Top 10 Pet Friendly Plants

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:

African Violet Plant

Our easy to grow and ever-blooming African Violet is perfect for a windowsill.

ASPCA Details  

Areca Palm plant

Consider our Areca Palm as a highly adaptable option for bright or low light and to introduce a tropical feel.

ASPCA Details

Boston Fern plant

Choose our Boston Fern for a full and lush hanging plant, urn or fernier option.

ASPCA Details

Donkey's Tail plant

You’ll find our Donkey’s Tail, also known as Burro’s Tail, to be a fun and interesting option from the sedum or succulent family for pet friendly plants.

ASPCA Details

Prayer Plant

Our Prayer Plant gets its name from its adorable behavior – the leaves fold up at night like praying hands!

ASPCA Details

Spider Plant

Choose our Spider Plant for an easy to care for option that will sprout spider babies too!

ASPCA Details 

Swedish Ivy

You’ll love our Swedish Ivy as a trailing beauty that spikes welcome white flowers in winter.

ASPCA Details 

Watermelon Peperomia

Our Watermelon Peperomia is a sweet classic plant, named for its silvery markings that give the appearance of a watermelon!

ASPCA Details

Friendship Plant

With a name like Friendship Plant it’s no wonder this silver and black beauty is commonly gifted among friends and its one we easily give the green light to when asked about giving to someone with pets!

ASPCA Details

Lipstick Plant

Our Lipstick Plant is a bold and showy pet friendly choice for a bright sunny window.

ASPCA Details

Q. I think my pet may have eaten a poisonous plant. What should I do?
A. If your pet is showing symptoms of illness or concerning behavior, and you suspect they may have been exposed to a poisonous substance, contact either your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) 24-hour emergency poison hotline at 1-888-426-4435.

My Pro Tip:

Always keep in mind that as the ASPCA advises, consumption of any plant material (even pet friendly plants) may cause gastrointestinal upset for dogs and cats. Even placing toxic plants out of your pets’ reach does not guarantee they cannot be affected by them. Our pets surprise us every day with their ingenuity, so even placing plants in high places does not mean they won’t find their way to them or that any dropped leaves won’t enter your pets’ space.

We carry hundreds of plant varieties and our plant pros are happy to help you identify a plant already in your home or choose pet friendly plants that you find on the ASPCA’s non-toxic list for your home from our Greenhouse or Garden Center.

Some plants may have a common name, but are available in different species or varieties, so make sure to search for each specific variety of plant you grow.

You can also search a houseplant name you find on the ASPCA non-toxic database on our Greenhouse page for mail order plants or during the outdoor garden season, search our Garden Center inventory list to see if we carry a particular perennial, annual, tree or shrub.   

When sending Flowers, let us know if you have a concern about flowers toxic to pets and our florists will work with you to find safe options for your arrangement.

For a safer outdoor environment for your pets, our Landscaping pros offer an Organic Lawn Care Program for your consideration.

See you at Studley’s!

written by Jeffrey Meulenbroek