea peperomioides commonly known as the Chinese Money Plant, Friendship Plant, UFO Plant, and more||SAFE||SAFE|
|Pothos, Devil’s Ivy, Golden Pothos, Marble Queen Pothos, Pothos n’ Joy, Manjula Pothos, Neon Pothos, Jade Pothos, Snow Queen Pothos, and all other Pothos||TOXIC||TOXIC|
|Prayer Plants including Rattlesnake, Pendant, Peacock, Fishbone, Tricolor, and More||SAFE||SAFE|
|Satin Pothos, Exotica Pothos, Silver Splash Pothos, Silvery Ann Pothos, Moonlight Pothos, Dark Form Pothos||TOXIC||TOXIC|
|Sedum genera including Burro’s Tail||SAFE||SAFE|
|Senecio genera including String of Pearls||TOXIC||TOXIC|
|Snake plant, all varieties (Snake Plants were Sansevieria and are now scientifically classified as Dracaena)||TOXIC||TOXIC|
|Swiss Cheese Plant, Mexican Bread Fruit, Monstera Deliciosa, Monstera Adansonii, and all other Monsteras||TOXIC||TOXIC|
|Tailflower, Flamingo flower, and Laceleaf||TOXIC||TOXIC|
|Wax Plants, Hoya genera including Krimson Queen, Krimson Princess, Hindu Rope, Carnosa, Compacta, and More||SAFE||SAFE|
When a houseplant is labeled pet-safe or kid-safe, what does that mean?
Plants that are labeled as pet-safe or kid-safe have not been found to cause serious physical harm if touched or ingested.
However, just as some people have allergies to certain foods, certain people or pets could be allergic to these safe plants and have a more serious reaction.
Additionally, while these safe plants will not cause a serious reaction, some may cause a mild reaction. For example, spider plants are labeled as safe for pets and kids. If ingested though, it may cause stomach upset.
What can you do if you have a toxic plant that you would like to keep?
If you have a toxic plant that you really love and want to keep and have small children or pets (like I do!), the advice from reputable sources is to keep these plants out of reach of pets and kids.
My favorite suggestion has been to use a plant hanger, which is both great to look at, great for giving your plants access to the light they need, and perfect for keeping them out of the reach of pets and kids!
Where can you search for an unlisted houseplant to determine if it is Kid-Safe?
The California Poison Control System has a very extensive list of plants that you can scan.
I would highly encourage you to cross-reference the information here with another resource elsewhere because the information pertaining to plants and human safety does sometimes vary between sources for certain plants.
Crassula/jade plants is a good example of this where some sources list these plants as safe for humans and others list it as toxic. This same confusion applies to Schefflera/umbrella plants.
Where can you search for an unlisted houseplant to determine if it is Pet-Safe?
ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has a pretty extensive database that you can search and is the agreed-upon resource for determining whether a plant is pet-safe.
FAQ for the Houseplant Safe and Toxic List:
What is a Genus?
A Genus is a group of species that are similar or related in some way(s).
What is a species?
A species is a group of individuals that has the ability to reproduce in nature.
What is Genera?
Genera is the plural form of Genus
What does spp. mean?
spp. refers to all the species of a specific genus of plants.
What is the relationship between Family, Genus, and Species?
These three are levels used to classify plants scientifically. The broadest term is Family. Within Families, plants are classified into a specific Genus (the plural form is Genera). Within each Genus, individual plants are classified as a specific Species.
Important notes for this article on plant safety
Note #1: The resources used
I spent more time on this article than on any other so far. It was very difficult to find authoritative sources on plant toxicity with regard to humans. As a result, I consulted many universities, state websites, and poison control centers for information.
Some of the information from these sources is conflicting. If some of the resources said a certain plant was safe, but other resources said it was toxic: I chose to label it as toxic.
My personal feeling is that I would rather be overly cautious than believe that a plant is safe when it is in fact toxic.
Note #2: How to use the information in this article
This content is accurate and true to the best of my knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Resources used for this article