Houseplants are satisfying to keep and an excellent way to liven up indoor spaces. If you have pets or small children, it may be difficult to determine which indoor plants are safe in your home.
10 Indoor Plants that are Safe for Kids and Pets
There are so many reasons to keep houseplants. They offer beauty and texture to home decor, maintaining them can be fun and rewarding and they even help purify indoor air. But if you have pets or small children, it may be tricky to find the perfect houseplant that is both safe to keep and easy to care for.
Many houseplants, like sago palms and lilies, are very toxic if ingested and should be avoided in homes with curious pets or children. However, if you know what to look for, there are plenty of easy-care plants that are totally safe for your home.
In this guide, we’ll explore our top choices for non-toxic houseplants that are just right for homes with kids and pets.
10 Indoor Plants that are Safe for Kids and Pets
Below are our top 10 favorite kid- and pet-safe plants, which we’ve selected due to their non-toxic nature and low-maintenance growing requirements. And, for greater variety, we’ve also included a range of different plant types. So, no matter your interest, you’re sure to find the perfect pet-safe plant for you here!
1. African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha)
A cheerful plant with colorful blooms and round, furry leaves, African violets are a classic choice for any houseplant collection. These non-toxic plants are ideal for homes with pets or small children and, since they rarely reach more than 6” high, they are perfect tabletop plants too.
Generally easy-going, African violets prefer bright, indirect light; however, additional shade can promote blooming. Flower colors range from white to pink to purple, with some flowers boasting bicolored flowers or blooms with extra frilly petals. Just keep in mind that African violet leaves should be kept dry, so be sure to only water your plant from the bottom.
2. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Spider plants are some of the most popular foliage plants for good reason. These low-maintenance plants are non-toxic and their colorful, grass-like leaves add lots of texture and color to windowsill displays. However, for even better results, try potting up your spider plant in a hanging basket, which will help protect delicate leaves from bruising and damage.
Spider plants are also very easy to propagate in soil or water. After blooming small, white flowers, spider plants will produce baby spider plants, known as “spiderettes.” Once separated from the parent plant, these spiderettes can be potted up on their own to share with friends.
3. Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)
Despite its name, ponytail palms are actually not palms at all but are a type of succulent. These funky-looking plants feature a bulbous, woody trunk topped with a mass of curly, bright green leaves. That woody trunk is the key to the ponytail palm’s success as it is used to store moisture for better drought resistance.
In their native Mexico, ponytail palms can grow well over 30’ tall in the wild; however, they usually stay under 10’ high when kept as potted plants. A slow-growing plant species, ponytail palms won’t outcompete other plants in your collection and they need minimal water, so they’re a good plant to keep if you’re new to indoor gardening.
4. Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)
Prayer plants are known for their attractive and highly patterned leaves with contrasting colors in yellow, green, and pink. Intriguingly, those leaves move to follow the sunlight, turning upwards in the evening for water conservation — a movement which is said to resemble hands in prayer.
Growing well in hanging baskets or tabletop planters, prayer plants have a somewhat trailing growth habit, and stems spill beautifully over planter sides for lots of texture. For a tidier look, you can encourage your prayer plant to grow more vertically with frequent pruning or trellising. And, if you’re lucky, your plant may also bloom pretty purple flowers in spring or summer.
5. Rattlesnake Plant (Goeppertia insignis)
A relative of prayer plants, rattlesnake plants are also known for their highly patterned leaves, which are accentuated by deep red undersides. Another non-toxic plant, rattlesnake plants are less likely to bloom indoors than prayer plants, but they make showstopping houseplants regardless.
While many houseplants can adapt to low indoor humidity levels, rattlesnake plants have higher-than-average humidity needs. For this reason, try placing your plant on a pebble tray or near a humidifier to prevent crispy leaves.
6. Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula)
Venus flytraps are a popular choice for homes with kids because they are just such fun plants. Like other carnivorous plants, Venus flytraps utilize their moving “traps” to catch flies, gnats, and other troublesome pests in your home. Even better, because they move so quickly, these plants are excellent for observing and home science projects with youngsters too.
Naturally found in the nutrient-poor, boggy areas of the coastal Carolinas, Venus flytraps need special growing conditions to look their best. Specifically, Venus flytraps like bright, indirect light and consistently moist soil, but they are sensitive to the chemicals in tap water. Instead, for best results, only water your flytraps with rain or distilled water and avoid using fertilizers of any kind.
7. Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera spp.)
Christmas cactus and the closely related Thanksgiving cactus are actually succulents, not cacti. These low-maintenance plants look lovely in hanging baskets that allow their gently draping and segmented stems to show in all their glory. But, if you needed more reasons to love these plants, wait until they bloom big, tropical-looking flowers in mid-winter!
Easy to propagate in soil or water, Christmas cacti grow best in bright, indirect light. Additionally, because they are succulents, they don’t need a lot of water, so they’re a good pick if you’re looking for a no-fuss plant.
8. Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
Many palm species are not pet-safe, but parlor palms are delightful and non-toxic specimens that won’t pose any risk to your fluffy friends. An elegant floor plant, parlor palms are sure to add lots of drama and classic touch to any home décor. When properly maintained, these plants will grow to about 10 to 12’ in height.
These adaptable plants are even suitable for lower-light rooms, although they do well in bright, indirect light. To prevent crispy leaves, try to maintain humidity levels around your palm between 40 to 60%. Since indoor air can be quite dry in winter, you may want to place your palm near a humidifier.
9. Velvet Plant (Gynura aurantiaca)
Also known as the purple passion plant, velvet plants have thin, angular leaves that are coated in bright, purple fuzz that is soft to the touch. These purple leaves appear almost iridescent in the sunlight and are further accentuated when the plant blooms golden-orange flowers that look a bit like dandelions.
Gorgeous in either hanging baskets or pruned for a more vertical look, velvet plants are short-lived houseplants. To keep your plants going for more than a few years, take cuttings of your velvet plants and root them in water or soil to create new growth.
10. Air Plants (Tillandsia spp.)
In nature, air plants grow as epiphytes, anchoring themselves to tree branches and loose bark with the help of their aerial roots. When grown indoors, air plants are often mounted on pieces of driftwood or hung in hanging planters to take advantage of vertical space. Either way, air plants are easy to keep and get most of the water and nutrients they need from the air around them.
As monocarpic plants, air plants only bloom once and then die back. But the flowers they produce are certainly eye-catching, composed of bright red and purple hues that resemble a firework. Once flowers fade, air plants will often produce a “pup,” or baby air plant, to keep your houseplant collection going strong.
Frequently asked questions
What houseplants are non-toxic?
While there are a number of non-toxic plants to choose from, some of the safest plants to keep are spider plants, African violets, and air plants.
What is the most toxic indoor plant?
Lilies and sago palms are both very toxic to pets and cause many problems annually for pet owners. For this reason, these plants are best avoided in any home with pets or children present. If you have questions about a specific plant in your collection, check out the ASPCA’s comprehensive list of toxic plants here.
Houseplants are satisfying to keep and an excellent way to liven up indoor spaces. If you have pets or small children, it may be difficult to determine which houseplants are safe to bring into your home.
Luckily, there are tons of different non-toxic plants that you won’t need to worry about!