Houseplants: RHS advises on watering techniques
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According to an expert, there are certain houseplants which can be toxic to pets and are best avoided if you have cats and dogs inside the home. Anna Waterfield, Founder of Plant Pet Club, an indoor plant subscription box brand, told Express.co.uk: “We love our pets, and it’s our job to protect them. So be mindful next time you impulsively pick up Instagram trending houseplants in the supermarket labelled ‘indoor plant’. Many of the most common houseplants are considered toxic to both cats and dogs.”
According to the expert, this includes the popular peace lily, Swiss cheese plant and snake plant as well as dracaenas.
Peace lilies are mildly poisonous to cats, although the compounds they contain are fortunately not as toxic as those of true lilies.
When a cat chews or bites into the leaves or stems, the crystals are released and can cause injury by penetrating the animal’s tissue.
Although gorgeous, the Swiss cheese plant can cause symptoms including irritation of the mouth, excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.
Similarly, the snake plant is often picked due to its low maintenance needs, but it should be kept out of the home if you have pets.
Snake plants contain chemical compounds called saponins, which can result in feline nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea if consumed or chewed.
The expert continued: “Some of us have pets at home that pay plants no interest at all. I am a lucky owner of two 15 year old cats and a toddler, who manage to navigate our dangerous household unharmed.
“But if your curious critter nibbles on just about anything, you need to understand what plant toxicity is and how to minimise the risk.
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“Toxic plants mean the plant contains a substance that is harmful to animals if ingested. These substances may affect the body in different ways.
“The most common is an upset stomach and mouth irritation with symptoms like vomiting and diarrhoea. But some plants are highly toxic and can cause abnormal heartbeat, lethargy, seizures, or organ failure.
“There is some difference between dogs and cats, however, if a plant is toxic to one species, it’s probably best to avoid it for both.
“There are many plants that are non-toxic to pets but still please make sure they’re not chomping down entire plants for dinner.”
The expert recommended the Areca palm, a striking plant covered with stinky purple hairs. The plant requires good light for growth but is very easy going and fast-growing.
Anna added: “Blue star ferns too. All the fern family is pet-friendly, but we love this interesting looking fern for its sophisticated look with elongated fronds and a pleasant green-blue colour.
“Its ability to tolerate lower-light conditions and relatively easy care make it a great choice for beginning and more experienced fern lovers.”
Houseplant lovers could also opt for the calathea setosa, an air purifying plant which is great for pet households.
The plant expert said: “This prayer plant brings elegance to the prayer plant party. The signature green and red foliage of the plant will close at night and open again to greet the new day.”
The peperomia hope, also known as the trailing jade, is a great option for those with pets or children in the home.
According to Anna, it’s historically believed that the plant brings some good luck to the homeowner, hence the other name, dollar plant.
“With glowing succulent leaves and soft stems, it is one of the easiest houseplants to grow in apartments due to their compact nature.”
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