Our Favorite Safe Plants for Cats

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safe plants for cats

Growing plants is a great way to brighten up a room or add some color to your lush, green lawn. But, even though your cat enjoys prowling through the leaves and flowers in your garden, not all plants are safe for cats. Unfortunately, some plant species can seriously harm kitty’s health, and skin contact or ingestion of these plants can lead to a number of complications including difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, vomiting, or, in severe cases, even death! Fortunately for cat-owners, the majority of common plants are not dangerous to cats. There are hundreds of safe plants for cats to choose from. Here are our recommendations for keeping kitty safe in your garden and home!

Remember, with her determination and the unlimited time in her schedule, curious kitty can get into your plants, even if you think they’re stored safely. So, when dealing with plants you aren’t sure about, it’s  always better to assume that the unknown plant specie is toxic to your cat and play it safe.

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Safe Plants for Cats

1. Dahlias

Did you know that Chrysanthemums (mums) are poisonous plants for cats? Mums may make gorgeous statement pieces in a green garden or bring life to the interior of your home, but they ought to be considered off-limits to cat owners. Luckily, if you’re into mums, there’s a similar alternative: Dahlias. These marvelous, pink flowers capture the same essence of mums, but without the danger of poisoning your cat.

pet friendly plants dahlias

Dahlias are relatively easy to grow. It all begins with Dahlia tubers, which differ from the bulbs of other plants in that they look similar to a bunch of carrots, except brown. From these tubers, stems can grow to surpass 12 inches long. Also, since the tubers have so much surface area, Dahlias respond rapidly to soil conditions and watering. As Dahlias grow upward, they also sprout new tubers. This means that, with proper care, you can expect even more Dahlias to be growing in your garden next season!

For all these reasons, it’s important to dig deep holes when planting your Dahlias. Place the tubers with the pointed end in the soil where it will receive plenty of sunlight and water. You can put about three tubers together in a hole to create a plump bunch of flowers.

Helpful Tip
Water your Dahlias well, keep the soil rich, and you are well on your way to growing a vibrant garden of safe plants for cats.

Types of Dahlias

There are at least twelve different types of Dahlias:

single flowering dahlias

Single Flowering Dahlias

Height: 16-20 inches
Width: 3-4 inches
Description: This type of Dahlia looks similar to a colorful daisy, though Dahlia colors are richer.

Anemone Flowering Dahlias

Anemone-Flowering Dahlias

Height: 24-28 inches
Width: 6-8 inches
Description: With a center row of tubular flowers and outer ring of petals, this Dahlia resembles a sea anemone!

safe plants for cats decorative dahlias

Decorative Dahlias

Height: Up to 60 inches (5 feet)
Width: Up to 12 inches
Description: These flowers are the largest type of Dahlia. This plant has beautifully shaped petals.

ball dahlia

Ball Dahlias

Height: 48 inches
Width: 5-7 inches
Description: Just like its name suggests, these flowers are rounded, but they are also famously vibrant in color.

pom pom dahlias

Pom Pom Dahlias

Height: 32-48 inches
Width: 5-7 inches
Description: Ball Dahlias are rounded, but Pom Pom Dahlias are practically spheres of petals. These look great indoors as well as outdoors.

cat plant

Cactus Dahlias

Height: 60 inches (5 feet)
Width: 6-8 inches
Description: This type of Dahlia has tubular, pointed petals, reminiscent of cactus flowers.

semi cactus dahlia

Semi-Cactus Dahlias

Height: 60 inches (5 feet)
Width: 6-8 inches
Description: These flowers look similar to Cactus Dahlias, though slightly softer and gentler. That’s because the petals are not entirely tubular and are far less pointed.

peony dahlia safe plants for cats

Peony Dahlias

Height: 35 inches
Width: 4-6 inches
Description: Peony Dahlias look like the fluffy Peony flower, but grow much more rapidly.

cat safe plants

Collarette Dahlias

Height: 30-48 inches
Width: 5-7 inches
Description: With an outer ring of flat petals and an inner circle of ruffled petals, Collarette Dahlias look related to Daisy flowers.

waterlily dahlia

Collarette Dahlias

Height: Up to 48 inches
Width: 6-8 inches
Description: The Waterlily Dahlia mimics the calming look of a waterlily.

non toxic plants for cats

Mignon Dahlias

Height: 28 inches
Width: 3-4 inches
Description: Mignon Dahlias are tiny and sweet. They fit perfectly in planters.

topmix dahlia

Topmix Dahlias

Height: 28 inches
Width: 3-4 inches
Description: Due to their petiteness, these make great indoor plants.

2. Alstroemeria (Lily)

Lilies make a gorgeous addition to any flower bed or border, but many species of lilies are also poisonous plants for cats.  To be especially safe, cat owners should assume that all types lilies are poisonous plants for cats, and should probably avoid lilies altogether. However, if you like the elegant aesthetic of lilies as much as we do, you might consider planting some Alstroemeria flowers. Alstroemeria are safe plants for cats despite having the nickname “Peruvian Lily”. These flowers bloom in various colors, including pink, purple, white, salmon, red, orange, rose, and yellow.

safe plants for pets

Alstroemerias are great plants for intermediate gardeners as they do require some extra attention. However, with  careful care, these plants brighten any garden and can survive two weeks indoors in a vase.

To plant Alstroemerias, create six-inch deep holes in fertilized soil that is exposed to constant sunlight.  Plant each seed with one foot of soil between it and the next. Once the seeds have been planted and covered with soil, it is time to mulch with three inches of organic compost around the top of the plant. Avoid covering the areas where you expect stems to sprout. Finally, water the newly planted Alstroemeria well until the soil has become visibly moist.

Regular care for a Peruvian Lily requires pruning, mulching, and watering. To prune these plants, simply cut the stems using bypass pruners. This allows your plant to grow in a controlled way. Also, your Alstroemeria will thrive if you mulch them in early spring, just as you did when they were first planted. These plants must be watered each week until the soil is clearly moist. You may need to water more often in summers due to lack of natural rainfall.

Alstroemeria are great for both indoors and outdoors, and you can decorate however you like while knowing your cat will be safe. Because of their vibrant color and elegant shape, these plants look great among other safe plants for cats in flower beds, bordering a garden, or as part of a bouquet.

There are several different varieties of Alstroemeria, including the Purplespot Parrot Lily, the Lily of the Incas, the Peruvian Lily, the Brazilian Lily, and the Parrot Lily.

Important Information About Lillies
Although most plants with the name lily are poisonous plants for cats, the Alstroemeria family, commonly called lilies, are among the many safe plants for cats that you can plant with a good conscience.

Type of Alstroemeria

lily of the nile alstroemeria

Lily of the Nile

Height: 32 inches
Width: 1 inches
Description: These gorgeous lily-like flowers bloom perennially . They grow with large bunches of colorful blooms each spring and summer.

peruvian lily

Peruvian Lily

Height: 6 inches – 5 feet
Width: 3 inches
Description: The Peruvian Lily comes in a number of vibrant colors. This plant can become quite tall and requires a good amount of attention.

plants that are safe for cats

Peruvian Lily

Height: 6 inches – 5 feet
Width: 3 inches
Description: The Parrot Lily gets its name from the fact that its blooms are made up of several contrasting colors.

3. Violets

If you were hoping to add some Cyclamen plants to your garden where kitty can reach, you might want to think again—Cyclamen are poisonous plants for cats. But you can still capture the beauty of these delicate flowers by planting some Violets in your garden or displaying them in a vase indoors. Violets, also referred to as Viola, are safe plants for cats with heart-shaped leaves and, for the most part, deep blue with yellow and cream petals. Each flower is unique because the petals of each flower vary in size and shape.

violetsIf you are a beginner, you will have no issue growing Violets in your garden! These flowers are easy to plant and care for as they grow. Unlike Dahlias and Alstroemeria, Viola grow most successfully in shady areas in the fall and winter and sunny areas in the spring and summer. Our suggestion is to plant these flowers under deciduous trees to ensure that the flowers receive shade in winter and sun in spring without much effort.

Violets don’t come in Tubers, but instead can be grown from a portion of a root or from a seed. At the beginning of spring, dig a holes approximately six inches deep and six inches apart from one another. Once the holes are loosely covered in soil, add organic compost to the topsoil.  Mulching the violets will keep the roots cooler longer! Violets require far less water than our other safe plants for cats.

Helpful Tip
Violets are safe plants for cats that add a deeper dimension to any garden, or a classy look to any interior.

Type of Violets

As with Dahlias and Alstroemeria, Viola come in several varieties:

field pansy

Field Pansy

Height: 4-5 inches
Width: 0.5-1 inches
Description: These flowers are a creamy yellow color, each a different shape and size from one another.  This asymmetrical pattern makes the Field Pansy look artistic and intriguing.

yellow pansy safe plants for cats

Yellow Pansy

Height: Up to 6 inches
Width: 0.5-1 inches
Description: Yellow Pansies, as their name suggests, have sunshine-yellow blooms that emerge in spring and summer. These flowers look great in any bouquet due to their striking brightness.

sweet violet

Sweet Violet

Height: 12-14 inches
Width: 0.5-1 inches
Description: Aside from having a unique scent, Sweet Violets stand apart from other flowers in your garden due to the rich, deep color of the blooms.  In the center  of each flower, there are hints of yellow.

Poisonous Plants for Cats

Finally, we wanted to make sure your cat stays safe indoors and out by providing a complete list of poisonous plants for cats.  Here are plants to absolutely avoid.

  • Chrysanthemum
  • Lilies (except Alstroemeria )
  • Cyclamen
  • Oleander
  • Pothos
  • English Ivy
  • Amaryllis
  • Castor Bean
  • Tulip Bulbs
  • Yew
  • Sago Palm
  • Azaleas
  • Rhododendrons
  • Autumn Crocus
  • Spanish Thyme
  • Kalanchoe
  • Narcissus Bulbs

Photo Credits:

Cat playing Photo: Photo credit: Julian Schroeder

Dahlias in a row: Heirloom Farm

Alstroemeria: http://www.plantmaster.com

Violets: https://babyviolets.wordpress.com

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