10 Pet-Safe Houseplants

by Garrett Fleming

10 Pet-Safe Houseplants, Design*Sponge

Last fall my partner and I were jonesing for a dog, so we did what every good renter does and sent our landlords a really nice email. Their reply? A definitive “NO!” with zero room for negotiating. Since then, we’ve scratched the itch by deciding on a name for our future pup (he’ll be called Le Mutt!) and teaching our fish Cinnamon to leap for food. The situation’s not ideal, but it’ll have to do for now.

When we do finally get to bring home Le Mutt, I’ll be sure to look back on this list of tips from photographer and pet-lover, Margaret Wright. She’s generously distilled everything she’s learned raising her own fur babies into a quick guide to 10 Pet-Safe Houseplants. Not only do her suggestions feature substitutes for trendy blooms that aren’t ideal for four-legged friends, but they’re accompanied by portraits of her own dogs and cats. Scroll down to check them out, and good luck not getting distracted by all the adorable-ness! —Garrett

Photography by Margaret Wright. Plants Provided By Pistils Nursery, The Sill, Haegur and Greenery, NYC.

Image above: When you want something pink like a wandering jew or a variegated rubber: Pink-leaved plants are definitely having a moment, so pick up a calathea pinstripe. It has delicate pink lines on its dark green leaves. 

10 Pet-Safe Houseplants, Design*Sponge

When you want an interesting leaf shape like a monstera: The staghorn fern is a pet-friendly version of the split-leaf plant with forked fronds that resemble antlers.

10 Pet-Safe Houseplants, Design*Sponge

When you want a cactus: The desert-decor trend is continuing strong into 2018, but most cacti and succulents are toxic to your pets. The zebra cactus, however, is a safe and unique plant that requires little maintenance and makes a statement with its striped fingers. Pair it with a pet-friendly air plant, and you’re set.

10 Pet-Safe Houseplants, Design*Sponge

When you want an asparagus fern: Opt for the button fern instead. With an intricate leaf pattern that’s sure to please, this non-toxic fern is a favorite.

10 Pet-Safe Houseplants, Design*Sponge

When you want a burgundy rubber plant: It’s tough to beat the dramatic, dark leaves of the burgundy rubber plant, but the velvety jewel orchid is a solid alternative. Bonus: It sprouts tall pink stems with tiny white blooms when it flowers.

10 Pet-Safe Houseplants, Design*Sponge

When you want something that drapes like a string of pearls: swap it out for a string of hearts. This pretty plant has delicate, little heart-shaped leaves and can grow up to four feet long. 

10 Pet-Safe Houseplants, Design*Sponge

When you want a pretty pattern like that of a dumb cane or caladium: Another calathea – the prayer plant – is a work of art with beautiful dark designs on its wide green leaves. 

10 Pet-Safe Houseplants, Design*Sponge

When you want a dracaena: Trade this stylish-and-spiky tree for a Chinese fan palm – or almost any palm – which are typically pet-safe.

10 Pet-Safe Houseplants, Design*Sponge

The only trending houseplant right now that doesn’t require a substitute: The pilea peperomioides (right) is a non-toxic plant that is topping everyone’s lists as a favorite for 2018. With big green orbs on droopy stems, it’s a unique and cheery plant that’s easy to care for.

10 Pet-Safe Houseplants, Design*Sponge

When you don’t care for the pilea peperomioides: Mix it up and get a watermelon or ruby ripple variety of the peperomia, which have a similar look but smaller, textured leaves.


String of Hearts
Planter – Pistils Nursery
Art – Hotel Magique

Print – 42 Pressed
Planter – Pistils Nursery
Bar cart, lamp – Target

Small print – Hotel Magique
Large print – Chambers Austelle
Planter – Hausful
Pendant – Celadon
Rug – Zinn Rug Gallery

Calathea Pinstripe
Striped vase, teak bowl – Celadon
Planter – The Sill

Pillows – Celadon
Art – Hotel Magique
Planter – Pistils Nursery
Rug – Zinn Rug Gallery

Prayer Plant
Striped Vase – Celadon
Planter – Pistils Nursery
Art – Frontdoorable

Button Fern
Planter – Haegur
Baskets – Agahozo

Pilea Peperomia
Table – Hausful
Planter – Greenery, NYC

Ruby Ripple
Table – Hausful
Plant, planter – The Sill

Suggested For You


  • Just a note: sago palms can be deadly to animals. A friends pup died after eat one.

  • I have a prayer plant, and that better be pet friendly, because apparently it is also delicious. I can NOT keep my girls from munching on the leaves.