Pet-Safe Greenery
Birds & Blooms|December 2021/January 2022
Eye-catching houseplants that won't harm curious dogs or cats.
By Kaitlin Stainbrook. Photographs Claudia Totis, Houseplants, Getty Images, Vision BV, Ball Horticultural Company

1 African violet


African violets are a bit fussy, but some simple tips make their care easier. They don't like getting their leaves wet, so water them from underneath by filling the saucer with linch of water and setting the pot on top for up to 30 minutes or until the soil is moist. Another trick: Keep your African violets in bright but indirect light. An east-facing window is perfect.

Why we love it: The purple of the flowers adds a color pop to any room.

2 Sweetheart hoya


The charming heart-shaped leaves are where sweetheart hoya gets its adorable name. Typically grown in a hanging basket, sweetheart hoya can be trained to climb a trellis, too. It does well in direct or indirect light and can go two or three weeks between waterings.

Why we love it: An individual leaf cutting from sweetheart hoya can be planted upright in a small pot and will grow for a few years, making it a good Valentine's Day gift.

3 Cast iron plant


As its name implies, the cast iron plant is tough. It tolerates a wider range of humidity, light conditions, temperatures and watering frequency than most houseplants. Wipe the big leaves free of dust with a damp cloth.

Why we love it: Cultivars such as Milky Way and Variegata feature white speckles or stripes, adding fun details to an already striking plant.


Before bringing a new plant home, see if it's toxic to any furry friends in the house. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals website,, offers comprehensive info. Just search for the name of the plant.

4 Watermelon peperomia


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