15 Pet-Friendly Houseplants to Adopt Into Your Home

colorful illustration of houseplants safe for cats and dogs

Bringing new life into your home in the form of a pet or houseplant can make your indoor environment that much more joyous. Unfortunately, not all animals respond the same to certain plants, so it is important to know which plants to keep away from your pets and which ones are totally safe. We’ve got you covered. Here are 15 beautiful, pet-friendly, and easy-to-maintain houseplants you can decorate your home with.

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African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha)

purple African violet houseplant in terra cotta pot on coffee table

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Native to Tanzania, African violets are almost exclusively grown indoors and are known for their vibrant year-round purple blooms, though there are also varieties with pink, red, blue, and white flowers. African violets are safe for dogs, cats, and horses, and also feature delicate, fuzzy, leaves. Because root rot is a common problem, selecting a well-draining pot is essential for these plants.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Bright indirect sunlight is ideal, but moderate light is adequate. Thrives indoors.
  • Water: Soil should be moist but never soggy. Water when the soil feels dry on top but moist underneath.
  • Soil: Well draining and slightly acidic. Add sand or other porous materials to typical houseplant potting soils.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.1
of 15

Aluminum Plant (Pilea cadieri)

Pilea cadierei, aluminium plant or watermelon pilea

panom73 / Getty Images

A tropical perennial native to Vietnam, aluminum plants (also known as watermelon plants) have distinctive silvery stripes on their broad green leaves and also produce small white flowers fairly sporadically when kept indoors. Most gardeners remove the blooms to encourage the plant’s foliage to further develop.

Aluminum plants love humidity, which makes them ideal for terrariums, but they can also thrive in pots and hanging planters. You can mist the plant occasionally in order to artificially recreate its native humid environment.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Prefers bright, filtered light.
  • Water: Keep the soil lightly moist, but not overly damp, to avoid root rot.
  • Soil: Rough, sandy, well-draining mixture.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.2
of 15

Dwarf Banana Plant (Musa acuminata ‘tropicana’)

Dwarf banana plant in window

silvia cozzi / Getty Images

Native to southeast Asia, dwarf banana plants can add dramatic foliage to any home, with their large, broad leaves, and eventual height of around 6 feet. The potential for fruit production is possible with this variety, but unlikely when kept indoors year-round. These tropical plants need ample water and root space, and cannot be in a cold environment.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Likes ample, bright light. Can tolerate low light.
  • Water: Water thoroughly and often in summer, more moderately in cold months.
  • Soil: Rich, well-draining soil.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.3
of 15

Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exalta bostoniensis)

Boston fern in hanging planter

aon168 / Getty Images

An herbaceous tropical fern, these plants grow to an average size of around 3 feet indoors. To keep Boston ferns growing evenly all-round, it’s best to rotate them periodically and prune any dead fronds. These ferns are often hung in suspended planters, but they can also thrive in traditional pots. Yellowing leaves could mean the plant needs more humidity and would benefit from an occasional misting.

Plant Care Tips


  • Light: Bright, indirect light.
  • Water: Frequent, thorough watering. Keep soil moist.
  • Soil: Loamy, rich, organic mixture.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.4
of 15

Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)

woman pruning a parlor palm

Placebo365 / Getty Images

Native to Central America, parlor palms are popular indoor plants that do well in foyers, with their tolerance for shade. A great plant for beginners, these palms also require infrequent watering. Parlor palms are also sometimes called bamboo palms because of their bamboo-like stems, and they produce inedible fruits (though fruiting is rare indoors).

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Ideally moderate-bright indirect light, can tolerate low light. Avoid direct sun.
  • Water: Important not to over-water. Wait 1-2 weeks depending on where the plant is located.
  • Soil: Peat-based potting mix. Does not tolerate salt.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.5
of 15

Hens and Chicks (Echeveria elegans)

Echeveria elegans, hens and chicks succulent

Han Xiang Chua / Getty Images

Hens and chicks are popular perennial succulents that do well in indoor container gardens as well as in rock gardens. A low maintenance plant with relatively shallow root systems, they don’t need a planter with much depth, but it does need some width to allow new growth to spread as the “hen” (parent plant) forms new “chicks” (smaller new rosettes that form).

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Needs several hours of bright light each day. Works well in windows.
  • Water: Avoid overwatering. These plants are drought tolerant.
  • Soil: Well-draining, coarse. Cactus or succulent potting blends should work well.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.6
of 15

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

lemon balm, Melissa officinalis

Nicholas Kostin / Getty Images

A hardy perennial shrub, lemon balm is known for its fragrant odor and will need a sunny spot indoors and to be kept away from cold, drafty areas. Any flowers that form should be picked immediately if you plan to harvest leaves, as their flavor begins to change and become bitter as the plant goes to seed.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Needs ample sunlight. 5-6 hours daily.
  • Water: Water when soil is dry to the touch, more tolerant to under than over-watering.
  • Soil: Well-draining and slightly sandy.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs. 7
of 15

Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii)

Christmas cactus plant in bloom

Westhoff / Getty Images

Christmas cacti are known for their flattened stems and vibrant red blooms that typically flower around Christmastime. An easy to care for houseplant, these cacti aren’t like the desert varieties; instead, they are native to the Brazilian rainforest and require more water. A Christmas cactus can live for 20-30 years when properly cared for and makes a great holiday gift.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Adaptable but prefers diffused light mimicking rainforest conditions.
  • Water: Water thoroughly and allow soil to dry between waterings.
  • Soil: Lightweight. Well-draining.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.8
of 15

Friendship Plant (Pilea involucrata)

Friendship plant, Pilea involucrata, with blooms

emsiegel / Getty Images

From the same genus as the aluminum plant, friendship plants are also known as moon valley plants because the deep grooves on the surface of their leaves are said to resemble the surface of the moon. These quilted grooves are a bronze/purple color, offsetting a vibrant green. Small blooms may form on the plant, which should be removed to keep the plant compact.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Moderate to bright light. Direct sun may scorch leaves.
  • Water: Water thoroughly and allow soil to dry between waterings.
  • Soil: Well-draining, peat moss or African violet mix.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.9
of 15

Haworthia (Haworthia species)

Hawthoria cooperi

TatianaMironenko / Getty Images

Haworthia is a genus of more than 80 species of succulent that grow easily indoors in containers of basically any shape or size. Known for their upright leaves that end in sharp points, Haworthia typically feature stripes or dots that form attractive patterns along with basal rosettes, from which leaves grow in a spiral pattern, although this can vary between species.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Bright, indirect sunlight.
  • Water: Do not overwater; allow soil to drain.
  • Soil: Well-draining and porous. With pots that don’t drain, add rocks to bottom.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.10
of 15

Metallic Peperomia (Peperomia caperata)

Peperomia caperata, metallic peperomia

Olga Novik / Getty Images

Peperomia are known for their beautiful foliage and grow easily indoors. Native to Brazil, Peperomia caperata sprout interesting flowers, which shoot above the leaves and resemble long, white beans. This distinctive plant comes in many varieties, most commonly the Emerald Ripple, pictured above with its dark green/purple, deeply veined leaves.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Bright, indirect sunlight.
  • Water: Water thoroughly when the top 1-2″ of soil is dry. Do not overwater.
  • Soil: Well-draining mix of peat moss and perlite or sand.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.11
of 15

Fairy Elephant’s Feet (Frithia pulchra)

Frithia Pulchra or Purple Baby Tears

Guenter Fischer / Getty Images

Also known as purple baby tears, Frithia pulchra is native to South Africa, where it thrives in rocky grasslands. A hearty perennial, this plant can adapt to many growing conditions and features club-shaped, erect leaves, and single, daisy-like flowers that bloom in the window and are often pink or purple.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Bright, full sun.
  • Water: Routine thorough watering in summer; cut back in winter.
  • Soil: Open, well-draining. Fill bottom half of pots with loose gravel and rock.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.12
of 15

Moon Orchid (Phalaenopsis Orchid)

moon orchids in planters

DebraLee Wiseberg / Getty Images

Also known as moth orchids, these flowering plants prefer warm, humid, conditions and are commonly grown indoors. Native to tropical and subtropical Asia, where they grow on trees, these orchids produce showy purple, green, white, or pink flowers, depending on the specific variety.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Requires indirect light and deep shade.
  • Water: Always water in the morning. Let soil thoroughly dry between watering.
  • Soil: Use bark and/or moss.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.13
of 15

Thimble Cactus (Mammillaria gracilis fragilis)

Thimble cacti in a pot

Visit Roemvanitch / Getty Images

These attractive succulents are native to Central America, where they typically receive plenty of bright sun and not much water, meaning that they’re easy to care for as long as you have a bright spot in your home. Thimble cacti will grow well in windows, producing light yellow flowers in winter and summer.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Needs bright sunlight at least 6 hours a day.
  • Water: Water infrequently and don’t overwater.
  • Soil: Well draining, with rocks and/or pumice.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.14
of 15

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

Chlorophytum comosum, ribbon plant, in a pot

Veena Nair / Getty Images

Also known as a ribbon plant, the spider plant is an herbaceous perennial native to southern Africa. These plants can be grown in hanging containers or in pots, and produce white, star-like flowers. Their green leaves have attractive light-colored vertical stripes that make it a distinctive and popular houseplant.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Bright, indirect light.
  • Water: Keep soil moist but not damp.
  • Soil: Soil-based potting mix.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.15

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