Plants for the Pet Friendly Garden (2023)


Jamie McIntosh

Plants for the Pet Friendly Garden (1)

Jamie McIntosh

Jamie McIntosh has written about gardening and special occasion flowers for the Spruce since 2011. She has more than 20 years of experience caring for flowers and plants. She was a feature writer for Organic Gardening at Suite101, where she won awards for her writing.

Learn more about The Spruce'sEditorial Process

Updated on 01/28/22

Fact checked by

Sarah Scott

Plants for the Pet Friendly Garden (2)

Fact checked bySarah Scott

Sarah Scott is a fact-checker and researcher who has worked in the custom home building industry in sales, marketing, and design.

Learn more about The Spruce'sEditorial Process

Plants for the Pet Friendly Garden (3)

When it comes to toxic and poisonous plants, not all pets experience the same effects from unauthorized nibbling. For example, while a day lily may not affect a dog, a curious cat can suffer from vomiting, kidney failure, or even death after ingesting the common garden plant. There are many beautiful ornamentals that are non-toxic to both dogs and cats, so fill your landscape and home without worries when you choose these safe plants.

  • 01 of 15


    Plants for the Pet Friendly Garden (4)

    Add zinnias to your no-nonsense list of hard-performing annual flowers, and rest easy knowing that they aren't toxic to your pets, either. If you've only experienced the mildew-prone old-fashioned varieties of zinnia, try the 'Zahara' series, which offers months of disease-free color on compact plants. Giving zinnias a full day of sunshine and adequate spacing also reduces mildew outbreaks.

  • 02 of 15

    African Violet

    Plants for the Pet Friendly Garden (5)

    The African violet has been a favorite houseplant for generations, andnew cultivars will give you a reason to rediscover themerits of this plant. Ruffled flowers and picotee blossoms appear on plants that appreciate the same temperatures we do.The fuzzy leaves don't produce any harmful substancesknown to harm cats or dogs.

  • 03 of 15

    Areca Palm

    Plants for the Pet Friendly Garden (6)

    If the fancy fronds of the areca palm tempt your cat to swat and bite, you won't need to worry about digestive upset ruining your pet's evening. Also known as the butterfly palm, this houseplant is native to Madagascar and thrives in warm temperatures and high humidity. However, they don't require much water or light, and the areca palm does an excellent job of purifying the air, making it healthier for both you and your pet.

  • 04 of 15

    Bachelor's Button

    Plants for the Pet Friendly Garden (7)

    You can grow pet-friendly bouquets with the lovely blue blooms of the bachelor's button, an easy annual for the sunny garden. Start seeds indoors six to eight weeks before last frost, or sow them directly in average soil; it takes about 80 days to get from seed to bloom. Leave the spent blooms in place for volunteers, and to nourish gold finches, which love the oil-rich seeds.

    Continue to 5 of 15 below.

  • 05 of 15

    (Video) In the Garden: Pet Friendly Plants


    Plants for the Pet Friendly Garden (8)

    The winter and very early spring blooms of the camellia help it fill a niche in the landscape when little else is happening. The rich dark green glossy leaves are handsome when camellias are out of bloom, but the prolific rose-like flowers are a stunning centerpiece when they appear beginning in October or November. Both leaves and flowers are non-toxic to cats and dogs.

    Camellias live for decades, so choose their planting site carefully. They like a sheltered spot with afternoon shade, good garden loam, and moderate moisture.

  • 06 of 15


    Plants for the Pet Friendly Garden (9)

    The fragrance of the marigold is best described as pungent, and even acts as an insect deterrent in the garden. If the funky scent appeals to your cat or dog, a taste test won't cause any harm. Marigolds are easy to grow from seed, love long days full of hot sunshine, and like the same kind of rich soil and moisture that your vegetable garden appreciates.

  • 07 of 15


    Plants for the Pet Friendly Garden (10)

    Snapdragons add a welcome burst of color to the early spring and late fall garden, as they are frost tolerant plants that thrive in cooler weather. Plants produce many flowering spikes in a rainbow of colors in rich soil and full sun. The plant parts and flowers are not harmful to cats or dogs, so fill your flowerbeds and vase with the bountiful blooms of these annuals.

  • 08 of 15

    Grape Hyacinth

    Plants for the Pet Friendly Garden (11)

    Unlike that popular spring bulb the tulip, which can cause diarrhea and vomiting in cats and dogs, grape hyacinths are safe to plant around pets, even when your curious dog wants to dig up and explore that which you just buried at planting time. Plant your grape hyacinths in the fall, about three inches under the soil. Plant them between summer flowering perennials, which will hide the enduring grassy foliage.

    Continue to 9 of 15 below.

  • 09 of 15


    Plants for the Pet Friendly Garden (12)

    Jump on the succulent bandwagon with the personality-filled haworthia houseplant. The striped, spiky foliage is the subject of many faux succulent arrangements, but the real plant is safe for pets and easy to grow in a sunny windowsill. Plant haworthia in a sandy cactus mix, and water once every seven to ten days.

    (Video) 5 Must-Have Pet Friendly Indoor Plants l Easy Non-Toxic to Pets Houseplants

  • 10 of 15

    Rose of Sharon

    Plants for the Pet Friendly Garden (13)

    Rose of Sharon plants are prolific bloomers that thrive in a wide range of tough conditions like drought, humidity, triple digit temperatures, and frigid winters. The vigorous bushes produce hibiscus-like flowers in shades of pink, blue, or white, and may attract hummingbirds. Also known as althea, the rose of Sharon is non-toxic to cats and dogs.

  • 11 of 15

    Ice Plant

    Plants for the Pet Friendly Garden (14)

    Gardeners who live in areas with sharply draining soil will appreciate the merits of the ice plant, with attractive succulent leaves and daisy-like magenta flowers. Add ice plant to crevices in rock walls, or plant them along garden paths. Given full sun, the ice plant will produce its non-toxic blooms from spring until frost.

  • 12 of 15


    Plants for the Pet Friendly Garden (15)

    When dealing with persistent plant eating pets, sometimes the best solution is to choose a plant that was meant to be eaten. The spicy, peppery leaves and flowers of nasturtiums won't appeal to most pets, but if they do care to sample, they will get a bonus boost of vitamins A and C. Nasturtiums grow best in full sun, average soil, and the mild temperatures of spring and early summer.

    Continue to 13 of 15 below.

  • 13 of 15

    Peruvian Lily

    Plants for the Pet Friendly Garden (16)

    For households with cats, many lily species are problematic to grow. However, the Peruvian lily is a non-toxic choice for both cats and dogs. You may recognize this flower as a frequent bloom in professional flower arrangements, as it is both long-lasting and brilliant in color. Peruvian lilies are hardy to zone 7 if you mulch them with shredded leaves.

  • 14 of 15


    Plants for the Pet Friendly Garden (17)

    (Video) The Garden Gurus - Tips on a creating a dog friendly garden

    Coreopsis rocketed to the top of the perennial favorites list with the introduction of the sterile, long-blooming 'Moonbeam' variety inthe early 1990s, and new cultivars continue to captivate gardeners. Besides its advantage of non-toxic flowers and foliage, the coreopsisblooms its heart out in poor, dry soils, with few to no insect problems.

  • 15 of 15

    Venus Flytrap

    Plants for the Pet Friendly Garden (18)

    When a plant behaves as a sentient being, it's difficult for even the most well-mannered cat or dog to restrain itself from a cautious lick or nibble. Fortunately, insects are the only ones that are harmed by the non-toxic Venus flytrap. Grow this curiosity in a mixture of peat moss and sand. Keep the soil moist, and give it bright, filtered light. Follow the pro tip of watering with distilled water, and perhaps your Venus flytrap will enable you to put your fly swatter away.

Article Sources

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Lovely Lilies and Curious Cats: A Dangerous Combination. United States Food and Drug Administration.

  2. Kulkarni, K. and Zambare, M. The Impact Study of Houseplants in Purification of Environment Using Wireless Sensor Network.Wireless Sensor Network,vol. 10, pp. 59-69, 2018. doi:10.4236/wsn.2018.103003

  3. 10 Garden Plants that are Toxic to Pets. University of California at Davis Veterinary Medicine.


What garden plants are pet-friendly? ›

Plant dog-friendly plants

You can still have a beautiful garden if you have a dog – many plants pose no threat to dogs. They include snapdragons, asters, camellias, rose, sunflowers, elaeagnus, centaurea (cornflower), impatiens and Calendula.

What does it mean when a plant is pet-friendly? ›

What does 'pet-friendly' mean? Pet-friendly plants are simply plants that are non-toxic, meaning they cause no harm if consumed. Toxic chemicals occur naturally in many plants, and in some cases can be harmful for one but beneficial for another. Take for example, our favourite: aloe vera.

How do you make a sensory garden for your dog? ›

FAQ about sensory gardens for dogs
  1. Touch: Add an area of mulch, gravel, or astroturf for different textures.
  2. Taste: Plant a medicinal herb like lavender, peppermint, or chamomile.
  3. Scent: Incorporate a natural “snuffle mat” with pet-friendly ornamental grasses like tufted hair grass and wheat grass.
12 Jun 2022

Is lavender plant toxic to dogs? ›

First of all, the ASPCA considers lavender to be toxic to dogs (as well as cats and horses). If ingested, the plant can cause nausea, vomiting, and inappetence. These symptoms can be traced to a single dangerous component known as linalool.

What plants survive dog urine? ›

Top 9 Plants That Can Resist Dog Urine:
  • Bear's Breeches.
  • 2. Japanese Holly Fern.
  • 3. Japanese Snowball.
  • Mexican Sage.
  • Rose.
  • Carpet Bugleweed.
  • Silver Carpet.
  • Burkwoods Osmanthus.
4 Aug 2022

What plant are safe to dogs and cats? ›

Spider plants

The spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum), also known as the airplane plant, spider ivy, and ribbon plant, is a popular houseplant that's both pet-safe and great for hanging up high so animals aren't as tempted by it.

Can a plant be a pet? ›

Plants are pets too! In fact, they're the new fashionable trendy pet. There are copious amount of breeds to choose from, varying in different shapes, sizes, and colours. In comparison to your average “normal” pet, plants are super low maintenance and only require sunlight and water, and of course your love.

What flowers can dogs eat? ›

Rose petals, violets, sunflower petals, pansies, snapdragons, and some marigolds can all be eaten raw, by dogs and people. A word of caution: it's essential to make sure your flowers aren't treated with insecticides, fungicides, or weed-killers, as those are poisons that can cause you and your dog serious harm.

What vegetable plants are toxic to dogs? ›

Steer clear of any veggies in the Allium genus, such as onions, garlic and chives. When eaten in sufficient quantities, they can damage the red blood cells of dogs and cats and cause serious health concerns.

What garden plants aren't toxic to cats? ›

Plants that are not poisonous to cats
  • Stocks.
  • Roses.
  • Freesias.
  • Lavender.
  • Catmint.
  • Calendula.
  • Nasturtiums.
  • Sunflowers.
19 Jul 2022

How do you enrich a dog in the backyard? ›

cube, kong or treat ball, or sprinkle your dog's biscuits across the yard for them to find. Dogs really enjoy working for their food! Here are a few ideas to make some toys out of items you already have around your home. Using milk cartons, cereal boxes, egg cartons, plastic milk or juice bottles and old t-shirts.

How do you plant a garden with a dog? ›

Use Containers and Raised Beds

Elevating or otherwise strategically placing your garden bed can restrict your dog's access to it. Some ideas: Plant in sturdy containers such as horse troughs or large pots. Hanging baskets or plant shelves help protect your plants from digging paws.

How do I stimulate my dogs yard? ›

Check out these tips to boost your backyard's dog appeal.
  1. Make Sure Your Landscaping Is Dog-Safe. ...
  2. Get Some Fun Outdoor Toys. ...
  3. Include Water Activities. ...
  4. Add a Puppy Playground. ...
  5. Consider a Sandpit. ...
  6. Designate Special Areas for Your Dog to Play. ...
  7. Plant Pet-Friendly Greenery. ...
  8. Include Places to Mark.
21 Apr 2022

Are marigolds toxic to dogs? ›

The marigold plant can be mildly toxic to dogs when ingested and can also cause irritation when contact is made with the fur and skin. Though the effects of this plant are not life-threatening in any way, your pet may experience discomfort with exposure. Protect yourself and your pet.

Is mint poisonous to dogs? ›

Dogs can safely eat one or two fresh, plain mint leaves per day. However, feeding your dog mint leaves in excess may upset their digestive system. Stick to serving them a few small bites of mint occasionally, rather than regularly.

Is Rosemary poisonous to dogs? ›

Fresh rosemary is a popular culinary herb that is safe for dogs to consume in small quantities. Adding rosemary to your dog's diet can help support their digestive tract.

How do I neutralize dog urine in my garden? ›

Dog spots can be “cured” by sprinkling the affected area with baking soda, gypsum, dishwashing detergent, etc. to neutralize the urine.

Can roses handle dog urine? ›

Although she said she's still skeptical, but maybe more of the merits of this news story than of the dogs next door. So we can VERIFY, indeed, dog urine can kill your plants in the long run if left unchecked -- but it's not a death sentence for your roses if you're able to take a few precautions.

What is the best surface for a dog to poop on? ›

Pea gravel

Arguably the best material for a dog potty area is pea gravel. It's got good drainage, it's easy to clean, and won't hold smells like artificial grass.

What big plants are pet safe? ›

21 Plants That Are Safe for Cats and Dogs
  • Rattlesnake Plant. ...
  • Spider Plant. ...
  • Parlor Palm. ...
  • Calathea Orbifolia. ...
  • Ponytail Palm. ...
  • (Certain) Succulents. ...
  • African Violet. ...
  • Bird's Nest Fern.
2 Aug 2021

Is snake plant safe for pets? ›

Because of its striking appearance and the fact that it's very easy to care for, snake plants are incredibly popular indoor plants. Unfortunately, they are also poisonous plants for dogs and can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea if consumed, says the ASPCA.

Are aloe plants toxic to dogs? ›

Although considered a medicinal plant for humans, aloe vera's level of toxicity is mild to moderate for cats and dogs. Vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, depression, anorexia, tremors, change in urine colour.

What spring flowers are safe for dogs? ›

When it comes to spring gardening, not all flowers are poisonous to our furry friends. In fact, some of the safe plants include roses, sunflowers, camellias and snapdragons. Remember to always keep an eye on your dog in the garden and contact your vet if you think they have ingested something dangerous.

Are sunflowers poisonous to dogs? ›

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals lists sunflowers as a non-toxic plant, meaning that your dog can eat an entire sunflower and not experience any health risks due to toxicity.

Is Jasmine toxic to dogs? ›

According to the ASPCA, true Jasmine (Jasminum officinale) is non-toxic to dogs. Whether your pet rolls around the flower or ingests any part of it, he will not suffer any ill effects.

Why plants are the best pets? ›

Whereas traditional pets breathe out carbon dioxide like we do, plants take that stuff in, along with a ton of harsh and unhealthy chemicals in the air, and turn it all into sweet, clean oxygen that works to heal our bodies and sharpen our minds.

Are ferns pet friendly? ›

True ferns such as Boston and maidenhair are fair game as indoor plants that are safe for pets. Just beware of toxic misnomers like asparagus fern, which is actually part of the lily family. Though their size can vary, most ferns have similar needs: They like indirect light, evenly moist soil, and high humidity.

Do plants like to be pet? ›

Your plants really dislike when you touch them, apparently. A new study out of the La Trobe Institute for Agriculture and Food has found that most plants are extremely sensitive to touch, and even a light touch can significantly stunt their growth, reports

How do you secure a garden for cats? ›

You could build a large cat run in your garden, linked by a cat flap. This should have a warm, weather-proof section and be positioned half in the sun, half in the shade. Add a tree trunk or climbing frame, ropes and perches, some grass, a catnip plant, a litter tray and water bowl.

What vegetables are safe to grow around cats? ›

Even if you don't feed them foods from your garden, the following plants are safe to grow around cats and dogs:
  • Basil.
  • Carrots.
  • Catnip.
  • Celery.
  • Cucumber.
  • Green beans.
  • Peas.
  • Squash.
8 Jun 2020

Which spring bulbs are safe for dogs? ›

  • Agapanthus – Lily of The Nile.
  • Freesia – Freesia.
  • Liatris – Blazing Star.
  • Lilium Asiatic – Asiatic Lily.
  • Lilium longiflorum – Trumpet Lily, Easter Lily.

Is soil safe for dogs? ›

The constituents of potting soil are dangerous to dogs and cause a variety of ailments when ingested. Soil and other organics used in the decomposition process to make potting soil may contain viruses and many types of bacteria which may get into pets when ingested if the process of decomposition was not done properly.


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2. 11 Plants To Avoid Keeping If You Have Pets
3. Pet Safe Plants with Shirley Bovshow - Home & Family
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4. Pet Friendly Plants 🐶🐱 || West Coast Gardens
(West Coast Gardens)
5. OG Pet Friendly Garden
(Garden Time TV)
6. 2022 GUIDE to Pet-Friendly Indoor Plants
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