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Adding a touch of green indoors can do so much for homes and offices. The aesthetic appeal of indoor plants is clear, as rooms burst to life with emerald leaves and colorful blooms. Yet it’s not just about the visual charm: indoor plants have benefits beyond what they offer to the eye. It’s a great way to bring life to a space, plus there are health benefits to having plants around!
Whether you’re looking to add just one small plant or a whole botanical garden of your own, read one for some of the benefits of indoor plants, popular houseplants, and how to pick non toxic indoor plants.
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Why Indoor Plants are Beneficial
Plants are natural mood boosters, so bringing a piece of nature inside can improve psychological and emotional wellbeing. By purifying the air and absorbing sound, plants create a calm atmosphere that can reduce stress and symptoms of depression, as well as improve memory retention, concentration, and creativity.
They can improve air quality by acting as natural filters to catch dust and other allergens; so if you have allergies, plants can make a big difference – just avoid those with pollen or spores.
It’s important to note, however, that some indoor plants can be toxic to humans and animals. With their innate curiosity and penchant for exploring, children and pets are particularly vulnerable. As they explore their surroundings, they could come into contact with a plant’s leaves, flowers, roots, or soil – or even the water from the plant tray or pot. By consuming these, they could have adverse effects.
What Happens if Children or Pets Eat Toxic Indoor Plants
You may be familiar with some toxic varieties like oleanders and ivy, but there are other common houseplants that are also toxic, like peace lilies and arrowheads. The negative effects of coming into contact with these vary depending on the plant and even on the creature that makes contact. Sometimes cats and dogs will be more severely affected than humans. In some cases, a plant may be more toxic to cats than dogs. In a plant that is toxic to both humans and animals, symptoms may be the same or they can differ.
In humans, common symptoms include skin irritation, burning of the mouth and throat, nausea, and vomiting. In animals, ingestion may lead to seizures, swelling, excessive salivation, and renal failure.
It’s always a good idea to keep the number for poison control on hand just in case. The number is: (800) 222-1222.
Tips for Keeping Plants Away from Children and Pets
In severe cases, ingesting toxic plants can be fatal so it’s best to keep children and pets away from them. Here are a few tips to help you keep their fingers, paws, and tongues away from indoor plants.
- Keep plants out of reach, especially if they are vining or creeping plants. If your cat has a tendency to leap onto high shelves and windowsills, think twice about what plants you place there.
- Hang plants from baskets to help keep them out of reach.
- Keep vining and creeping plants well-trimmed.
- Keep plants in rooms that children and animals do not use or have access to.
- Place stones around the plant to keep cats away, as they prefer smoother soil. However, note that this solution may not work for dogs or children, who could accidentally ingest them.
- Choose non-toxic plants instead.
25 Non Toxic Indoor Plants
There are so many non-toxic plants to choose from and with their penchant for bright, indirect light, they’re perfect for the indoors. Many are also pretty low maintenance. Here is some green inspiration!
A flowering, winter houseplant, Christmas cactus propagates easily and is low maintenance – making it a perfect gift, especially considering its name. Keep it in bright, indirect sunlight and water it every two or three weeks.
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A popular houseplant, the Boston fern is a type of sword fern with origins in humid forests and swamps, so it likes humidity. Keep your Boston fern in a cool place with indirect light and humidity. You can mist it with a spray bottle of water to increase humidity. If there is not enough, the leaves will turn yellow.
The Boston fern, maidenhair fern, and staghorn fern are considered to be non-toxic for pets.
Another popular houseplant, African violets come in different colors and flower several times a year. Keep it in bright, indirect light in a well-drained pot. Keep the soil moist, but don’t water leaves directly, mist them instead.
Hailing from Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean, this succulent-like plant has fleshy, textured leaves. Give it loose, chunky, and acidic soil and keep it in bright, indirect light. It’s low-maintenance and does not need a lot of water. Let the soil dry out between watering, and never let it get soggy.
This plant has a multitude of fun names including angel’s tears, bits and pieces, mind-your-own-business, Paddy’s wig, and Pollyanna vine. It’s perfect for a hanging basket – just give it a wide, shallow pot that will allow the plant to spread. Keep it in bright, indirect light and water regularly, but without letting the soil get soggy. The plant will wilt if it dries out, but it recovers quickly once you water it.
The beautiful, veined leaves of the prayer plant fold in the evening, making them look like hands folded in prayer. Keep it in bright, indirect light: insufficient light will prevent the leaves from fully opening in the morning, but too much light can make the leaves’ colors fade. Watering also needs to be frequent, but don’t overdo it. Over- and underwatering can cause leaves to yellow and drop. Keep conditions humid by misting it with warm water.
A graceful and slender true palm that can grow up to six feet, the parlor palm can make a beautiful and dramatic addition to your home or office. Give it bright, indirect light and water every two to three weeks, allowing the soil to dry out in between.
Adaptable and easy to grow, a spider plant (or chlorophytum comosum) is great for beginner growers and, with their arching leaves, a graceful addition to any home. It is also highly regarded for its air-purifying qualities. Keep it in bright, indirect light and water about once a week, allowing soil to dry out between watering. As the plant matures, it may produce white flowers and offsets called spiderettes that can be replanted
Being incredibly responsive to touch, temperature, and movement gives this plant its name. Fast-growing with fern-like leaves and purple flowers, sensitive plants start growing up but eventually creep. Keep it in sunlight – even full sunlight is fine – and well-drained soil. If you see leaves closing, it means the plant is not getting enough light.
Native to South Africa, Haworthia – also known as African pearls – is a pretty, little succulent with polka-dotted leaves. Keep it in bright, indirect light in a well-drained pot and allow the soil to dry between watering, especially as the plant is sensitive to overwatering.
A pretty and elegant orchid that comes in a variety of colors, the Plalaenopsis, or moth orchid, blooms about once a year. Thereafter the blooms typically drop but should rebloom the following year. Often referred to as the beginner orchid, it loves humidity and bright, indirect light. Water weekly or fortnightly.
Due to its pretty patterned leaves, the fittonia also goes by the names mosaic plant and painted net leaf. The leaves are its most striking, but they also flower. To maintain color and encourage growth, give it bright, indirect light. Keep the soil moist. Dry soil will cause the leaves to go limp.
Hens and Chicks
Another succulent, this plant derives its name from its tendency to produce numerous “baby” plants around it. They have a pretty rosette shape and are resilient and low maintenance. Full sunlight will encourage color and the growth of the baby plants or “chicks”. They are also drought-tolerant, requiring little watering.
Translating to “donkey’s tail”, this is another great drought-resistant succulent. It makes a great hanging plant and can produce pink flowers. Give it full sunlight and avoid overwatering.
Another tall, dramatic palm, this one has slender trunks reminiscent of bamboo. They like bright, indirect light and moist soil. Water it a few times a week and make sure the pot is well-drained and has enough space to give the palm room to grow.
Money may not grow on trees, but this plant is known as a symbol of good fortune. Its most striking feature is its braided trunk, a feature developed by cultivators and not its natural setting of Central and South American swamps. The money tree enjoys bright light, indirect light and high humidity. Water it well but not too frequently and don’t allow it to stand in water.
Kimberly Queen Fern
A relative to the Boston fern, the Kimberly queen’s fronds are slightly narrower and more erect. Known for its excellent air-purifying qualities, this fern likes bright, indirect light. Water it when the top layer of soil has dried. Pale green fronds mean they need more water, while crispy, brown fronds are an indication of overwatering.
Another rosette-shaped succulent that sprouts “babies”, this plant produces white flowers dotted with red and has fleshy leaves with red tips. It loves full, direct light and regular watering in summer, less in winter.
Slow-growing and low maintenance this pretty and petite succulent is splashed with white dots. It likes low light and does not require a lot of watering.
With its fleshy green leaves covered with white bumps, this aloe resembles Haworthia. Also known as lace aloe, it is a hardy little plant that likes full sun and does not need a lot of watering. However, it does not like extreme cold. It is one of the most chosen pet-friendly plants.
Grown from seeds, this grass mixture has cat in the name for a reason: cats like to snack on it. Using oat, barley, rye, or wheatgrass seeds, you can sow them in a container. Give the grass direct light and do not overwater, as this can lead to mold.
While the pineapple in this bromeliad is edible, the plant and its fruit also make for dramatic decoration. The plant will fruit once, with the pineapple creating offshoots that can grow into new plants. While the plant will grow more slowly if it doesn’t get enough water, it’s better than overwatering it. Give the plant full and direct light and practice patience, as the fruit can take a long time to flower, grow, and ripen.
With it cascading leaves, it’s easy to understand how this plant got its name. Great for those with jam-packed schedules or frequent travel commitments, this palm is slow-growing and low maintenance. It likes bright, indirect light, but will do fine in medium light. Water when the soil is completely dry.
The Peperomia ginny (or a baby rubber plant) has tricolored leaves and hails from South America. This tropical plant likes bright, indirect light, and moderate watering. Overwatering can lead to dropped leaves and underwatering can result in leaves curling.
Cast Iron Plant
The cast iron plant thrives in low-light conditions making it an ideal piece of greenery to keep in your home. It has a slow growth rate so expect it to stick around for awhile! It has fairly large leaves and will look great in an open living space.
Some Toxic Indoor Plants To Avoid
Picking one of the non-toxic options above is a great choice! But if you are looking at others and aren’t sure, here are a few kinds to absolutely avoid for kids and pets:
- String of Pearls
- Snake Plant
- English Ivy
- Chinese Evergreen
- Fiddleleaf Fig
- Arrowhead Vine
- Sago Palm
- Aloe Vera
As you can see, there are a plethora of non toxic indoor plants to choose from. These safe plants are get choices for house plants for kids and pets alike. They all make a great addition to your indoor ambiance too. Which of these non-toxic houseplants will you choose?