Pick This, Not That: 5 Pet-Safe Plants for Spring

By: Chewy EditorialUpdated:

pet safe plants
Chewy Studios

Pick This, Not That: 5 Pet-Safe Plants for Spring

Nothing says Spring quite like a beautiful, thriving houseplant—but if you’re a pet parent, think before you splurge on that gorgeous greenery. Some of Spring’s most popular blooms can be toxic to cats and dogs. So what’s the best way to bring nature inside this season, for both you and your pet? We asked the plant experts at The Sill for their advice on pet-safe plants for spring, and their selections are every bit as green and gorgeous as those traditional-yet-toxic alternatives.

Check out their picks below, and shop The Sill’s entire pet-friendly plant collection.

pet safe plants
So what makes these pet-safe spring plants so appealing? We asked Paris Lalicata, Community Associate and Plant Education Director at The Sill, to break it down.
pet safe plants

1Moth Orchid

Instagram-worthy, safe alternative to lilies

Great for beginners

Thrives in bright, indirect sunlight; place in an east or west facing window.

White lilies are synonymous with spring—but they can cause kidney failure and even lead to death if your cat ingests them. In dogs, the symptoms are typically less severe, but still well worth avoiding. Instead, opt for a white variety of moth orchid. They’ll give you that same milky, peaceful vibe, while also being totally safe for your pets to explore. Because they need water only every 1-2 weeks, they’re great for houseplant newbies. And hey, if you’re looking to add more color in your home décor, you’re in luck—moth orchids are available in a range of colors, in just about every shade imaginable!

Paris’s Pro Tips:

  • Use only orchid bark mix for orchids, not standard potting soil.
  • Fertilize moth orchids with a dedicated orchid food found at garden or home improvement centers during the spring and summer growing season to help facilitate blooming.
  • Moth orchids can be forced into rebloom the following year (but is rarely worth the effort).
pet safe plants

2Ric Rac Cactus

Safe alternative to daffodils

Trendy for 2022

Needs lots of bright, direct sunlight

Like the daffodil, ric rac cacti have sunny yellow-and-white double-flowering blooms guaranteed to lift the energy in your home. Unlike daffodils, they’re totally safe for cats and dogs alike. (Daffodils, on the other hand, can cause seizures and even heart arrhythmia if ingested.)

Plus, these trendy houseplants have a unique scalloped appearance that’ll make a statement in any setting.

Paris’s Pro Tips:

  • Water about every one to two weeks, allowing potting mix to dry out between waterings.
  • This plant is a succulent, so err on the side of underwatering. Lift the pot before watering; if it’s heavy do not water. If light, give the plant a deep drink.
  • Place in a very sunny spot to help bring on the brilliant blooms
pet safe plants

3String of Hearts

Colorful alternative to azaleas

Trendy for 2022

Needs lots of sun to thrive; place in a south or east facing window

If you follow any “plantfluencers” on social media, you’ve probably spotted string of hearts plants in your feed, trailing their long, vine-like tendrils dotted with heart-shaped leaves. Those hearts can even turn pink, making this plant an ideal replacement for azaleas, which are toxic to both cats and dogs, causing gastrointestinal issues, heart issues and more. This plant thrives in bright sunlight, so make sure you have a sunny spot to keep your trendy new pal.

Paris’s Pro Tips:

  • Water about every one to two weeks, allowing potting mix to dry out between waterings.
  • This plant is succulent-like, so err on the side of underwatering. Lift the pot before watering; if it’s heavy do not water. If light, give the plant a deep drink.
pet safe plants

4Hoya Heart

Romantic alternative to Lenten roses

Bullet-proof for beginners

Thrives in both bright direct and indirect light (provide at least 6 hours or light per day)

A succulent-like plant that grows in the shape of a heart—what’s not to adore? We’d be obsessed with the hoya heart even if it weren’t completely safe for pets. Thankfully, this plant happens to be 100% safe for pets. Its romantic vibes make it a great swap for the more traditional Lenten rose, which is toxic to both dogs and cats, causing gastrointestinal issues among other symptoms. It’ll make a sweet statement in your own home, and an even sweeter gift for a loved one who has your heart.

Paris’s Pro Tips:

  • Water about every one to two weeks, allowing potting mix to dry out between waterings.
  • This plant is succulent-like, so err on the side of underwatering. Lift the pot before watering; if it’s heavy do not water. If light, give the plant a deep drink.
pet safe plants

5Bromeliad

Brilliant alternative to flowering hyacinth bulbs

Trendy for 2022

Thrives in both bright direct and indirect light

Bromeliads derive water and nutrients from the air and debris around them—and even terrestrial bromeliads can’t be picky about when water is available. Thus these plants have developed specialized hair-like trichomes on their leaves that can absorb water at any time. These dazzling plants can range in size from an inch all the way up to three feet tall, so they’re a great choice no matter what size your space is. And they’re a great alternative to hyacinths, which are toxic to both dogs and cats, especially if either animal ingests part or all of the bulb of the plant. Here's one more bromeliad bonus: Their blooms can last up to six months, so you’ll get to enjoy them all season long.

Paris’s Pro Tips:

  • Water about every one to two weeks, allowing potting mix to dry out between waterings.
  • This plant is an epiphyte and benefits from extra humidity. Lift the pot before watering; if it’s heavy do not water. If light, give the plant a deep drink. Many bromeliads have a central cup formed by a rosette of leaves. For these “tank type” varieties, it is best to also water the plant by filling its cup.
  • Cut back spent blooms so the plant can focus on new growth that will emerge from the base.

How to Take the Best Care of Your Houseplants in Spring

Whether you’re an established plant parent or a total beginner, follow these tips from Paris to keep your houseplants happy all season long.

  • Monitor Your Plants’ Light Levels: Sunlight can be stronger in spring and summer, so if you moved your houseplants closer to the window to maximize light during the winter months, it may be time to move them back—or they might start getting too much direct sunlight. Research your individual plants’ needs to see if a relocation is in order.
  • Adjust Watering: That increase in sunlight also means that plants directly in front of or near windows may drink up water at a faster rate than they did during the winter. Be sure to check on your plants weekly for signs of overwatering including yellowing leaves and mushy stems to see if adjustments need to be made in your watering schedule.
  • Fertilize: It is best to use a fertilizer designed especially for your type of plant, and fertilize on a bi-weekly to monthly basis, depending on the fertilizer you’re using.
  • Consider Repotting: Spring is the best time to repot plants from their current planters (if you miss this window, summer and fall are good too!). Why repot? Some plants may have outgrown their containers since last season. Others may need new potting mix to ensure they have a good soil structure and fresh nutrients. If it has been a year or more since you last repotted or provided fresh soil, early spring—before the summer growing season—is the best time to do it.

Pet-Safe Spring Plants: FAQs

Q:I’m looking for a unique/unusual plant for my home. What pet-friendly options can you suggest?

A:Apart from the options above, consider these plants:

  • Fan Palm: Best known for its graceful and elegant appearance, unique fan-shaped leaves, and ability to grow tall (characteristics that aren’t common in most pet-friendly plant varieties)
  • Pilea peperomioides: Also known as the “pancake plant” or “UFO plant” thanks to its quirky, coin-shaped leaves. It is relatively easy to care for, non-toxic and a self-propagator! That means it produces sweet little babies or “pups” on its own, which pop up from the soil surrounding the mother plant.

Q:What pet-friendly plants will do well on a balcony or porch?

A:Any pet-friendly plant can work on a balcony or porch as long as the outdoors has the appropriate environmental conditions needed to help it thrive and keep it comfortable. As long as the natural light and temperature/humidity is adequate, you can place virtually any pet-friendly plant outside. Be sure to understand your plant’s needs before moving them outdoors, and if you do decide to move them, do it gradually so your plant has time to acclimate to the stronger outdoor light.


Q:What steps should I take to ensure my pets and plants coexist happily together?

A:Follow this advice to keep your whole household happy and healthy:

  • Opt for non-toxic plants only. Having only non-toxic plants is best for any pets who are persistent chewers and won’t leave your plants alone. You can even add plants like cat grass to your collection as a designated plant for cats to chew on.
  • Keep plants out of reach. If you have curious pets who always want to nibble at your plants, the best way to coexist is to keep your plants out of reach. You can utilize plant stands, ceiling/wall hangers, and shelving to keep plants at a higher distance.
  • Try citrus. Cats typically don't like citrus, so placing orange or lemon peels at the base of the plant, on top of the potting mix, can prevent them from exploring the plant or digging into the soil. You can also dilute lemon juice in water and spray the leaves.
Remember that not all plants are equally toxic to pets; some can be potentially fatal, while others may cause mild sickness or discomfort. Toxic plants’ effect on your cat or dog will also depend on your pet’s unique characteristics like size, health and age. For that reason, it’s best to proceed with caution and avoid bringing toxic plants into your home. And hey, with these elegant, unique and trendy houseplants to bring home instead, you won’t miss their potentially poisonous alternatives!

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By: Chewy EditorialUpdated:

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