So, this week I've had a lot of customers coming into The Plant Provocateur shop asking about which plants are pet safe. My general response is usually 'everything' is toxic to some degree to dogs and cats. So today when Katy (her real name!) came in to find out which houseplants in the shop wouldn't make her cat sick, I gave her my 'everything' answer. My rule of thumb is that all plants can be toxic either inducing:
1. Mild symptoms of diarrhea, dry mouth, hyper-salivation, upset stomach, and/or light vomiting. These symptoms can be caused by saps in the plant that can burn mucous membranes in the mouth and stomach. If the saps don't do that they'll irritate other parts of the digestion system leading to some seriously toxic poop. (Yes, I said it.)
2. Severe symptoms such as stomach bleeding, heavy vomiting, seizures, even death. These symptoms are caused by wicked poisons in the sap or plant parts that really cause problems when ingested, not only burning mucous membranes but getting into the bloodstream and doing more serious/fatal damage.
Well, while having this discussion with Katy, I called up my old friends at the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) on the old computer machine to see what they had to say. Turns out they have their own list of what's toxic and what our pet kids can go to town on and eat with little or no toxic reaction. Check out this link to their listings: ASPCA Non-Toxic and Toxic Plant List. Be sure to click on the plant name to see if they classify it as toxic or non-toxic.
So, after reviewing their list here's what I've got growing on and ready to purchase at The Plant Provocateur shop that not only will be safe for your pets (by the ASPCA's standards), but also can add style to your livin' profile.
A great, pet safe, easy care, super cool plant family are the Bromeliads, also known as the steroidal, colorful cousins of air plants aka Tillandsias, and has The Plant Provocateur got 'em for ya! Super tropical looking, low maintenance, produce cool flowers, come in a variety of colors and sizes, as well as being just...beautiful! How about the succulent and groovy Peperomia with their thick plump leaves of smooth, patterned, and/or color splashed leaf finishes. Very rad for your pad! Similarly stylin' are the Calathea/Murranta group with their art deco/nouveau/tropicalia-ish patterns, colors and textures. Très exotique! Palms are good candidates too. The ultra glam Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa) with her fashionably fresh foliage and pretty pleated texture is a cool choice. Even the majestic low light Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana), not pictured, is a beauty in tall indoor spaces. Very chic.
Oh, and ferns too! A word about Ferns. Most ferns are listed as non-toxic on the ASPCA list except for Asparagus Fern, commonly referred to as the Foxtail Fern. Just watch out for that guy! So, if you're looking for something to bring the beauty to your living situation that won't harm the pups and the kittehs, come on down to The Plant Provocateur Shop and check out these plants and a few others that fit the non-toxic bill. Oh, and a big shout out to the woman, the myth, the legend, Katy for putting the spotlight on this subject for me today. We love our pets and we love our plants! Let's bring them together in sweet harmony.