Health & Safety

The Best Dog Friendly Plants for Happy Pets and Beautiful Gardens

In recent years, indoor plants have exploded in popularity. Blame our growing interest in eco-living, sustainability, interior design, self-care, or wellness—whatever the reason, greenery has never been so popular. But while plants make great accessories, they’re tricky housemates for pets: many popular varieties can make dogs sick or irritate their skin. So before you bring a new plant home, chat to your vet and do some research into how your favourite varieties might impact your pet.

But for now, spread the green, air-purifying joy by choosing some of these easy to grow (or rather, hard to kill) options. 

Edible Dog Friendly Plants

If you live in a smaller home, make the most of your space by growing multi-purpose plants that taste as good as they look. Many herbs, flowers, and grasses are safe for dogs. Just keep an eye out and make sure they don’t consume too much.

Basil, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, and coriander are easy to grow indoors and suit lots of recipes. To mix it up, try chamomile—with its pretty white flowers, it’s an attractive pot plant you and your dog can both enjoy.

dog friendly plants
Illustrations by Julia Laskowski

Ferns & Palms

Ferns can be difficult, because some varieties are safe while others are toxic. Stick with easy-to-care-for classics like Boston, maidenhair, holly, and sword ferns. If you’re not sure, double-check with your vet before you buy.

Palms are not only hyper-fashionable, but many varieties also act as excellent air purifiers. While they’re great for people, some varieties are dangerous for pets—but there are many beautiful non-toxic options, so don’t worry, you’ll still have lots of choice. Attractive, low-maintenance favourites are: parlour, cane, ponytail, fan, sentry, areca, majesty, yellow, and kentia palms.

Other Hardy Dog Friendly Plants 

Luckily, the crossover between plants that are safe for dogs and safe for humans—and hard to accidentally destroy—is pretty wide. Spider plants are great for cursed gardeners. Not only are they hardy, but they also remove toxins from the air. If you’re after something a bit more delicate, African violets, with their sweet-smelling flowers, will keep you and your pet happy.

Striking and low maintenance, bamboo is so easy to grow that you may even have trouble controlling it. But again, check before you buy. While regular bamboo is fine, there are some lookalikes with similar names (such as “heavenly bamboo” or “lucky bamboo”) that are harmful to pets.

If you’re after something big and leafy, cast-iron plants make a nice alternative to palms and ferns, if you’ve had your fill of those. Just watch out—other members of the lily family can cause issues for animals, so be sure to buy the right one.

dog friendly plants
Illustrations by Julia Laskowski

If You Really Struggle with Keeping Green Things Alive

For some of us, even the hardiest indoor plants present a challenge. If that’s you, or you’re just starting your house plant journey, you might like to consider some pet-friendly succulents and cacti (yes, there are safe cacti).

Burro’s tail or donkey’s tail, aeonium arboreum, tender sedum, and varieties of haworthia, echeveria, sempervivum, and crassulaceae are so low stress that you and your dog will forget they’re even there. Seriously, these couldn’t be easier to grow and keep happy.

Of course, even a non-toxic cactus can still contain enough spikes to harm a curious pet. Luckily, haworthia are low on barbs as well as non-toxic, just in case someone is tempted to take a bite.

While you’re here, check out other pieces from the latest issue of our Off the Leash magazine.

Willow’s Pantry Prove Dog Birthday Cakes Aren’t As Crazy As They Sound

Dog Treats for Training, Easing Boredom, and Special Occasions

Pets of the Homeless Support Vulnerable People and Animals in Need

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Written by Wendy Syfret
Wendy is Head of Media at Scratch. Which is a good fit, because she's never met a dog she didn't like. Although she has a special place in her heart for muts: three legs, one eye, missing fur, bit of a weird walk? The scruffier the better. Her favourite dog in the whole world though is her terrier-mix Stevie.