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Our Favorite Houseplants That Won't Kill Your Pets (Or Your Vibe)

Is it so much to ask for a sexually charged palm frond that won’t kill our hairless cat?
March 30, 2021, 7:37pm
plant white cat table cactus
Composite by VICE Staff

No one deserves a life devoid of garnish, or flair. We firmly believe that for our windowsills, our plates, and our pets, although sometimes, those things can be mutually exclusive. If you're a Plant Freak—which we simultaneously identify as, respect, and encourage—you probably already know that there are a lot of houseplants that are, uh, kind of poisonous or very poisonous to our small, furry sons, daughters, and nonbinary animal-children, regardless of how good they look in The Feed. This is why we’re always on the hunt for the most aesthetically pleasing plants that won’t kill our cats, dogs, or bunny rabbits, if that's your thing. 

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Now, we’re no veterinarian, and we don’t know your Jack Russell (though, we’d like to), and the intimate happenings of his stomach. Nor do we know the vibe situation in your apartment, but it’s almost certainly in need of another smattering of plant bebes for the fourth (and hopefully final) quarter of quarantine. We want something with color and texture for our eyeballs, but worry about the undiscriminating taste buds of our four-legged roommates.l Plants, after all, are what drugs, both good and bad, are made of; just think about the reality of catnip (or just want it for ourselves) after watching this mini-doc:

But we also have our AeStHeTiC concerns beyond just getting our cat high. As a general rule of thumb, I like to think of my cat’s tolerance for flavor as akin to that of my Polish, bratwurst -and-sour-cream-grown Midwestern mother: open to most things unless they're "too spicy." Unfortunately, for many cats, that can mean gnawing on a peace lily and then having to be rushed to the feline ER. (All of the plants below are non-toxic, but if you have any questions, please consult a proper pet doctor; this is not VICE Vets). 

They might not make your dog puke, but we still can't recommend using these plants as gourmet garnishes  a la this video:

So without further ado, please enjoy our smattering of sexy plants that won’t kill you and your Rottweiler unless you choke on them. 


Schlumbergera

Christmas Cactus

Photo: Succulents Box

The first step is perhaps renaming your cat/dog/poltergeist “Schlumberg.” Then, you buy its namesake succulent (otherwise known as Christmas cactus/Thanksgiving cactus/crab cactus??) and then have a drum circle with plant and pet while instrumental Baja Men bangers play. Happy Schlumberging.

Christmas Cactus, $8.85 at Succulents Box

The centerpiece plant

Bamboo Palm

Photo: Bloomscape

Big Main Character Energy from this one. Bamboo palms are hearty but delicate; and fill up space without feeling stocky. 

Bamboo Palm, $195 at Bloomscape

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Like a green juice garden for you & your pets

Bloomscape Savory Herbs

Again, we’re not Dr. Doolittle, but it's pretty cool that there are many herbs both you and your pets can eat. Parsley is primo for vitamins C, A, and K; oregano can stave off fungal infections and boost digestive health; and basil will make them feel like they’re under the Tuscan sun. We always advise checking in with your vet before taste testing with the dog, but this three-pack is both *chef’s kiss* and safely edible,  for all the most important species. 

Savory Herbs Collection, $65 at Bloomscape

Garnish everything

Microgreens.jpg

Photo: Uncommon Goods

Yes, most microgreens are also green-lit for cats, dogs, and people to munch upon. “While their nutrient contents vary slightly,” according to this article, “most varieties tend to be rich in potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and copper.” Plus they add a little zhouzh to both your window-sill plants, and toast-egg-combo meals. This kit comes with cat and dog-friendly arugula, radish (kind of spicy on cat tums, be warned), beets, and komatsuna. 

Ceramic Microgreens Grower, $60 at Uncommon Goods

Bananarama 

Banana Plant

Photo: Etsy

Ah yes, those thick, elegant leaves with which someone should be fanning you and your Greyhound/Russian Blue/goldfish. Something about banana leaves always feels luxurious, yet minimalistic. 

Banana plant, $18.95 at Etsy

The come hither diva

Orchid.jpg

Photo: Urban Stems

Orchids just make us feel like we have more juicy secrets than we actually do. This one looks like it should star in a movie and kill its husband in a silk robe, all in the same day. It’s surprising but delightful to us that they’re non-toxic to people, cats, and dogs. 

The Miranda Orchid, $60 at Urban Stems

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Beantown Fern 

Beantown Fern.jpg

Photo: Plants.com

The volume, the texture, the drama—there’s a reason this was one of the most beloved-socialite salon plants. The Boston fern in the beehive of houseplants; the powdered, Marie Antoinette wig of danglers. 

Small Boston Fern Hanging Plant, $44.99 at Plants.com

Add some greenery to your cat’s dining zone

Cat Grass

Photo: Bloomscape

There’s nothing more weh than seeing a forlorn, plastic-planter oat grass dying in a corner. Simply give your cat grass (if you’re new here, it’s grass—for cats!) a center-stage treatment in a ceramic planter in the shape of a turtle

Cat Grass, $35 at Bloomscape

Peperomia prima di tutti 

Red Prayer Plant

Photo: Bloomscape

The patterns of some peperomia (sometimes called prayer plants) have more visual flair on their leaves than your average pothos or philodendron, and unlike the latter two climbers, they won’t harm your cats ‘n dogs should they fancy a nibble.  

Red Prayer Plant, $35 at Bloomscape

This one is actually nicknamed “Cat Whiskers” 

spiderplant.jpg

Photo: Plants.com

Therefore, you must purchase it to flank your cat’s mid-century modern-inspired litter box cabinet. It also goes by the more common moniker of spider plant, and is super easy to care for. 

Small Spider Plant, $44.99 at Plants.com


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