10 Non-Toxic, Pet-Safe Succulents
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I have two great loves: my plants and my pets (there’s a lot of crossover between those two groups, too).
A fair number of succulents are toxic to cats and dogs, though, so I make an effort to keep those out of the house. There are plenty of awesome-looking fat plants to fill in the gaps!
Here are a few of my favorites.
1. Zebra Haworthia
One of my all-time favorite succulents, this Haworthia is incredibly versatile. Aside from being the most photogenic of plants, it’s very low-maintenance. It’s particularly great because it doesn’t mind low-light environments.
A common mistake is to put this succulent in a terrarium – admittedly they do look good together. Try to avoid the habit, though. Terrariums prevent drainage and increase humidity; that’s a recipe for succulent disaster.
2. Blue Echeveria
Blue Echeveria is a common name that is used for several different species, including E. elegans and E. imbricata.
It’s no matter, though, as all of them are safe for pets and people alike!
Echeveria are simple in their elegance and great as solo pieces. They tend to fill out whatever pot they’re in, so they can make multiple-container plants look crowded quickly.
3. Ponytail Palm
I love to throw in this pretty little plant because it always throws people off. Remember that a succulent is any plant that stores water! Plump palms like this one definitely fit that definition.
Semantics aside, it’s a fun option to add to your collection. It’s more leafy than many succulents, and gives off that bonsai vibe (without all that tough bonsai training and pruning).
4. Burro’s Tail
This lovely trailing plant is one you should have in regardless of its toxicity (of which there is none). It excels in partial-shade situations, looks like a waterfall in a nice hanging basket, and fits well into any arrangement.
It can be tricky to get them started; many new growers go through a few Burro’s Tails before they finally get it to survive. The reward is well worth it, though, and you’ll find that a happy Burro’s Tail grows so fast you can barely keep up with it.
5. Sempervivum “Ruby Heart”
Most Sempervivum are non-toxic, and that’s a good thing because apparently they look quite edible to cats.
The best part about Semps like this one is that they propagate frequently without any help from you! It’s literally a gift that keeps on giving!
6. Holiday Cacti
Holiday cactus is an umbrella term for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter cacti of the Schlumbergera genus. They all look mostly the same, the only difference being the shape of their leaf lobes and the time of year they bloom.
These are pretty neat cacti, too! They don’t mind being in less-than-stellar soil conditions, being moist for extended periods, or low-light situations. They’re kind of indestructible.
7. Haworthia retusa
I never miss a chance to tout Haworthia retusa. It’s so alien-looking. And squishy.
Most Haworthia are non-toxic, and this one is no exception. It does need a lot of light, so be prepared with a south-facing window or a grow light.
8. Opuntia Species
Opuntia is a whole genus, but the members are pretty difficult to distinguish from one another without looking at the flowers.
This is a group of cacti that are actually edible – not just non-toxic. This is where we get prickly pears from, and they make a good cactus steak too!
Of course, the spines can still hurt your pet, but you don’t need to worry about poison.
9. Dragon Fruit
If you didn’t know dragon fruit comes from a cactus… well, now you know!
It’s often used as an ornamental vine, in addition to being fruit-bearing. As with any cactus, you need to be careful of the spines.
Bonus points for the dragon fruit: This cactus is a night bloomer. It has a huge, beautiful, white flower that opens only at night. Watch for it!
10. Sempervivum “Pacific Blue Ice”
Another Sempervivum. It’s not very different from the last one, but the colors are pretty awesome.
Semps are great because most are frost-hardy. You can leave them outdoors year-round if you live in a place with mild winters. They can withstand some light snows and come out no worse for the wear!
Do you have any stories about pets munching succulents? What did you do about it? Tell us in the comments below!