Keeping plants indoors provides a plethora of benefits for both humans and their pets. Not only do they brighten up our spirits with their beauty, but they also add oxygen to the air, humidify the nearby environment, and filter out environmental toxins like formaldehyde, benzene, and mold.
Unfortunately, some plants are also toxic and while most humans past their first couple of years don’t generally start chewing on plants willy-nilly, our cats and dogs just might. In order to reap the benefits of keeping indoor plants without the expense and heartbreak of a visit to the veterinarian, it is best to choose plants that are known to be pet safe. Fortunately, there is also a large variety of beautiful, oxygen-producing plants that are safe for our pets as well.
Here are seven great options to get you started in Brevard County:
1. Wax plant (hoya)
The term waxplant or waxflower can denote any of the 200-300 species of plants in the Hoya genus and refers to the thick, waxy appearance of the leaves and flowers. There is a great deal of variability in this genus, including species with tiny flowers just a tenth of an inch across to species with flowers that reach over four inches in size. Plants in this genus tend to be rather hardy and can easily be grown from cuttings.
2. Spider Plant (chlorophytum comosum)
Spider plants can be incredibly easy to grow, especially from cuttings, and they are champion air cleansers. They are particularly talented at removing formaldehyde from the air, which is a common byproduct from many different cleansers. While these graceful hanging plants are non-toxic, you may want to keep an eye on any feline family members.
The chemicals in the leaves of the spider plant are reported to be a mild hallucinogen for cats, and cats who especially enjoy the effects may eat more plant material than they ought to, leading to possible vomiting and diarrhea.
3. Money trees (pachira aquatica)
Money trees are beautiful pet-safe plants with unique braided trunks; carefully braided together by hand when the plant was very young. In the wild, this Central and South American native can grow to over sixty feet tall, but it only reaches three to six feet in height when grown indoors. This plant really enjoys a high humidity environment, as it grows naturally in tropical swamps, and it can get scorched leaves if placed in direct sunlight.
4. Moth Orchids (phalenopsis)
There are an incredible number of orchids out there, prized for their unique shape and brightly colored blooms. Moth orchids, in the phalenopsis genus, are beautiful, pet-safe, and unlike most of their cousins, quite easy to grow. They are happiest with low light and fairly dry soil.
5. Christmas Cactus (schlumbergera genus)
There are several types of traditional winter plants that are not safe for our pets. The ingestion of holly can lead to hallucinations and dangerously lowered blood pressure, and while mistletoe and poinsettias are not as deadly, they are likely to cause a great deal of vomiting and diarrhea and may require a trip to the veterinarian.
Christmas Cactuses of the schlumbergera genus are here to save your holidays! They have flat, glossy leaves that grow in segments and can reach up to three feet long with beautiful pink or white blossoms that bloom in the winter.
6. Basil (ocimum basilicum)
All varieties of Basil are not only non-toxic for both cats and dogs but they also are reported to have an antimicrobial effect, helping to kill many of the harmful bacteria that can make us ill. As a houseplant, it has a lovely fragrance and the delicate purple flowers are stunning. As a pet-friendly herb, it can be served to your pets either dried or fresh. Although it is generally safe, a small portion of the feline population is sensitive to basil and may experience very mild gastrointestinal effects.
7. Areca Palm (dypsis lutescens)
Areca Palm, also known as golden cane palm and butterfly palm, is another great option for pet parents. Not only are the tall, pinnate leaves of the plant extremely elegant in appearance, they are also extremely capable toxin filters that inject extra moisture into the air. They tend to be fairly easy plants to cultivate and grow and they are somewhat insect resistant as well. Although chewing on the leaves of this plant will not cause any lasting illness for your pet, it can cause mild gastrointestinal effects, particularly for cats.
7 Brevard County Garden Centers to Shop for Plants
- Rockledge Gardens
- Emerald Island Nursery
- Maple Street Natives
- Tropical Island Nursery
- Valkaria Gardens
- Sun Harbor Nursery
- Exotica Tropicals
An Important Note on Names
While these specific plants are safe for pets, it is extremely important to check the full name of the plant you are bringing home. There are several types of plants with similar names that are not closely related at all. While the Areca Palm (dypsis lutescens) is safe for pets, other plants that bear the name palm, such as the sago palm (cycas revoluta), can be extremely toxic, and palm plants are not the only plants that are sold with confusing names.
For instance, both ferns and rubber plants have species that are non-toxic and pet safe, such as the Boston fern (nephrolepis exaltata) and the American rubber plant (peperomia obutsifolia), as well as species that are decidedly not safe for your pet, such as the emerald fern (asparagus densiflorus) and the Japanese rubber plant (crassula arborescens), both of which can have deadly consequences if your pet decides to sample them.
Indoor plants bring beauty into our lives and help ensure that the air that we breathe every day is cleaner and healthier. Although there are many plants that are dangerous for your dog or cat to sample, there are just as many that are non-toxic. If you are armed with just a little knowledge, the benefits of growing plants in your home far outweigh the risks, both for you and your pet.
Did you know that when you go away and hire us for in-home pet sitting visits, we complete house sitting tasks at no additional charge? That’s right! No worries that your beautiful indoor plants will wither away when you leave, we will water them on your desired schedule to keep them alive & growing. Book your upcoming pet care needs online today!
Melanie is the owner and founder of Brevard’s premier trusted in-home pet care company. With a Sociology & Criminal Justice degree from the University of Tennessee, in 2016 she took her corporate security background and combined it with her lifelong passion for animals – that’s how Space Coast Pet Services was born! She is certified in Pet First Aid & CPR, bonded, insured, and proudly completed a full background check successfully. She is committed to ongoing training and education for herself and her team. To learn more, click here.
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