Wondering about pet friendly plants? With a little homework and help from the pros at Studley’s it is possible for your fur babies and plant babies to coexist in perfect harmony.
As one of the area’s preferred florist, greenhouse and garden center for 90 years, Studley’s is a consumer ‘go to’ for plant-related questions. We field all sorts of inquiries, and questions about pet-friendly plants are some of the most common.
Whether in the garden or in the home, it’s important to know which plants are non-toxic to our four-legged friends. This time of year when we typically re-arrange our homes to accommodate holiday festivities, plants may be relocated or new holiday plant material can be introduced, and if pets become a little stir crazy with the cold weather they tend to get more curious.
While we are an authority on plants and flowers, we are not experts in pet medicine, so we rely on The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) and other dedicated professional organizations as a common source of referral. Here’s how we typically field some of the most common questions we are asked about pet friendly plants:
Q. Is Poinsettia poisonous to pets?
A. Contrary to popular belief, Poinsettias aren’t poisonous to pets. According to the ASPCA, pet Poinsettia ingestion can be irritating to the mouth and stomach, sometimes causing vomiting, but is generally over-rated in toxicity.
Q. Are the flowers in my floral bouquet poisonous to my pets?
A. Floral arrangements can be tricky because they typically include a mix of flowers and other plant material. Lilies are commonly used by florists in arrangements throughout the year. According to the Pet Poison Hotline, Easter lily, Tiger lily and Stargazer lilies are particularly dangerous to cats, where the ingestion of even one or two leaves or petals can cause sudden kidney failure.
Q. My pet got ahold of some holiday berries. Are they poisonous?
A. Berries in holiday decorations are common, and a well-cared for arrangement can last a couple of weeks after the holidays. Holly or mistletoe leaves and berries are especially toxic to animals. Even if placed out of your pets’ reach, as these bouquets or decorations begin to pass their peak the berries or leaves may start to drop off and land in a place accessible to pets. When in doubt, throw them out.
Q. I got an Amaryllis bulb or plant as a holiday gift. Is it safe for my pets?
A. The ASPCA classifies Amaryllis as toxic. The leaves, stems and bulbs contain phenanthridine alkaloids which can cause vomiting, a drop in blood pressure and respiratory depression. It is not uncommon for Amaryllis to be gifted as a bare root bulb, and if discovered by your dog it may be especially tempting to chew, so store your bulbs in a secure space before planting.
Q. What types of plants or herbs are beneficial to feed pets?
A. Be careful with this one. The internet is full of articles about the benefits of certain herbs or herbal supplements for pets. While you can find information in the ASPCA database on the toxicity of certain herbs, it is always best to consult your veterinarian before introducing something new to your pets’ diet.
Q. Which houseplants are safe to keep around pets?
A. Some plants may be safe for some animals, while not safe for others. We recommend referencing the ASPCA Toxic and Non-Toxic plant list, an index where you can search by a specific animal type or plant name. You’ll find they maintain an extensive library that includes both indoor/houseplants and outdoor/garden plants.
Here are our Top Picks from Studley’s Greenhouse, listed as non-toxic to dogs and cats by the the ASPCA: