House plants create a natural element in the home. All sorts of different plants add beauty and color and become prominent discussion pieces during dinners and guest visits. And while they bring joy and make valuable visual assets, there is a crucial factor that needs to be considered: Toxicity.
Poisonous or toxic house plants can elicit symptoms such as an upset stomach when ingested (eaten) and are sometimes also toxic by touch, most often causing skin irritation. Some can also be poisonous if inhaled when parts of the plant are burned. The level of toxicity and type of toxicity varies, and knowledge is key.
Did you know that one of the most popular houseplants, the Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Snake Plants), is mildly toxic if consumed? Staying away from these plants or placing them out of reach is advisable, especially if you have young children and/or pets.
For pet owners or parents with active green thumbs, knowledge is invaluable, and knowing which plants are safe to have in the home will keep you worry-free.
This article covers some of the best non-toxic houseplants that are safe for you and your children. The plants on this list are also safe for your beloved pets and make excellent houseplants that will liven up your home and bring satisfaction to you in caring for them.
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23 Non Toxic House Plants (Safe for Pets and Children)
We know how important it is to keep your indoor space free of toxic materials. The list below, while not exhaustive, should provide you with a touch of inspiration to keep your indoor or outdoor space green without running any health risks to you, your family, or your pets.
1. Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum)
This exciting plant gets its common name from its long cascading stems with grass-like leaves that fall from the mother plant, with mini plants growing on each branch resembling tiny spiders. Not only is this plant safe for your furry friends, but they also purify the air.
Spider plants are simple plants that are relatively easy to care for. They need light and enough water to keep the soil around the roots sufficiently moist but not soggy. Frequent feeds with liquid fertilizer also help this plant flourish.
They can even be planted in a hanging basket, which is a great way for the spider babies to cascade, but a regular pot or garden bed is also a good choice as they are very adaptable.
If you are interested in learning how to hang plants in your apartment or house without drilling, check out the article linked here.
2. African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha)
These small non-toxic plants are an excellent option for the house plant owner who has pets in their home. The tiny flowers come in various shades of pink, white, lilac, purple, and blue. They are eye-catching, with their beautiful flowers blooming amongst collarettes of large, round, and fuzzy green leaves.
The African Violet plant is ideally suited to an area with very little draughts or wind, sufficient indirect sunlight for growth, and more direct and bright light for flowering. Loose friable soil is best and should be kept moist throughout the week. Frequent feeding is required to ensure consistent flowering of this small plant.
African Violets make a great ornamental feature for table tops and are a great option for window sills.
3. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)
Boston Ferns were one of the most popular houseplants in Victorian times and are now common houseplants all over the globe. They are eye-catching centerpieces with long green leaf arches on solid stems that cascade over their container. Not only are they non-toxic, but one of the best things about these plants is they are also easy to care for.
Boston Ferns need indirect light and loamy soil, which can be lightly watered every few days. They can tolerate dry air and humid environments and need sparse feedings of slow-release fertilizer. The Boston Fern is one of the most efficient air-purifying houseplants, as it can help rid the air of harmful elements such as toxins and cigarette smoke.
These plants are ideal for entrance halls, offices, lobbies, and shaded verandahs and can be stored in pots or hanging baskets.
4. Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)
Known for its spectacular large and colorful oval leaves, the Prayer plant is a pet-friendly houseplant that deserves its place on this list. It gets its name from the way it raises and closes its leaves at night as if in prayer.
While needing some care, the Prayer plant is not a complex plant to look after. They need bright indirect light or filtered light and occasional shade on hot days, and they prefer high humidity. This plant needs regular watering during the growing season and less in the winter, similar to most other houseplants.
Well-drained loamy soil is best fed with diluted liquid fertilizer during the summer growing season. Start with a 50% dilution of liquid fertilizer, and adjust your feeding regimen as needed.
The Prayer plant can be stored in pots, hanging baskets, or natural containers and are a great addition to many settings around the home.
5. Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)
This plant is an excellent choice for pet owners, as it is non-toxic and eye-catching. It has a large size and upside-down conical flask shape that resembles an Onion plant. Its dense scruffy foliage is an exciting feature, almost resembling a shaggy hairstyle.
As far as maintenance goes, this plant is by far the easiest on the list. It seldom requires water due to its ample water-storing bulbous root, so a thorough watering every few weeks is all that’s needed – along with a small dose of diluted liquid fertilizer. Store ponytail palms in a large container with well-drained soil and in an area with low humidity; the plant will flourish with little effort.
It is an excellent centerpiece in public areas and is often seen in hotels, large office complexes, and waiting rooms.
6. Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
These attractive open-air plants are an excellent choice for businessmen or women wanting to bring a little natural element onto their desks, but as pet-safe plants, they are also great for the home. Parlor Palms are single-stemmed miniature palms with spiraling leaves that produce attractive orange date-like fruits.
They are non-toxic and safe to have inside, although in summer months, with proper care, they can also be outdoor plants. When considering plant care, they prefer indirect light and moist soil, which must not be allowed to dry out. Good ventilation and regular feeding with liquid fertilizer will keep this plant happy.
Store in a small pot or basket on a desk, table, or even a terrarium.
7. Rattlesnake Plant (Calathea lancifolia)
The rattlesnake plant is a decorative perennial from one of the stunning Calathea varieties with yellow and bright green elongated leaves with a pattern that loosely resembles the markings of a rattlesnake.
Moist, well-drained soil is best for this plant and should be placed in areas with moderate to bright light. Still, it’s best to keep them out of harsh sunlight. They prefer high humidity but can cope with moderate humidity levels, provided the room’s temperature is not constantly changed with air conditioners and heaters. Fertilize actively during the growing season, especially with new plants, and re-pot them when their container gets overcrowded by roots.
They make interesting centerpieces on table tops and are great accent pieces in dull areas around your home.
8. Staghorn Fern (Platycerium bifurcatum)
This low-maintenance houseplant makes a bold statement with its leaves that look like stag antlers. The Staghorn Fern is a common sight in many homes around the globe and has an exciting feature: it’s an epiphyte, which means it attaches itself to host trees and uses them as a base for growth.
Humidity is a crucial factor for this plant, and it should be placed under a shelter or plant canopy that receives filtered sunlight. If using soil, use good quality, well-drained potting soil. It will show you when it needs water as it will start to droop and be very light. When the leaves begin to droop, you can water them heavily without worry.
While they are non-toxic, keeping them away from pets or children is advised because the plant can get damaged, so it’s best to be elevated and out of the way.
9. Chinese Money Plant / Friendship Plant (Pilea peperomioides)
Also known as the Pancake Plant, the UFO Plant, or just Pilea, the Chinese Money plant grabs the attention of the interested houseguest. Its flat round leaves look like coins that can get up to 4 inches in diameter. They are non-toxic, pet-friendly plants and are another great choice to have in the home.
The Chinese Money Plant is also low maintenance as it doesn’t need specific humidity levels, needs little water, grows in well-drained soil that doesn’t get soggy, and doesn’t have any strict light requirements. For lighting conditions, the more light you give them, the faster and larger they will grow. Just be sure to avoid too much direct sunlight throughout the day.
Plant more than one in a container to give a fuller appearance. They make an excellent option for a hanging basket.
10. Money Tree (Pachira Aquatica)
The Lush Palmate leaves and delicately braided stems make this plant not just a must-have for its looks, but its mystical properties promise luck and prosperity to those who own it. Due to its back story, it’s often given as a housewarming gift for good luck. Since it’s non-toxic to pets and children, it makes a more-than-ideal houseplant.
Preferring average humidity and heat, this plant is very adaptable and likes bright filtered light with warm temperatures. A good, well-drained potting soil is ideal, and it needs feeding around once a month . Display money trees in a pot or basket, and place them in an area where they can be admired in the home as a focal point.
11. Moth Orchids (phalaenopsis orchid)
Moth orchids are easily one of the most popular houseplants globally and are most often given as a gift. The stunning blooms last for ages, and they have low maintenance needs. When pairing those properties with the non-toxic makeup of these orchids, these attractive flowering plants make a fantastic addition to any home.
They need bright and direct light for long periods and require moderate warmth. Still, they can tolerate the cold at night. They grow best in fast-draining soil that must be watered when dry to the touch and fed with a diluted liquid fertilizer between spring and fall.
Place in ornamental pots or containers and use as an eye-catching ornament or centerpiece.
12. Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera)
The Christmas Cactus is a small succulent plant that gives you the gift of flowers at Christmas time alongside long segmented succulent leaves. Christmas Cacti bloom with trumpet-shaped flowers in many different colors. Unlike other cacti, these are forest cacti and grow in less harsh conditions than their desert-dwelling cousins. As pet-friendly cacti, they are safe in the home.
They are not like other cacti and require different growing conditions. Low light conditions are best, with sufficient warmth and humidity. The Christmas Cacti need two periods of rest, at which time they can be put in a cool place and receive less watering. These times are just after flowering and during fall. Ensure they have well-drained soil that can be kept damp.
They make great ornaments and look pretty in Christmas-themed containers.
13. Wax Plant (Hoya carnosa)
This strange but beautiful plant is a popular houseplant across the globe and is one of the best choices for the best non toxic house plants around. Getting its name from its shiny appearance, which makes it look fake or made from wax, its leaves and flowers also have a wax-like feel.
The plant also has stunning leaves with different patterns and colors and is straightforward to care for. Wax Plants are best placed in moist, well-draining potting soil with bark chunks or an orchid mix – although other substrates can be used as well. Water thoroughly as often as needed, but know these plants are sensitive to overwatering. The easiest way to prevent the roots from becoming soggy is to ensure they don’t sit in a water-filled tray and keep them in a nice warm area with average humidity and in bright, indirect light.
These plants make excellent hanging plants around the home due to their hanging vine-like stems cascading and falling from the main plant.
14. Baby Rubber Plant (Peperomia obtusifolia)
The Baby Rubber Plant is a non-toxic, eye-catching succulent with dark green patterned ovate leaves that can cascade down if allowed. They are a popular houseplant among collectors and are increasing in popularity due to their ease of care.
Baby Rubber Plants are easy to care for and can survive in many different conditions. They love warmth and humidity and can handle a water shortage for some time if they are forgotten about. These plants are sensitive to overwatering and root rot, so it’s a good idea to avoid this.
A lovely, airy, well-drained soil mixed with bark chunks for perlite is preferred. For feeding, add some decent organic plant food throughout spring and summer.
They can handle lower amounts of light and make great options for shelves and desktops in offices and homes.
15. Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus radicans)
Also known as Twister or Lipstick Vine, The Lipstick plant is another safe houseplant for pets. Often seen in hanging baskets, these plants have vines cascading down, laden with twisted leaves and bright red flowers resembling red lipstick. They are non-toxic, but should not be eaten, as they can cause nausea and an upset stomach.
The Lipstick plant is not only non-toxic but is relatively easy to care for. They prefer warmth but can handle cooler temperatures above 53 degrees F. For lushness, grow in well-drained soil, frequently feeding with a good quality organic fertilizer during the warmer months. Water when the top part of the soil goes dry, and be careful not to let it remain wet for too long.
Lipstick plants make great companions for hanging baskets, as their leaves vine over the edge and sway when moved.
16. Venus Flytrap (dionaea muscipula)
Venus Flytraps are one of the most popular houseplants that almost everybody knows about. Folklore and stories are written about them, and with good reason. The Venus Fly Trap is a carnivorous plant with an appearance that looks distinctly prehistoric.
They prey on insects like flies that are attracted to the nectar in the plant’s jaws (trap), and once caught, the plant encapsulates the insect and releases an enzyme that digests the insect into nutrients the plant can use. However, these carnivorous plants do need sufficient care for them to thrive.
They require bright sunlight for about 10 hours a day when possible; you can use a grow light to supplement the light during the shorter days of winter. They are fussy about soil, taking in nutrients through their traps, not their roots, so the best thing to plant them in is sphagnum moss or a nice aerated potting mix of perlite and peat moss.
Avoid nutrient-rich potting soils and keep the soil nice and moist as well, but it’s not necessary to feed them heavily – as they feed themselves through digestion.
The Venus Flytrap makes an excellent ornament plant and can be put anywhere in the home or office that is sunny and warm, as they are non-toxic to humans and animals.
17. Burro’s Tail (Sedum morganianum)
Also known as Burro’s Tail Cactus, this strange-looking plant is not technically a cactus but instead is considered a succulent. Their long stems appear woven with plaited succulent leaves with a particularly eye-catching pattern. They’re pet-friendly and an excellent addition for collectors of non toxic house plants. There are different varieties with a color variation from green to gray-green and blue-green, and they may have a slightly chalky look.
As an easy plant to care for, they need warmth, full sunlight, and watering as needed. Feed them with some diluted liquid fertilizer during the growing season. Overcrowding their container can be a problem, so transplant out when this happens.
They can handle average humidity and do very well as a hanging feature.
18. Butterfly Palm (Dypsis lutescens)
Also known as the Areca palm or Bamboo palm, this plant is very similar to the Parlor palm discussed earlier. It is known as a cane-type palm due to the bamboo cane-like stems that it grows. They also have very feathery leaves and grow a very similar height as Parlor palm. Butterfly palms are also fantastic air cleaners and are non-toxic to animals and children.
Their ease of care is easily one of their biggest drawbacks. Parlor Palms need bright, indirect light; low light will hamper growth, and too harsh light will hurt the plant. A well-drained potting mix is required to prevent roots from getting waterlogged and developing root rot, so water only when needed and avoid soaking the plant’s roots for extended periods.
They make an excellent office and entrance hall plant. They also make a great gift.
19. Cat Grass
A fabulous plant for cat lovers and one of the best non toxic house plants for indoors or out. Cat Grass is not only a houseplant for humans but also an excellent treat for cats. The grass is tasty, and cats like to chew on the blades or play with it like a toy. It’s totally safe for them and is a wonderful source of play and enrichment, especially for indoor cats.
Cat grass is a combination of different cereal grasses like oat, rye, and wheat and can be grown in small garden pots. Leave your freshly sown seeds in a warm sunny spot and keep them moist whilst you watch them grow.
Your feline friend will be over the moon with this plant’s presence, so place it where your cat can access it easily.
20. Swedish Ivy (Plectranthus verticillatus)
Known as one of the most famous houseplants in the world, the Swedish Ivy is seen in photos on a particular mantle in Washington’s Oval office. A member of the mint family, the lush green and glossy leaves have serrated and oval-shaped margins.
This stunning plant has cascading leaves on long stems and grows delicate pale purple flowers. It’s safe for children and animals and makes a tremendous regal appearance in the home.
The Swedish Ivy needs well-drained potting soil, and you must avoid overwatering as it will kill the plant. Place it in a highly humid area if possible, but it can tolerate average humidity as well. It’s relatively robust, prefers shady spots, and can be outside as long as it doesn’t get overly cold. Feed with a good quality fertilizer during periods of active growth.
Use as an ornamental piece around the home and in backyard pool landscaping for an interesting talking point.
21. Peacock Plant (Calathea Makoyana)
Like the Rattlesnake Plant discussed above, the Peacock plant is a decorative perennial with wavy, elongated leaves that have striking markings on them. They are non-toxic and safe to have in the home.
The Peacock plants are reasonably easy to care for as well, and using moist, well-drained soil is best for this plant. The plant prefers moderately bright light, but it would be better to keep it out of harsh sunlight.
They prefer high humidity but can cope with most humidity levels, provided the room’s temperature is not constantly changed. Fertilize actively during the growing season, especially with new plants, and re-pot them when they get crowded in their container.
They make great centerpieces on tabletops
22. Maidenhair Fern
The Maidenhair fern is very different from other ferns with its delicate fan-shaped leaf segments, which are much smaller than other ferns. They are very slow-growing, eye-catching plants and are non-toxic to pets.
They are relatively easy to care for but are extremely thirsty and need a lot of water with indirect sunlight. These plants love high humidity, heat, and adore growing on seeping rock walls where they can access as much water as needed. Feed with a diluted liquid fertilizer lower in nitrogen.
The Maidenhair fern loves natural rock settings and water features, which can make the bathroom a good setting to house this plant.
23. Palm Trees (Arecaceae)
There are over 2600 species of palms spread across the 181 genera of the Arecaceae family of plants. They are relatively simple to care for and prefer indirect light and moist soil, which must not be allowed to dry out. Good ventilation and regular feeding with liquid fertilizer will keep this plant happy. Avoid high humidity.
Place in decorative pots and add to office desks, tables, entrance halls, and even hotel lobbies.