In addition to being first-time plant parents, a lot of us are also pet parents. That’s why Nick Cutsumpas, the plant coach and urban farmer behind @farmernick, says it’s so important to consider whether or not a plant could be harmful to your four-legged friend before making your next greenhouse purchase.
“It’s funny—most of the plants we bring into our homes aren’t pet-friendly. Even your monstera and fiddle leaf fig,” he tells Brightly. “But it’s all about knowing your pet and having a trust there.”
Dogs are easy, for the most part. Especially because they can’t reach half the plants you have on stands and shelves. Cats, on the other hand, tend to be a little more curious. (Not to mention have the jumping power to explore those areas.)
“I will say… for those that have cats, it’s a totally different story because they’re slightly demonic and will climb and reach the top shelf and knock over your plants,” Cutsumpas says. “It can be a little challenging, but there are lots of good options if you’re concerned.”
If it’s the first time your pet will be interacting with plants, Cutsumpas recommends starting with non-toxic varieties to see how they respond. You can also research the plants you already have in your home by visiting the ASPCA website, which lets you know exactly how toxic certain options can be.
Ready for some pet-friendly plants? Here are five beautiful options to add to your space.
5 Pet-Friendly Plants for Your Space
1. Spider Plant
The spider plant is what Cutsumpas calls a “distraction plant”—aka the perfect option for your cats. “Cats really like them because they kind of dangle and they can play with them,” he says.
Give your spider plant bright indirect light and water it every 1 to 2 weeks. Also cool: When it’s healthy, the spider plant self-propagates, so keep an eye out for cute little plantlets. (Yes, that’s an official name.)
2. Parlor Palm
Another pet-friendly plant Cutsumpas recommends is the parlor palm. They love medium to bright indirect light and simply need to be watered every 1 to 2 weeks. Easy, peasy.
Also known as “prayer plants,” Calatheas move their leaves up into a “prayer” position at night, then lower them during the day. They do best in medium to bright light and only need to be watered every 1 to 2 weeks.
4. Money Tree
Another great pet-friendly option, the Money Tree plant is a fan of medium to bright indirect light and likes staying in the same spot. So once you find a home for it, try not to move it around. (Unless you don’t mind some dramatic leaf drop, that is.)
5. Watermelon Peperomia
How cool-looking is the Watermelon Peperomia? When you keep it happy in medium to bright light, the beautiful colors and patterns on its leaves look vibrant. As for how much water it needs, it really likes to dry out between waterings. When the top 1 to 2 inches are dry (test it with your finger or a chopstick), it’s time to water it.
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