7 Unique Non-Toxic Houseplants

7 Unique Non-Toxic Houseplants If you’ve been reading A Beautiful Mess for awhile, you know that we LOVE our posts about houseplants. We love shopping for them, we love arranging them, and we love living with plants! After my husband and I bought our new house, I immediately began mentally decorating our daughter’s room when it hit me: Um, what if our plants are poisonous? It turns out that many of them were (I’m looking at you, beloved fiddle-leaf figs) and that a lot of the non-toxic ones just looked kind of boring. So I started doing a little research on interesting-looking house plants that are non-toxic to children, cats, and dogs, and I thought I’d share my favorite seven non-toxic houseplants with you guys today.

7 Unique Non-Toxic Houseplants 1. Baby Rubber Plant (also called peperomia)

I love this plant for its thick, waxy leaves! It’s technically a succulent but it looks a little different from most succulents. The baby rubber plant just needs some bright, indirect sunlight, and occasional watering, and it’s good to go!

7 Unique Non-Toxic Houseplants 2. Donkey’s Tail (also called burro’s tail)

I was so glad to find at least one typical succulent on the non-toxic lists. These are great, as they require little water, and they’re pretty forgiving if you forget to water them! They do need more sunlight, though, so they’re best by a window.

7 Unique Non-Toxic Houseplants 3. Boston Fern

There are MANY varieties of ferns: some are highly toxic (some are even carcinogenic), and a few are not, such as the Boston fern. Be sure you check the labels, and don’t go just by appearance, as they all look incredibly similar! Boston ferns need lots of watering but don’t do very well in direct sunlight, so they make great houseplants if you can remember to keep them watered.

7 Unique Non-Toxic Houseplants 4. Fittonia (also called nerve plant or mosaic plant)

These require conditions much like our boston fern—indirect sunlight and a lot of water!

7 Unique Non-Toxic Houseplants 5. Spider Plant (also called airplane plant)

The spider plant needs moderate light, but the good news with this one is that it needs to dry out between waterings! Forgetful people of the world, rejoice with me.

7 Unique Non-Toxic Houseplants 6. Hoya (this variety is also called Hindu rope, Krinkle Kurl, or wax plant)

I love how weird this plant looks. It grows the best in bright, indirect light, and you don’t have to water it very much at all.

7 Unique Non-Toxic Houseplants 7. Prayer Plant (also called rabbit’s tracks)

This one is my absolute favorite. It’s low maintenance, and I can’t stop looking at it—it looks so interesting! It likes a lower-light environment, and you have to keep its soil moist (but not too soggy), but it’s really a beautiful thing to have around.

7 Unique Non-Toxic HouseplantsIf you aren’t sure what some of your houseplants are and you’d like to check on them, take some photos of them on your phone and visit your local nursery! They’ll be able to help and answer questions about your plants. I think it’s really important to at least know the names of your plants if you’re worried about your kids or your pets munching on them on the sly, right?

There are plenty more non-toxic plants out there if you are interested! I’m definitely not an expert on plant toxicity, so please do the research if you are concerned. Here is a good resource for what plants are toxic and non-toxic for children, and here is a list for dogs and cats (and horses, if you happen to have a horse that lives in your house). And of course, let’s just try and avoid eating houseplants in the first place. 😉 Let me know if you have any tips as well! xo. Sarah


Credits // Author and Photography: Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with Lula (B&W) from the Signature Collection (with the “monochromes” layer turned off).

  • I worked in horticulture for several years and I can tell you with confidence that rubber plants are extremely toxic. They are called rubber plants because they produce a latex sap that leaks with any puncture or tear. Latex is the toxin found in the famous Christmas time poinsettias, which all pet owners should know is absolutely dangerous to anybody or any pet ingesting or just coming in contact with the latex. It saddens me that this article has been up for six years and this has not once been addressed or edited. How many people have seen this article and believed all of it ? I was only here to confirm my knowledge that a prayer plant is non toxic to rabbits should they get a small nibble. Thank you for your time and I urge you to please make changes to your article. I’m not trying to spam you, I’m trying to make sure this doesn’t continue to provide misinformation to the public.

    • Hi there
      I think in this case the common name is misleading
      Because when I looked up the Latin name, it is listed as non-toxic.

    • This list contains a type of peperomia with the name Baby Rubber Plant. This is not the same as the Rubber Plants which you are referring to and correctly state are toxic. Peperomias, however, are not toxic though and come in an astounding variety of foliage types with the most unusual flowers. Definitely worth exploring if you are a plant lover with beloved pets.

  • Really glad you wrote this article. After having a Prayer Plant on my coffee table for 6 months, today is the day my golden retriever decided to eat it! Phewwww.

  • I like the baby rubber plant, but looking it up I found it listed as poisonous. ?! I went to my nursery and got a prayer plant, marantha is the scientific name. It’s gorgeous!

    • I think you may have misread the link you posted because it says non-toxic at the bottom.

  • So I have a bunny rabbit that runs loose in my small apartment… Other than the Spider Plant. What good looking plants are there? Plus low lighting. . . Its a nightmare. And I love plants.

  • Loving those swan planters (that’s my maiden name). My cat ate my spider plant until there was nothing left but the stem. She acted like it was catnip!!

  • I have a Rubber Tree Plant in my home. Is it only the Baby one that is non toxic or are they the same thing?

  • When my husband was a baby his mom caught him eating the philodendron in their living room:/

  • Great idea for a post – it’d be so awful if a small child ingested bits of house plant! I especially love the burro’s tail succulent – so pretty, especially in that sweet swan pot. And succulents are hard to kill, so the burro’s tail is a double win 🙂

    Tamsin xx | A Certain Adventure

  • Seriously reading my mind- I’ve been on the Home Depot/should I just buy a fake- HUNT for weeks. I gotta special kitty cat that needs some greenery around that won’t hurt him. Thank you!

  • Love all these plants! Have a question – do you know if any of these plants are air-purifying? If not, can you recommend any? We are looking for a plant for our apt that is air purifying and does need a lot of light…watering is less important. Thanks!

  • Hah! I doubt any of these plants taste that good! 😉 But yes, you can eat all of these without any level of poisoning if you really wanted to. -Sarah

  • I usually put a layer of pebbles at the bottom of my planters to help separate the soil and roots from the moisture a little bit, and I think that helps. I also buy moisture control potting soil that helps it from drying out AND helps it from staying too wet. Hope that helps! -Sarah

  • Thank you. I’d never thought of this either. My big brother is special needs, schizophrenic, and my mom takes care of him. he’s really into plants, but sometimes he just gets stuff into his head that he only eats everything from the garden (but anything, like leaves, which can be poisonous) or “cleansing” himself by eating random greenery or something like that. He really thinks the earth could never hurt him and doesn’t believe us sometimes, and a lot of his delusions involve eating or not eating things. My mom likes house plants, I never thought he might eat some but I am going to pass this along, i’m so grateful for it!

  • I love you post and plants too. Thanks for sharing!

  • Somehow, it never donned on me that houseplants would be poisonous so thanks so much for this!! On that note, I’m officially in love with the prayer plant and must get one. Also, had Fittonia a few months ago and basically just killed it, so also working on my plant skills haha

    xx Sarah | Loser Girl Wins

  • Hey ladies! Many of these plants appear to be in (very cute, but still) containers that probably don’t have holes on the bottom. I’ve never found that my houseplants thrive without drainage. Do yours?

  • lovely! the prayer plant is perfect for my dark little cottage! and for my toddler who wants to water the plants several times a day lol!

  • So are these non-toxic enough to put around the rim of a glass, then?

  • Thanks Sarah, such a gorgeous post. I absolutely love the prayer plant, I love the purple!! Did you know at night, the leaves stand up, like they’re praying? So lush! :)x

  • I have an extremely large Hoya that loves direct sun and flowers like mad once a year. The flowers are super pretty. Star shaped and fuzzy! But the thing I like the best about it is the tendrils. They seem like hands sometimes because she’ll reach out and touch a dresser (for example) in the morning, and, in the afternoon, she’ll have moved on to touch something else around her. Always feeling things out!

  • I love the texture and the pattern of the leaves! The Donkey’s Tail plant is adorable. I want one!

  • I do love houseplants but can we please address the fruit fly problem? I can’t stand those lil buggers and I could use any and all tips for preventing them!

  • I think this is the best post I have seen on ABM for a while. Well thought out, original and interesting. Lovely photos too. Thanks!

  • One of the sad things about moving often is that I can’t really invest in adding plants to my places, as I don’t know if I’ll be able to move with them.

    But I’m definitely bookmarking this for later !
    I love the Baby Rubber Plant !

  • It had never occurred to me which plants could be poisonous until I began my mini indoor garden and my curious kitties wanted to be a part. Luckily the ASPCA has a super long list of all the plants dangerous to cats and dogs, as well as other pets. These ones are especially beautiful! (Particularly the rabbits’ track)

  • I loved this post! I always worry about buying plants for the house as we’ve got a curious cat.
    I was wondering if you guys could do a post about keeping plants in an office environment? Maybe focusing on plants that are tough, and can survive in an air-conditioned environment. It would be greatly appreciated!

  • These are a beautiful way to add some color and green to a house! Thanks for sharing xoxo


  • I have a house full of poor and indirect light. Gotta get some more boston ferns.. I love ferns and keep forgetting about them!

  • I was just trying to research this the other day, so this post has perfect timing! Hopefully I can find something that will do well in my low-light below ground apartment.

  • I didn’t know some plants could be poisonous, so thanks so much for being infomative! I’m definitely bookmarking this post! 🙂


  • Love love the swan planters, that’s my maiden name so I’m partial!

  • These are all beautiful and your photographs are amazing!

    Lauren | http://www.livelovelauren.com

  • My Mom had a Hoya that lived for about fifteen years. It makes sense that it’s also called a rope plant, because it had thick rope-like tentrils that grew SO long they had to be draped over and around the pot. I think some of the ropes must have been 5 or 6 feet long! It was absolutely gorgeous.

  • Thank you so much for this post! I have come to really love lush, green plants for indoor and outdoor decorating. 🙂

  • I’d start with the Donkey’s Tail! Someone above mentioned that it was incredibly hard to kill theirs. Hah! 🙂 -Sarah

  • Hi Kristen! You can do a little more research on all your plants’ toxicity levels and their effects in those links I posted above. They’re so helpful! Each plant definitely has its own effects on humans and animals so you kind of have to look them up individually. Hope that helps! -Sarah

  • Thanks so much for sharing this! I’m always on the lookout for non-toxic plants and flowers that are ok for my cat to be around (he’s curious and does a lot of sniffing and biting). I will definitely add these to my shopping list next time I hit up the nursery! <3 Jenna / circusofcakes.com

  • Definitely going to pick up a house plant or two for my new place. Hopefully something that won’t die too easily…


  • Beautiful plants. I have many of these in my home already. It’s a lovely way to bring nature into your home 🙂


    Laurali Star


  • We just moved into a new house this winter so we had no idea what would sprout out of the ground come spring. Apparently the previous owners were not dog owners. We had to rip up almost all of the plants in the yard because they were poisonous to dogs. Had to run our sweet pup to the animal hospital and learn the hard way! So good to do your research! This is a great post!

  • I had NO IDEA that house plants could be toxic. Oh my word. More info/descriptions about that would be most appreciated! And thanks for this fine list!

  • Hoya looks so cool! I love how oddly it grows. The plants that looks the weirdest are always my favourite.

  • I love this post so much! I’m a big fan of house plants as well, but I have two mischievous kitties that sometimes like to munch on them! My grandma is a plant expert and so she’s given me names of plants that aren’t poisonous, but it’s great to have an even larger variety of cool-looking ones! Also, on a side note, spider plants do WONDERFULLY in bathrooms! They delight in the steamy showers and grow soooo big and will even grow little babies that hang off of them!


  • OMG..never thought about toxic plants while buying one before…great info, thanks for sharing..!


  • I read this headline and said “What kind of house plants are TOXIC?” I had NO idea. So thanks for sharing, before I poisoned my dog!

    I’m with you on the boring factor – I was trying to find some “low light” plants for my office once and gave up because I’d rather stare at a blank wall than an ugly plant.

    OK, sorry for the longest comment ever but I LOVE dracena plants, too. They look like a plant Dr. Seuss would invent.

  • These are all so lovely. It’s nice learning plant names. I’m keen on plants but feel like such a newbie with names.

  • Love the post! My fiance and I are in the midst of building shelves for our living room. I’ve been curating a list of pots I want to get to decorate, but hadn’t even considered the plants yet. Thank you!

  • I’m always looking to add new plants to my house, and these look like great options! Definitely need to spruce up the place with some more greenery that’s good for the air AND pretty to look at!

    Cheers to a great Monday!

  • SUCH a lovely post, I seriously can’t get enough of houseplants, I just did a post on how to make birch bark planters, definitely going to fill mine with these lovely non toxics.


  • i love this! i’m currently starting my apartment decorating journey and need tons of plant ideas!!



  • These are beautiful! I need to really work on turning my thumb into a green one; I always wind up killing plants but they’re so pretty! I didn’t realize how many of them were toxic.

  • Perfect timing! When my daughters were small one of them tasted so many plants the folks at the poison control center sent us our own plant list to keep by the phone! Now my granddaughter is just starting to walk, so your link is definitely heading her way.

  • I just bought a spider plant a couple weeks ago for my porch. They are so pretty! I’m not the best at remembering to water so it’s the perfect plant for me. Great info Sarah!

  • Thank you so much for sharing these! I am a burgeoning plant lover, but I have two cats, and I found myself having to get rid of a lot of plants.

  • Great plants! I love plants and have lots of pots filled with them. Most of mine are outside, but protected from most of the weather. I really like visiting a garden center and stocking up.

  • What an amazingly helpful post! I’ve researched a little bit in this area, but my focus has mostly been on outdoor plants/pet safety. And just as I’m just getting ready to shift my focus indoors, this gorgeously photographed post appears. Thank you for curating such an interesting collection!

  • What a great post! I was just thinking about non-toxic plants recently because my cat gets into EVERYTHING! This is perfect! Thanks!

  • I think I read somewhere that most cacti are non-toxic, but I’d double check on that! If you know exactly what each cactus is called, you can look them up on the ASPCA site (linked above). -Sarah

  • thanks for this! I have philodendrons all over my house all from 1 plant I got in college. I wanted to give my friend a few starts from trimmings, but quickly realized they are toxic to cats!

    i’m really loving that hoya plant though, i don’t think I’ve seen one in ANYONE’S house before! it would be so unique to have… and safe to boot 😉


  • All of the swans are thrifted! The concrete ones I grabbed at Target recently. 🙂 -Sarah

  • Good to know! I love ferns – it’s a little heart breaking that so many of them are toxic. Thanks for the tip! -Sarah

  • My husband and I literally just decided we needed house plants, but felt a bit discouraged by all the poisonous ones out there! Thank you for this list! I’ll be heading out in a little bit to pick some up 🙂 Do you by chance know if the little cactus’s tend to be harmful? THANKS!

  • Woah – i’d seriously never even considered my plants could poison my cats! Gonna check online now! Good (life-saving)tip Sarah!

  • I really enjoyed this post, but could you provide the sources for some of those planters? I love the swans and the concrete pots, where can I find them?


  • I love these! Especially the Donkey’s Tail. However… that one seemed to draw our cat to it like I’ve never seen before. As a result? A tall stalk with no leaves and a bunch of pieces of it scattered in every corner of our living room after she was bored with them. Sigh, one day we’ll have it again. It’s definitely almost impossible to kill otherwise! We had one out of soil and unwatered for about 2 weeks: survived. Had one in soil but unwatered and stuck in a dark room: survived for over 2-3 months!
    Need to add the rest of these to my list of ones to try.

    • If you have a place to hang it, they do look really cool hanging. That might help to keep your cat out of it.

  • I would never have even thought about house plants being poisonous! These are still so pretty and perfect to bring life to your indoor space!

    xo, k

  • I just bookmarked this page…I LOVE having plants around but I also have a very curious cat and puppy. Thanks for the information!

  • Another great nontoxic plant is the rabbit foot fern. They are much heartier than other ferns. It likes light, and doesn’t have to be watered as often.

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