I realize a lot of the houseplants I share on here can be toxic to dogs which is why I’m always stressing the importance of knowing the signs of plant poisoning, having the animal control poison control phone number available, and keeping toxic houseplants away from your dogs. Some of my favorites, like the Snake Plant and Arrowhead Vine can make your dogs sick if ingested but there truly are a lot of houseplants that are perfectly safe for your dog.
Since a common issue you guys tell me about is not having a lot of bright interior light in your homes I wanted to share a few of the best pet-friendly houseplants you can grow in low light or dark spaces. You can learn more about choosing and caring for low-light houseplants in Grow in the Dark by Lisa Eldred Steinkopf.
Lisa is the woman for everything you could ever need to know about houseplants and if you’re dealing with low-light situations Grow in the Dark is a fabulous resource. Not only does it offer tips for choosing houseplants and caring for them but it also breaks down tips for propagation and identifies which plants are toxic to pets and which are safe. All 15 of the plants I am mentioning today are detailed in her book as well.
Pet-Friendly Houseplants to Grow in Low Light
There are many other pet-friendly houseplants mentioned in Grow in the Dark by these are 15 of my personal favorites.
Bird’s Nest Fern
The Bird’s Nest Fern thrives in medium light, particularly in eastern or northern exposure windows. It can be placed near western or southern exposure windows but should be several feet away from the windows so it gets indirect light. Direct sun may burn the gorgeous fronds this plant is known for having.
The button fern is one of the cutest houseplants with little leaflets that resemble buttons on the fronds. They grow well in low humidity and low light making them excellent houseplants for beginners. Place your button fern in low to medium light, ideally in an eastern window.
The Cast-Iron plant has been popular for ages due to its ability to thrive in dark drafty spaces. While variegated plants require medium light, true Cast-Iron plants do well in low light conditions which makes it a great choice for interior rooms. Do not place it in direct light as it will burn.
The Fairy Washboard is very similar to the Haworthia Concolor because they are in the same succulent family. Unlike most other succulents, the Haworthia variety doesn’t require direct sunlight. In fact, if it receives too much direct sunlight the Fairy Washboard will turn a shade of burgundy and burn. Keep it in a low light area and water only when it’s completely dry.
If you’re looking for a tall plant to occupy a low light area, the Japanese Aralia is a fabulous choice. This plant is known to grow several feet high although you can trim it down into a full shrub-like appearance if you prefer. It’ll grow the best in medium light but it’ll do well in low light in a northern window as well.
Nerve plants are so much fun to grow! They do great in terrariums and smaller sizes make great additions to fairy gardens or terrarium scenes. They love high humidity so they do great in humid conditions or on shelves in a bathroom where they can soak up the humidity without the water. They’ll burn in direct sunlight so keep them in low indirect light.
Ox-Tongue reminds me of a large aloe plant, only without the sharp jagged edges. It’s very easy to grow and thrives in low light conditions several feet away from a western or southern facing window.
Like the Cast-Iron plant, Parlor Palm has been popular since Victorian times because of it’s ability to live in dark drafty conditions. It’s called the Parlor Palm because they were commonly used to decorate the parlor of Victorian homes. They grow up to 3 – 4 feet and are extremely difficult to propagate. If you want more than one in your home expect to either buy an existing palm or grow one from seed. In direct light they’ll turn yellowish, so keep them in low to medium light.
The Peacock plant is also known as Zebra plant or Rattlesnake plant due to its stunning stripes and coloring. The Peacock plant has stripes on the top of the leaves and are a beautiful shade of burgundy on the bottom of the leaves. They need high humidity but low light in order to grow and do well. If treated properly, they’ll grow up to about 2 feet tall.
This cute little plant is native to the northwestern part of the United States where it grows wild as a ground cover in shady areas and along creeks. Unlike a lot of other plants, its soil shouldn’t be allowed to dry out completely. It needs moist soil and low to medium light in order to be happy and avoid sunburn.
Pin Stripe Calathea
Like the Peacock plant, the Pin Stripe Calathea has stripes and burgundy coloring on the underside of its leaves. The fun part about this plant though is that the pin stripes are pink which add an extra bit of flair to its already stunning appearance. The pink pin stripes are also helpful in determining the right amount of sunlight for this plant. If it gets too much sun the pink stripes fade but in too little light makes them dull. Keep this plant in medium light to maximize the colorful markings.
Polka Dot Plant
Polka Dot plants are another type of plant that does great in high humidity which makes them perfect for terrariums and fairy gardens. Due to their love of humidity they are great plant choices for your bathroom or above your kitchen sink. They are at their best in low to medium light but if the light is too low they’ll stretch toward the light so you’ll know to tweak their location to keep them happy.
Prayer plants are a great choice as a decorative plant for your home. If you’re not familiar with this plant prepare to fall in love! Like the Oxalis, this plant “folds up” at night almost like it’s going to bed. In the evening, you’ll hear a faint rustling as the Prayer plant leaves fold up, like praying hands. They can be a bit particular about their water and don’t do well with tap water so you should plan to keep a supply of distilled water on hand for watering. They’re less particular about light so low light away from the window is fine.
Nearly every plant lover I know has at least one spider plant although they often have more because they propagate so often and so easily. The variegated versions of the spider plant (the white/green plants) need medium to bright light but the solid green variety do great in low light. They are also beautiful as hanging plants so they offer a lot of flexibility.
Growing up to 2-feet tall and with leaves that feel like velvet, the Velvet Calathea is one of my favorite houseplants. It’s the next one on my list and I’m hoping to add it to the side table in my bedroom. It does great in low to medium light and requires high humidity to keep pests at bay. Avoid placing it in direct light as the bright light will bleach or burn the burgundy velvet leaves.
For more pet-friendly houseplants, along with DIY ideas to help you make the most of limited light and tips for propagation, watering, and troubleshooting problems in your houseplants, check out Grow in the Dark.