Cat-friendly indoor houseplants for beginners

Cat-friendly indoor houseplants for beginners

Are you looking for gorgeous cat-friendly indoor houseplants for beginners? Are you dreaming of your own Urban Jungle? Do you want to learn how to deal with digging up the soil or throwing pots from the windowsill by your cat? Or maybe you are looking for a way to stop your cat from destroying and nibbling on plants?

I prepared for you a list of non-toxic plants for cats with photos and care tips. Also, I added some of my tricks for arranging and cat-proofing your houseplants. These beautiful houseplants are safe for cats (and also for dogs), ASPCA approved, easy to care and a lot of them are air purifying.

Living with Plants and Cats

Plants are an integral part of my life and have been with me since I was a child – both in my family home, in my current apartment, and at work (on my desk). Plants give any interior a home character and have a positive effect on the well-being and microclimate of the apartment. Some plant specimens have been with me for more than half of my life!

I try to live consciously, so I delved into the subject of plants and cats instead of mindlessly throwing all my plants into the garbage. Today I will share with you knowledge about houseplants that are safe for cats so that your home can also turn green.

Cats, plants and social media

Monstera is one of the most popular houseplants that is poisonous to cats.

I am sure that you saw on Instagram many photos with cats exploring the urban jungle of exotic ficus, monsteras or philodendrons and in spring (especially around Easter) photos of cats lying among tulips and you would probably think: “That looks so great! I need these plants!” I have to agree that all these photos look effective and charming, but unfortunately such plants are dangerous for cats!

You don’t have to give up your dreams of a beautiful urban jungle when a cat moved into your apartment. Just try to consciously choose house plants that are safe for cats.

Poisoning with plants

The symptoms of poisoning depend on the amount and type of plant the cat has poisoned – from lethargy and diarrhea to paralysis and death. Cats do not directly show that something is wrong, so do not underestimate your cat’s unusual behavior that may suggest a health problem.

Do you suspect poisoning?

Contact your vet immediately! Try to identify any plant that your cat may have poisoned as it may help the doctor save the cat’s life. If you don’t know the name, at least take a picture of the plant.

Do not spray indoor plants with polishing products or chemical plant protection products. Eating it with a leaf or licking such a thing may also end up poisoning!

How to check if a plant is safe for a cat

An extensive database of toxic and non-toxic pet plants has been established by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ( ASPCA ). ASPCA database is not all-inclusive but is constantly expanding.

To use the database, go to the ASPCA website (https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/cats-plant-list) and enter the Latin or English name of the plant in the search engine.

The plant is toxic! – What to do?

The level of toxicity varies from plant to plant. All toxic plants should be kept out of the cat’s reach, and in some cases you have to say goodbye to your green friend. What to do with the plants you already have at home that are not safe for cats? If the plant:

  • it is slightly toxicyou can put it in a room inaccessible to the cat or close it in an effective “forest in a jar”.
  • is highly toxic – you can give it to someone who doesn’t have pets, or trade it with someone at a “exchange a plant” event in your town.

Conscious care for cats requires… responsibility for the life and health of the cat. It is better to give up your dream plant than to let your beloved cat suffer or even die due to your oversight.

The plant is safe? – It does not mean that the cat can eat it!

If your cat eats a large amount of the plant, even if it is “safe” for the cat, it may contribute to health problems. Cat-safe houseplants are not the same as edible plants for cats. Conscious care involves observing your cat’s behavior to understand its needs and intervene when needed. Under my list of safe plant species, you will find my advice on how to deal with nibbling on plants.

Cat-friendly indoor houseplants for beginners

You will be able to see these plants in an unboxing video on my Youtube channel as soon as I finish processing the video materials 😉 You can subscribe to the Apollo Fluffy Cat channel and click the bell to be notified when the plant video is published!

#1 Pilea

Pilea is also known as Chinese Money Plant because of the shape of the leaves that are round and coin-like. The interesting shape of the leaves is not the only feature that contributed to the extraordinary popularity of this plant. Pieniazek grows very quickly and multiplies very quickly by sprouting small suckers – cuttings at the base, which can be shared with family or friends.

Latin name: Pilea peperomioides.

Level of difficulty: For Beginners.

Sun: Diffused.

Watering: Every 5-7 days.

Sprinkling: Do not spray.

Features: Decorative leaves.

Shop: https://apollofluffycat.com/pilea-zielony-parapet

Care tips: Turn the pilea every now and then until it grows symmetrically on all sides. When watering, do not pour water over the leaves as this can lead to brown spots on the leaves. Instead of watering from the top, you can put the pot in the water for several minutes (the water can be poured into the stand or the casing), and then pour out the excess.

#2 Areca Palm

Areka, also known as Golden Cane Palm, is one of those palm trees that look beautiful in any interior, because its leaves have a beautiful, intense green color. Palm trees are a great way to bring home a touch of holidays in the tropics. Beautiful appearance is not the only advantage of this palm tree. Areca is one of the plants that are particularly effective in air purifying.

Latin name: Dypsis lutescens, Chrysalidocarpus lutescens.

Level of difficulty: Easy.

Sun: Diffused.

Watering: 2-3 x week.

Sprinkling: Sprinkle with water regularly.

Features: Decorative leaves.

Shop: https://apollofluffycat.com/palma-areca-zielony-parapet

Care tips: Too much water can cause the leaves to turn brown. Too much sunlight causes leaf burns, so it is better to place it in a room with a window facing east or west.

#3 Parlour Palm

Parlour Palm is an impressive and extremely elegant palm tree. It is sprinkled with yellow flowers in the shape of small balls from time to time. This palm intensively cleans the air, and according to research conducted as part of the NASA Clean Air Study program, it is able to absorb volatile pollutants – benzene, formaldehyde and trichlorethylene.

Latin name: Chamaedorea elegans.

Level of difficulty: For Beginners.

Sun: Diffused.

Watering: 1 x week.

Sprinkling: Sprinkle with water regularly.

Features: Decorative leaves.

Shop: https://apollofluffycat.com/palma-chamedora-zielony-parapet

Care tips: Too much water can cause the leaves to turn brown. It feels best in high air humidity, which you can provide by regularly sprinkling the leaves or placing an air humidifier near it. Direct sun can burn the leaves of the palm tree, so it’s best to place it in a room with a window facing east or west.

#4 Calathea orbifolia

Calathea orbifolia, also known as Peacock Plant, is a tropical beauty with extremely decorative round leaves adorned with bright, regular stripes. At first glance, Calathea looks like from a fairy tale, because it is so beautiful that it is hard to believe that it is real. It is so beautiful that it is worth paying a little more attention.

Latin name: Calathea orbifolia.

Level of difficulty: Moderate.

Sun: Penumbra.

Watering: Every 5-7 days.

Sprinkling: Sprinkle with water regularly.

Features: Decorative leaves.

Shop: https://apollofluffycat.com/kalatea-okraglolistna-zielony-parapet

Care tips: The soil in the pot should be kept moist, but not wet. Calathea does not like drafts and large temperature differences. It needs high air humidity, which you can provide by placing a humidifier nearby. A good alternative to a humidifier is to place a calathea pot on pebbles in a water stand. Calathea also requires sprinkling the leaves with water daily.

#5 Peperomia

Peperomia, also known as Baby Rubber Plant, are cat-friendly indoor houseplants for beginners that doesn’t require a lot of water, and has smooth and fleshy leaves that collect water, allowing the plant to survive even minor droughts. A large amount of moisture in the air can cause the plant to rot.

Peperomia “Red Margin”

Peperomia “Red Margin” has thick, dark green leaves fringed by a characteristic dark red border, as well as maroon-colored shoots. Peperomia blooms with long, greenish flowers resembling a bright shoot.

Latin name: Peperomia obtusifolia “Red Margin”.

Level of difficulty: For Beginners.

Sun:  Diffused.

Watering: 1 x 2 weeks.

Sprinkling: Do not spray.

Features: Decorative leaves.

Shop: https://apollofluffycat.com/peperomia-red-margin-zielony-parapet

Care tips: Water only when the top layer of the earth is dry. When watering, do not pour water over the leaves as this can lead to brown spots on the leaves. Instead of watering from the top, you can put the pot in the water for several minutes (the water can be poured into the stand or the casing), and then pour out the excess.

Peperomia “Green Gold”

Peperomia “Green Gold” has thick leaves that are mottled and irregularly colored. Each of the leaves has original cream-green-yellow discoloration, which looks very intriguing. This variety of peperomia blooms with long, greenish-white flowers resembling a bright shoot.

Latin name: Peperomia obtusifolia “Green Gold”.

Nazwa angielska: Baby Rubber Plant.

Level of difficulty: For Beginners.

Sun:  Diffused.

Watering: 1 x 2 weeks.

Sprinkling: Do not spray.

Features: Decorative leaves.

Shop: https://apollofluffycat.com/peperomia-green-gold-zielony-parapet

Care tips: Water only when the top layer of the earth is dry. When watering, do not pour water over the leaves as this can lead to brown spots on the leaves. Instead of watering from the top, you can put the pot in the water for several minutes (the water can be poured into the stand or the casing), and then pour out the excess.

#6 Spider Plant “Bonnie”

Spider plant “Bonnie” is an exceptionally beautiful variety with spiral leaves with green edges and a cream center. Like every spider plant, it creates long stolons with tiny white flowers and tiny disheveled cuttings. “Bonnie” will be perfect as a hanging plant, because thanks to the above-mentioned runners, it will look beautiful and will not tempt your cat to nibble. This lovely plant is also very effective at air purifying.

Latin name: Chlorophytum comosum “Bonnie”.

Level of difficulty: For Beginners.

Sun: Diffused.

Watering: Every 5-7 days.

Sprinkling: Do not spray.

Features: Decorative leaves.

Shop: https://apollofluffycat.com/zielistka-bonnie-zielony-parapet

Care tips: Water only when the top layer of the earth is dry. Direct sun can burn the leaves, so it’s best to place it in a room with a window facing east or west.

#7 Fittonia “Bubble Red”

I met phytonia for the first time during the workshops on creating a “forest in a jar” (i.e. a plant terrarium). This plant is characterized by an interesting color of the leaf veins – white, pink and even red, which contrast beautifully with the green of the leaves. In my opinion, the most beautiful variety of Fittonia is “Bubble Red” with expressive red veins that contrast beautifully with the dark green leaves.

Latin name: Fittonia Fortissimo “Bubble Red”.

Level of difficulty: Easy.

Sun: Penumbra

Watering: 2-3 x week.

Sprinkling: Sprinkle with water regularly.

Features: Decorative leaves.

Shop: https://apollofluffycat.com/fittonia-bubble-red-zielony-parapet

Care tips: Too much sunlight causes leaf burns, so it is better to place it in a room with a window facing east or west. Removing flower shoots strengthens the plant, and removing the tops of the shoots makes it thicker.

#8 Polka Dot Plant “Pink Panther”

Polka Dot Plant is the second species of cat-friendly indoor houseplants for beginners, which I got to know during the “forest in a jar” workshop. The leaves are decorated with irregular, colored spots and green veins. In my opinion, the most effective is the strongly pink “Pink Panther”, which was recently created on the basis of the powder-pink “Pink”.

Latin name: Hypoestes phyllostachya.

Level of difficulty: Easy.

Sun: Diffused.

Watering: Every 5-7 days.

Sprinkling: Can be sprinkled with water.

Features: Decorative leaves.

Shop: https://apollofluffycat.com/niedospian-pink-panther-zielony-parapet

Care tips: Too much sunlight causes leaf burns, so it is better to place it in a room with a window facing east or west. Removing flower shoots strengthens the plant, and removing the tops of the shoots makes it thicker. It feels best when it has high air humidity.

#9 Boston Fern “Emina”

Boston Fern “Emina” is a georgous fern with delicately twisted and corrugated leaves, which is a beautiful addition to modern interiors. Boston Fern is one of the best air purifing plants.

Latin name: Nephrolepis exaltata “Emina”.

Level of difficulty: For Beginners.

Sun: Penumbra

Watering: 2-3 x week.

Sprinkling: Can be sprinkled with water.

Features: Decorative leaves.

Shop: https://apollofluffycat.com/nefrolepsis-emina-zielony-parapet

Care tips: It feels best in semi-shaded places, e.g. in rooms with a window facing north. Fern requires increased air humidity, which you can provide by regularly sprinkling the leaves, placing an air humidifier near it, or placing the pot on pebbles in a water stand.

#10 Hoya

Hoya are also known as Wax Plant due to their thick waxed leaves. Not all plants of this species are safe for cats. It is always worth checking whether the variety of Hoya you are interested in is non-toxic in the ASPCA database (which I wrote about at the beginning of this article).

Hoya “Compacta”

Hoya “Compacta” is an extremely showy and rare variety of hoya carnosa, which is known under the names Hindu Rope and Krinkle Kurl. This hoya is listed in the ASPCA database as being safe for cats (link). Its unusually beautiful, corrugated and curled leaves form dense, long garlands, thanks to which it looks most beautiful when braided on a round support, in a hanging pot or on a high shelf from which it can flow down. It blooms pink from time to time and its flowers smell beautiful.

Latin name: Hoya carnosa “Compacta”.

Level of difficulty: Easy.

Sun: Diffused.

Watering: 1x week.

Sprinkling: Can be sprinkled with water.

Features: Decorative leaves and flowers.

Shop: https://apollofluffycat.com/hoya-carnosa-zielony-parapet

Care tips: Water only when the top layer of the earth is dry. Hoja likes high air humidity, which you can provide by placing an air humidifier nearby or by placing the pot on pebbles in a water stand. Too much sunlight causes leaf burns, so it is better to place it in a room with a window facing east or west. When it blooms, do not change its position so as not to lose the flowers, and after it has flowered, do not cut the flower stalk as it may bloom again.

Hoya “Krimson Queen“

Hoya “Krimson Queen” is a beautiful plant that produces long stems decorated with creamy green-yellow leaves. During flowering, it produces pink flowers with a sweet scent that are star-shaped and look like made of porcelain – from which it owes its common name Porcelain Flower. Some sources say that Hoya Carnosa may be toxic, but it is listed in the ASPCA database as being safe for cats (link). The Krimson Queen looks best when wrapped on a round support, in a hanging pot, or on a tall shelf where it can drain

Latin name: Hoya carnosa “Krimson Queen“.

Level of difficulty: Easy.

Sun: Diffused.

Watering: 1x week.

Sprinkling: Can be sprinkled with water.

Features: Decorative leaves and flowers.

Shop: https://apollofluffycat.com/hoya-krimson-queen-zielony-parapet

Care tips: Hoja likes high air humidity, which you can provide by placing an air humidifier nearby or by placing the pot on pebbles in a water stand. Too much sunlight causes leaf burns, so it is better to place it in a room with a window facing east or west. When it blooms, do not change its position so as not to lose the flowers, and after it has flowered, do not cut the flower stalk as it may bloom again. Water only when the top layer of the earth is dry.

Hoya pubicalyx

Hoya pubicalyx has fleshy green leaves covered with silver spots and very pink flowers (almost purple) from which it owes its common name Silver Pink Vine. Some sources say that Hoya pubicalyx can be toxic, but it is listed in the ASPCA database as being safe for cats (link). Hoya look better when wrapped on a round support, in a hanging pot, or on a tall shelf where they can drain.

Latin name: Hoya pubicalyx.

Level of difficulty: For Beginners.

Sun: Diffused.

Watering: 1x week.

Sprinkling: Can be sprinkled with water.

Features: Decorative leaves and flowers.

Shop: https://apollofluffycat.com/hoya-pubicalyx-zielony-parapet

Care tips: Too much sunlight causes leaf burns, so it is better to place it in a room with a window facing east or west. Water only when the top layer of the earth is dry. Hoja likes high air humidity, which you can provide by placing an air humidifier nearby or by placing the pot on pebbles in a water stand. When it blooms, do not change its position so as not to lose the flowers, and after it has flowered, do not cut the flower stalk as it may bloom again.

#11 Haworthias

Haworthias are true beauties among succulents and are the crown jewels in any composition they are used for. Most varieties resemble aloe vera (they are a cat-safe substitute for aloe vera), but this species also includes some unusual semi-transparent varieties. All haworthia varieties are cat-friendly indoor houseplants for beginners (according to the ASPCA).

Haworthia “Spider White”

Haworthia “Spider White” has fleshy, silvery green leaves covered with white stripes that resemble a spider web pattern. It is this pattern that gives this succulent its unique character. In summer, the havorsia produces a thin stalk on which small white flowers appear.

Latin name: Haworthiopsis limifolia.

Level of difficulty: Easy.

Sun: Diffused.

Watering: 1x 2 weeks.

Sprinkling: Do not spray.

Features: Decorative leaves.

Shop: https://apollofluffycat.com/haworthia-spider-white-zielony-parapet

Care tips: Water sparingly, letting the soil dry between waterings. This plant likes the sun, but is easily burned, so it feels best in a location with diffused light.

Haworthia “Trunctata”

Haworthia “Trunctata” is an unusual semi-transparent variety of Haworthia. The leaves are aquamarine green with translucent tips that let more light into the plant. A rosette made of leaves resembles a handful of green jellies, a bunch of grapes or a collection of green water bubbles. “Trunctata” also blooms, with small white-green flowers growing on a tall, thin stem.

Latin name: Haworthiopsis obtusa.

Level of difficulty: For Beginners.

Sun: Diffused.

Watering: 1x 2 weeks.

Sprinkling: Do not spray.

Features: Decorative leaves.

Shop: https://apollofluffycat.com/haworthia-obtusa-zielony-parapet

Care tips: Water sparingly, letting the soil dry between waterings. This plant likes the sun, but is easily burned, so it feels best in a location with diffused light.

Haworthia “Alba”

Haworthia “Alba” is my first specimen of haworthia. It has dark, sharp leaves adorned with thick white stripes, resembles the haworthia “Big Band”, but has a much greater advantage of white. Some call it the albino haworthia.

Latin name: Haworthiopsis fasciata.

Level of difficulty: Easy.

Sun: Diffused.

Watering: 1x 2 weeks.

Sprinkling: Do not spray.

Features: Decorative leaves.

Shop: https://apollofluffycat.com/haworsja-alba-zielony-parapet

Care tips: Water sparingly, letting the soil dry between waterings. This plant likes the sun, but is easily burned, so it feels best in a location with diffused light.

Haworthia “Variegata”

Haworthia “Variegata” is a rare, collectible variety with narrow and sharp leaves distinguished by an amazing color. The leaves are decorated with convex stripes and color from dark green to a strongly contrasting cream-yellow color. In summer, the haworthia produces a thin stalk on which white tubular flowers appear.

Latin name: Haworthiopsis limifolia.

Level of difficulty: Easy.

Sun: Diffused.

Watering: 1x 2 weeks.

Sprinkling: Do not spray.

Features: Decorative leaves.

Shop: https://apollofluffycat.com/haworthia-variegata-zielony-parapet

Care tips: Water sparingly, letting the soil dry between waterings. This plant likes the sun, but is easily burned, so it feels best in a location with diffused light.

#12 Maranta “Kerchoveana”

Maranta “Kerchoveana” is a beautiful plant with velvety, light green leaves decorated with dark spots in an attractive pattern. In summer, white, small flowers appear on the shoots. Marantas are known for their leaf nyctinism: during the day the leaves are arranged horizontally, and in the evening they rise upwards. Thanks to this, it owes its common name – Prayer Plant. It is so interesting that it is worth paying a little more attention.

Latin name: Maranta leuconeura.

Level of difficulty: Moderate.

Sun: Penumbra

Watering: 1 s week.

Sprinkling: Sprinkle with water regularly.

Features: Decorative leaves.

Shop: https://apollofluffycat.com/maranta-kerchoveana-zielony-parapet

Care tips: Water only when the topsoil is dry. The soil in the pot should be kept moist, but not wet. It requires high air humidity, which can be provided by daily sprinkling, placing an air humidifier nearby, or placing the pot on pebbles in a water stand. Arrowroot also requires daily sprinkling of the leaves with water. If the air in the apartment is too dry, the tips of the leaves begin to dry out and curl up. Too much sunlight causes burns to the leaves, so it’s best to place them in a bright place with diffused light or in partial shade.

#BONUS

Orchids are cat-safe houseplants, which are my answer to Instagram tulips (the ones I wrote about at the beginning of this article). I decided to add them to the list as a bonus, because they are cat-friendly indoor houseplants for beginners, but they only look beautiful during the flowering period – when they fade, they look much less attractive than the other plants on this list. My favorite orchids are the moth orchids with moth-shaped flowers.

Latin name: Phalaenopsis Blume.

Level of difficulty: Easy.

Sun: Diffused.

Watering: 1 x week.

Sprinkling: Do not spray.

Features: Flowers.

Care tips:Once a week, put the orchid pot in water for several minutes (you can pour water into the casing), and then pour out the excess. It is important that the plant does not stand in the water as its roots will rot. During the flowering period, you can reduce the frequency of watering (once every two weeks).

How to cat-proof your plants

Digging in the soil, nibbling leaves, knocking plants over, even pooping in the soil…. This is the reality of many cat parents. I am going to share with you my tips on how to handle all of this 😉

Chewing plants

If the cat eats too much of any plants, it can become ill. Even cat-safe houseplants are not suitable for eating. Why do cats nibble on houseplants? Cats eat green plants to get rid of fluff balls that were swallowed during the cat’s grooming, which remains in the digestive tract.

How to prevent nibbling on plants?

If you provide your cat with access to cat grass, you can save the houseplants from damage, but also protect the cat’s health. You can learn more about cat grass and DIY a cat garden in the article Grow your own herbs and grass for cats.

6 simple tricks for arranging and cat-proofing plants

To protect potted plants from cats, watch your cat’s behavior to find out where she likes to be and where she has paths. This will allow you to understand your cat’s needs and properly engage the space. The most universal and effective tricks for protecting houseplants:

  • Avoid placing plants in places where the cat likes to lie down, so as not to block its access to its favorite space.
  • Hanging flowerbeds suspended high above the ground are the perfect solution to take the cat’s access to the pot and plant.
  • An external window sill or balcony can be a great place to arrange plants and herbs in the summer season.
  • Concrete pots are much heavier to tip over than those made of plastic or ceramics.
  • A mini greenhouse or a “forest in a jar” will allow the cat to observe the plants up close without damaging the plants.
  • Secure the ground with large pebbles or mesh so that the cat does not dig into the ground.
  • Dangle plants can be hung in hanging flowerbeds or attached to supports and ladders so as not to tempt the cat

A large selection of cat-safe plants

I wanted you not to have to go out and look in the shops. That’s why all the cat-friendly indoor houseplants for beginners that I have presented in this article can be found in the Zielony Parapet online store, which has a very large selection of plants, many of them exotic unique items. So you can buy them all without leaving your home 😉

Unboxing

Are you curious about ordering plants online, is everything well secured and what is in the package? Soon, on my Youtube channel there will be an unboxing of a package with cat-friendly indoor houseplants for beginners from the Zielony Parapet store, where I will show exactly how the plants are packed in a fantastic way so that they survive the journey in the best conditions regardless of temperature and weather. If you subscribe to my Apollo Fluffy Cat channel and click the bell, you will receive a notification when the movie with plants is published!

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What do You think?

I would love to see your thought, suggestions and questions in the comments below!

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Join my community of mindful cat parents 🐾

Don’t forget to follow Apollo Fluffy Cat on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
For you, it is less than a minute, and for me it is a sign that what I am doing makes sense ❤️

Part of the cat-friendly indoor houseplants for beginners presented in the article was received as part of cooperation with the store Zielony Parapet.

Joanna z Apollo Fluffy Cat

I am Joanna and together with my cat Apollo, I create the Apollo Fluffy Cat blog, where I share my experiences and knowledge about cats and ecology so that you can learn how to become a better and more mindful cat parent! You can found more about me, Apollo and our blog's mission on the "About Us" page.

4 thoughts on “Cat-friendly indoor houseplants for beginners

  1. You’re right! Monstera is toxic to cats. One of my kittens chew on it and had diarrhea and dehydration. We managed to take him to the vet. I don’t even want to think what would happen if we hadn’t made it. Thank you for sharing your knowledge about cat care and all your product reviews. This blog is amazing and you are an angel!

    1. I am glad that you managed to react quickly. Hopefully my post will help other cat parents to get rid of or at least fence off dangerous plants before tragedy happens. I share my knowledge because I want all cat parents to be more concious of the cat’s needs so that they and their cats can live happily together.

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