Non-Toxic Holiday Plants for a Festive & Pet-Friendly Season
These six festive houseplants not only contribute a big dose of holiday cheer, but also keep the furry members of the family safe by being non-toxic to cats and dogs.
The bad news? Some holiday plant favorites we all know and love can be harmful to our pets. Symptoms range from minor irritation to the tongue and mouth to vomiting, diarrhea, and even death, depending on the plant and how much of it is ingested. A few common seasonal houseplants that can be harmful include: mistletoe, holly, pine tree, and amaryllis.
Now for the good news: There are pet-safe holiday houseplants that are not only colorful, but easy to care for as well. Add them to your festive decor now, and keep them around beyond the holidays!
An easy-care plant full of lush foliage, the pinstripe calathea (Calathea ornata) shows its holiday spirit through green leaves featuring vibrant pink “pinstripes.” It thrives in bright to medium indirect sunlight and only requires water every week or two. When well taken care of, this festive plant can get up to 3 feet tall.
It doesn’t matter if you pick a Thanksgiving cactus or Christmas cactus, as neither are harmful to pets. In addition, both holiday varieties feature gorgeous white, yellow, red or pink flowers. Another easy-care plant, the holiday cactus can live a long time — decades even — and it does not have the sharp spines that most other cactus varieties are known for. Another odd characteristic? They prefer indirect light. Regular watering to keep the soil moist will keep a holiday cactus happy while flowering. Expect your cactus to grow slowly and get between 6-12 inches tall and 1-2 feet wide.
A very pretty pick for fans of fresh-cut flowers, the moth orchid provides a longer-lasting option for that look. To care for your orchid, give it a home where it will get plenty of medium to bright indirect sunlight, and only water it when the moss or bark in the pot is dry to the touch — roughly every 10-14 days. Expect your moth orchid to bloom once a year for approximately three months. After the blooms are gone, cut off the flower spike right above the second node up from the bottom of the plant. With the right care, your orchid should bloom again the following year. Expect it to grow up to 12 inches tall.
Pink Polka Dot Plant
This holiday-appropriate houseplant, the polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya), is also pretty in pink. All it needs to thrive is moist soil and bright, indirect light. When shown lots of love, it can get up to 1-2 feet tall and a foot wide. Since the polka dot plant does very well in high humidity, consider using it in a terrarium.
Silver Vase Bromeliad
Need to brighten up your home this holiday season? This beautiful bromeliad (Aechmea fasciata) can bloom for as long as 6 months out of the year. Another easy-care plant, it prefers partial to bright indirect sunlight. Because this bromeliad has a unique quirk when it comes to watering, it is also known as the urn plant. Instead of watering the soil, like most plants, water is added to the middle of the plant, where the “urn” or vase is created by the plant’s leaves. To make sure the plant is happy, simply make sure the center of the plant always has water in it. Every few weeks, pour out any old water and add fresh. Expect this tropical beauty to get up to 18 inches tall.
Large Majesty Palm
Looking for an alternative Christmas tree option since your pets have trouble leaving the real one alone? A tall majesty palm (Ravenea rivularis) makes a great stand-in. What’s more, it only needs to be watered every week or two, when the soil feels dry. Place it in a spot with plenty of bright indirect sunlight and this indoor tree can get as tall as 10 feet. Plus, its fronds are plenty tough enough to hold ornaments that aren’t overly heavy. (Note: Because the majesty palm is a slow-growing plant, it will require a few years to get up to its mature height.)