House plants not only dress up your home, adding a little outside in, they also help to purify the air – which is great for the whole family, 2 and 4-legged. The thing is, while some might look beautiful, not all of those beauties are pet safe house plants. In fact, many of them can be harmful to our furry friends.

So, is there a way to get the beauty without the risk? Of course. There are plenty of pet safe house plants that you don’t have to worry about keeping with animals in the house.

And – we mentioned NASA in the title. Well, a few years ago, NASA did a clean air study looking at the best air purifying plants out there. We’ll be sure to note the ones NASA approved!

Pet Safe House Plants

Pick 1, pick 5 – pick them all! We could all use a little more nature inside!

1. Boston Fern – This lush, leafy green is perfect for any room. Ferns like indirect light, evenly moist soil, and high humidity. Just remember – not all ferns are safe. Other ferns, like the maidenhead fern, are ok, but imposters like the asparagus fern (actually part of the lily family) are no good! NASA APPROVED

2. African Violet – With its purple and pink hues, the African violet is beautiful with the added bonus of being low maintenance! It thrives without bright light and some moist soil.

3. Baby Rubber Plant – Shiny and compact, the a baby rubber plant is a great pet-friendly option. It thrives in indirect sunlight and needs only minimal watering. Note: Just be careful – some rubber tree plants (such as Japanese/Chinese/jade rubber plant and Indian rubber plant) are toxic to cats and dogs. NASA APPROVED

4. Prayer Plant – This striped leafy green is perfect for small spaces like bookshelves and end tables. Its red, cream, and green leaves curl up at night, giving it its name. It’s also really easy to take care of, growing best in medium or low light, and you can even let the soil dry out a bit between waterings.

5. Areca Palm – This is NASA’s top pick for air purification. Not only does it filter xylene and formaldehyde out of the air, it also acts as a really powerful natural humidifier. Take good care of these plants; water them regularly and repot every few years to give them fresh soil. Keep in mind, these plants can grow quite large, so you probably won’t be able to keep them on a table or countertop for very long. NASA APPROVED

6. Parlour Palm – Want to add something with a bit of height? The parlous palm is low-maintenance (Yay!) – it grows best in bright, indirect light, but also tolerates low light. It can get as tall as 8 feet, but 4 feet is more the norm. NASA APPROVED

pet safe house plants

7. Spider Plant – Don’t let the name scare you; these lush green plants are lovely to look at. And as far as air purification, they pack a powerful punch against formaldehyde and xylene. They’re well known as easy-to-care-for plants. They need a little water, some indirect sunlight, and some well-drained soil. NASA APPROVED

8. Cast Iron Plant – All known as the barrow plant, this hardy and nice to look at. It doesn’t mind low light, humidity, irregular watering, and even fluctuations in temperature.

9. Haworthia – This one looks sort of like an aloe vera plant, but without the risks that may come with aloe. Plus, it’s a succulent, so it’s relatively easy to maintain. And its small size makes it the perfect countertop addition.

10. Gerber Daisy – If you’re looking to add a little color, the daisy is an easy flower to go with. It needs some sunlight, moderate temps, and moist soil, and the flowers will bloom for up to 6 weeks. NASA APPROVED

11. Friendship Plant – Named because it’s easy to split and share, the friendship plant tolerates medium and low light, loves humidity, and usually doesn’t grow taller than 12 inches. If you’re a fan of terrariums, this is a good go-to.

12. Money Tree – A common housewarming gift, this plant is said to bring luck and fortune to the owner. But it also brings powerful air purifying qualities. Keep this little tree to clear out benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.

House Plants to Avoid

If there are pet safe house plants, that has to mean there are ones that are not safe, right?

Unfortunately, not all plants we’d like to bring inside are great for our animals. These are some of the most common house plants that can be toxic to our pets:

  • Lilies – including the peace lily, calla lily, Easter lily and tiger lily, are highly toxic and potentially fatal to cats. Some types are also toxic to dogs. These bad boys are seriously bad: vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, stomach pain, depression, difficulty swallowing, kidney damage, kidney failure, and multiple organ failure are all possible results.
  • Ivy – inside or out, many popular ivy plants, including English ivy and Devil’s ivy/Golden Pothos, have moderate toxicity to pets. With ivy, watch out for mouth and stomach irritation, excessive drooling or foaming at the mouth, swelling of the mouth, tongue and lips, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Philodendrons – these popular houseplants may look great, but they can be toxic, causing oral irritation, pain and swelling of the mouth, vomiting, or even difficulty swallowing.
  • Elephant Ear – recognizable by its large, broad leaves, this plant’s harmful toxins can result in burning/swelling of the mouth and tongue as well as difficulty in swallowing, vomiting, and increased drooling. In some cases it can cause breathing difficulties and even death.

Stick to the approved list, and to be extra safe, try to keep pets away from house plants, even if they’re considered safe.