Having houseplants is a great way to add a splash of color to your home interior. They can also clean up your indoor air and have an undeniable therapeutic effect on busy urban life.
But if you’re living with a feline companion, bringing home random plants could be disastrous if you’re not careful. This is because cats by nature are curious beings. They often go sniffing, licking, or nibbling on anything they find interesting.
And there are many plant types that are quite toxic to felines if ingested. They could usually remain in your home with no toxic effect on humans. However, if your cat decides to sample them, the result could be hazardous and even fatal. You know what they say—curiosity killed the cat. Well, it literally can with the wrong houseplant.
The thing is, unlike cats that go roaming in the wild, domesticated ones have had limited sensory exposures to nature. So, they are often quite clueless when it comes to identifying plants that are and aren’t safe for them.
And to make matters worse, no space is off-limits for a cat. So, whether you decide to hang your houseplants or keep them on a high shelf, it’s practically impossible to keep your feline away from them. In fact, the more mysterious it looks, the more attention it’ll draw from your furry friend.
But what can you do? The last thing you want is to poison your cat in all the excitement of greening up your home. But giving up on greenery is not a solution either! Fortunately, there are plenty of cat-friendly plants out there. And once you know what they are and how to identify them, you can safely start greening up your indoor spaces.
So, here’s a list of houseplants that are safe for your feline (even if it goes nibbling every now and then).
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1. Boston Fern
Boston fern is a beautiful indoor plant that needs very little attention. It’s known for its lush, bushy leaves that make it a great option to add lots of greenery to your living room. And they’re also guaranteed to attract a lot of attention from your cat. But worry not, it’s perfectly safe even if they take a bite.
Boston ferns like lots of indirect light and humidity. So make sure you keep them by a window. They only need fertilizer a couple of times a year, and you don’t need to worry about watering every day as long as the soil is moist.
Orchids are one of the most graceful plants you can find for your home, and best of all, they are also safe around cats. The only thing to worry about is protecting the colorful flowers from your feline’s curious gaze.
There are many stunning orchid varieties that can be easily grown indoors—from Lady’s Slipper to Pansy and Moth Orchid. Whatever you select, they will for sure add a touch of glamour to your living spaces.
Orchids are also very easy to care for; all you need is a space with low light and lots of humidity. You can water them a couple of times a week and they will bloom for months.
3. African Violet
If you’re not fond of bushy plants and prefer compact and neat instead, then the African Violet is a perfect option for you. It’s quite a charming plant known for its compact and neatly grown leaves and the bright, colorful clusters of flowers. You can easily grow them in small pots, making them ideal to keep by windows.
African Violet is a great all-year-round plant for homes. Just give it a moderate level of light, temperature, and humidity conditions. Also, keep in mind that it needs proper drainage—so, pots with enough holes and a potting mix with good drainage are important.
4. Areca Palm
Areca Palm is an excellent indoor plant to add a tropical vibe to your living room. Also known as Butterfly Palm, they can grow up to 5-7 feet tall with lush, bright green, and exotic leaves. This makes them a great centerpiece of greenery for any home. And what’s more, your cats will love playing with the long flowy leaves, and you can safely leave them to it.
Areca Palms are often expensive but can last for years with a little bit of care and attention. They look great in taller pots but avoid planting them too deep in the container.
Native to Brazil, Gloxinia is a bit similar to African Violet in terms of the plant size and appearance. It grows as a neat and petite bush with clusters of flowers in bright bold colors of purples, reds, and blues. The velvety flowers make this plant an excellent option to brighten up an indoor area. Likewise, the low-grown bushes make them easy to keep in tiny spaces, planted in small, colorful and decorative pots.
Many of the Gloxinia varieties you find today are hybrids that can blossom fast. Flowers can last up to a couple of months, although you’ll often need to replace the plants after the flowers fade.
Calathea is one of the most beautiful decorative houseplants that has become a popular choice to create indoor greenery. There are several Calathea varieties, from Orbifolia to Ornata. But what they all have in common are vibrant colors and bold striped leaves.
They thrive in low light conditions, so it’s a perfect choice to add a splash of color to spaces that get little sunlight. And it’s also easy to care for and can be watered just a couple of times a week to keep the soil moist. Remember this is a tropical plant, so it’ll need an average temperature of 65-80०F.
While Calathea is perfectly safe for felines, protecting its exotic and vibrant leaves from your cat could be quite a task.
7. Friendship Plant
Friendship plant is another non-toxic variety of indoor plants that you can safely keep with your furry feline. It’s known for its unusual leaves with tiny intricate patterns. It’s a bushy plant that rarely grows beyond 12 inches and sometimes will even bear pink flowers.
Being a tropical plant, it likes high temperatures and high humidity. Apart from that, it needs just a few hours of sunlight, making it great for indoor use. You can easily cultivate Friendship Plants using cuttings, so they could be quite an economical houseplant option to keep around the house. You can even plant them in some cool decorative containers and share with your neighbors.
8. Venus Fly Trap
Venus Fly Trap is a carnivorous plant that many people shy away from. But it could be quite an exotic and fun addition to your houseplant collection, especially considering how safe it is for your pet and the little attention it needs. And what’s more, it’ll for sure keep your cat entertained.
You can treat it with a few hours of sunlight and some distilled water to keep the soil moist. But keep in mind that they need good drainage and moisture, so use peat moss with some sand instead of the usual potting mix. A semi-open area like a porch is ideal for this type of plant so it can catch a few insects once in a while.
9. Polka Dot Plant
Native to Madagascar, the Polka Dot Plant is a colorful decorative plant that’s non-hazardous to your cat.
Its exotic foliage is mainly known for the pink and green splashes. There are several hybrid varieties available in different spot designs and color combinations—from scarlet and purple to white. You get the best colors when they are kept under low light conditions. They also grow easily with cuttings and will reach under 12 inches in height when kept indoors.
10. Royal Velvet
Royal Velvet is another exotic houseplant that can add a splash of vibrant colors to your home. It’s a popular indoor plant known by various names like purple passion and purple velvet. But it’s best known for the beautifully shaped leaves with purple hair. This gives it a striking appearance that resembles bright purple splashes with a velvety texture.
Royal Velvet is super easy to grow indoors; all it needs is an average temperature between 60० and 70०F with indirect sunlight and moist soil. But avoid watering the leaves since its hair could trap the water and cause rotting.
If you like succulents, then you will love keeping a few pots of Haworthia. It’s a lovely succulent variety that is typically small in size, so this makes it a great choice to use as a decorative plant on your coffee table or your kitchen counter. It’ll also look great in brightly colored ceramic pots or even in a large teacup.
The small thin leaves have unique white stripes that give them an unusual appearance. And what’s more, they are easy to care for, similar to many other succulent varieties. Just treat them with bright light and enough moisture.
Bromeliads are a type of houseplants that can work well as an exotic centerpiece for spacious areas. They come in countless varieties with bright tropical foliage and uniquely shaped flowers.
With a little bit of care, the beautiful Bromeliad flower can last up to six months. They can add a delightful pop of color to liven up any home. And best of all, they are quite easy to maintain. But make sure you keep them by a brightly lit window under indirect sunlight with enough humidity.
Peperomia belongs to the peppercorn family and is one of the best plants for families with pets. They come in many varieties, each producing beautiful and unique foliage.
They are super easy to care for, and can easily survive with a splash of water once a week. In fact, it’s almost impossible to kill a peperomia plant even if you neglect it the whole week. This makes it a great option for anyone new to indoor plants. All it needs is bright, indirect sunlight with some water and you can happily sit back and watch as it grows up to 12 inches.
14. Mosaic Plant
There are many names for the Mosaic Plant—from Nerve Plant to Fittonia. It’s best known for its leaves with mosaic-like patterns. In fact, there are many Mosaic Plant varieties that come in unique and exotic foliage with splashes of greens, white and bright pinks.
Being native to rainforests, it typically prefers a tropical setting to produce bright vibrant leaves. Just treat it with temperatures of 60-80०F, high humidity, and moist well-draining soil.
15. Baby Tears
Baby Tears are creepers that are best grown in hanging pots so they can spill over the sides. They can produce beautiful foliage of hundreds of tiny teardrop-like leaves, providing a splash of green coverage. The bushy growth of Baby Tears is bound to draw your cat’s attention, although it’s quite nontoxic and safe for pets.
It’s an easy-to-grow houseplant that’s native to Mediterranean regions. It grows low, but spreads wide, and thrives under bright indirect sunlight. Baby Tears also do well under artificial lighting. However, it needs proper watering, although it’ll require less water during winters. But make sure you keep an eye on this plant since, after all, it’s a creeper and could be invasive.
To Sum it Up…
While decorating your home or apartment with lots of foliage is both exciting and fulfilling, the last thing you want is a hazard to your feline’s health. Although there’s little you can do to curb their insatiable curiosity, you can always select the right houseplants for both you and your pet with a little bit of research.
The good news is there are many beautiful indoor varieties that are perfectly safe for your cat. After all, a splash of indoor greenery can do wonders not just to your interior decor, but also for the mental and physical wellbeing of both you and your furry pet.