Dear Plant Pundit

In July 2022/August 2022, Stuff by Raleigh MagazineLeave a Comment

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I love both my pets and my plants, but I’ve heard that some plants may not be safe for my furry friends. What kind of pet-friendly plants can I buy for my home? —Feeling Ruff 

Dear Feeling Ruff,

We all love our fur babies—so this is a question we get quite often at the shop. Luckily for our customers, we label all our plants for pet safety. Just look for the paw print on the tag!

When it comes to houseplants, the vast majority are toxic to both cats and dogs. You see, many houseplants contain high levels of calcium oxalate crystals. When ingested in quantity by your pets, these crystals can cause burns to the mouth, excessive drooling, vomiting and gastrointestinal issues. 

The key word in all of this is ‘toxic.’ This means most houseplants containing these compounds will cause your pet to get sick, but will likely not be fatal unless ingested in massive quantities. You’re set to keep pretty much any plant in your home with pets as long as you keep them out of their reach.  

If that is still too risky for your taste, then there are many plants that are considered pet-friendly. Some common pet-friendly plants include all Peperomias, Calatheas and Marantas (prayer plants). You can also keep ponytail palms, zebra plants, African violets, money trees, and certain ferns and succulents in your home with minimal to no risk at all when it comes to your pets. 

It is possible to keep a lush jungle-like environment in your home and maintain the health of your pets. Both pets and plants are great for our mental health—and you can have them both with a little discernment.

Jose Harvey is the owner of Urban Pothos Houseplant Shop, a shop specializing in interior plants located in Downtown Raleigh. His goal is to help everybody develop a green thumb and be the best plant parents they can be. 

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