How to Protect Your Houseplants from Pets

If you have tried to grow houseplants in a household with cats, dogs, or other pets, you have probably encountered some common problems. Curious cats love to gnaw on houseplant leaves and stems, while rambunctious dogs pose the risk of overturning houseplant pots and spilling soil everywhere. In addition to these problems, some houseplants are toxic to pets, and must be protected from consumption. Learning how to protect your houseplants from pets can help keep both your pets and your plants safer and healthier.


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    Keep your houseplants out of your pets' reach. This is the simplest and most effective solution. Position as many of your plants as possible on high, inaccessible window ledges or on top of tall furniture. Hanging baskets are also a good option. In some cases, you may even be able to prevent a pet from jumping onto a previously accessible windowsill by simply crowding it with houseplants.
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    Purchase sturdy plant stands for your houseplants. If you are worried about your pets eating your houseplants, you can place the pots onto tall plant stands. These decorative stands are an attractive way to display houseplants, and they keep the leaves out of reach of your pet's mouth. Unfortunately, these stands can still be overturned by aggressive, energetic pets.
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    Coat the houseplants with a pet deterrent. Many pet stores (as well as some nurseries) sell spray products that are meant to be repulsive to cats and dogs. One such spray product is sold as "bitter apple," and can be harmlessly sprayed on your houseplants. Regular application of these types of sprays will dissuade dogs and cats from attempting to eat or overturn houseplants.
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    Grow houseplants specifically for your pets. If you can't keep your pets from damaging your own houseplants, consider growing more attractive options just for them. Catnip, mint, and cat grass (which is usually a variety of oat grass or wheat grass) are 3 plants that cats love to nibble on. Having these plants available may lead your cat to ignore your remaining houseplants.
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    Grow plants that require little soil. If your chief concern is that your pets continually overturn your houseplant pots and spill the soil, you can opt for plants that need little or no messy soil. Succulents and cacti can be grown in a mix made largely of gravel, while lucky bamboo can be grown in nothing but water.
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    Avoid growing toxic houseplants. If all else fails, you will at least want to know which houseplants are toxic to pets so that you can avoid growing them. Common houseplants that are toxic to cats and dogs include aloe, heartleaf philodendron, shamrock, and poinsettia.


  • Note that for indoor-only pets, houseplants provide a key part of their healthy environment. A cat that is allowed to occasionally nibble on houseplant leaves will lead a happier, healthier life than one that is completely denied access to greenery.

Things You'll Need

  • Houseplants
  • Plant stands
  • Pet deterrent spray

Article Info

Categories: Pet Hazards