Plant with green leaves on top and purple underneath

The purple velvet plant, or gynura aurantiaca, is one of the most unique houseplants you can grow. This is due to the odd velvety purplish hairs that it produces on its green leaves.

Add the weird-smelling orange flowers to the equation and you have quite an interesting houseplant! Let’s get into how to grow, care for, and propagate these funky plants.


Purple Velvet Plant Overview

Common Name(s) Purple velvet plant, velvet plant, royal velvet plant
Scientific Name Gynura aurantiaca
Family Asteraceae
Origin Java, Indonesia
Height 1-2′
Light Part shade
Water Medium
Temperature 65-85°F
Humidity High
Soil Well-draining potting mix
Fertilizer Once a week with diluted plant food, once a month in winter
Propagation Stem cuttings rooted in water, then potted
Pests Aphids, mealybugs

The velvet and purple hairs of gynura aurantiaca

These plants have greenish leaves covered with velvety purple fuzzy hairs. Each leaf has multiple tips and the underside is generally a reddish purple. Blooms are a yellowish orange color and have a very bad odor.

Is the Purple Velvet Plant Toxic?

The toxicity level of gynura aurantiaca differs depending on who you ask. While it is listed on the non-toxic plant list and is generally thought to be non-poisonous, it should not be ingested. And, some people may have an allergic reaction to the plant.

You should also keep purple velvet plant away from dogs and cats, just to be safe.

Purple Velvet Plant Care

Caring for the velvet plant isn’t too hard, but it isn’t as easy as succulents or dead-simple houseplants like golden pothos.


They should be placed in areas of your home that receive bright, but filtered sunlight. If they don’t get enough light, their leaves will lose the brilliant purple color that the plant is known for.


The roots of purple velvet plants are incredibly delicate and can rot easily. For this reason, soil should be kept only moderately moist at all times. Whatever you do, do not over water this plant!


Because of how sensitive the roots are, you should use a potting soil that retains some moisture but drains quite well. You can even add some rocks or gravel to the bottom of your pot to ensure that water is draining well.


Gynura aurantiaca is a heavy feeder and can be fertilized once a week during the growing season. Use a simple high quality plant fertilizer that is diluted to 50% of the recommended strength.

During the winter months you can reduce fertilizing to once a month or stop completely if the plant is not growing at all.


Purple velvet plants do well when root-bound and can thrive in small pots for quite some time. For this reason, you may never want to re-pot it.

If you decide to, make sure to refresh the soil and choose a pot that is only 1-2″ larger than the existing pot.


Velvet plants are prone to legginess and stretching. To avoid this, prune them heavily as they grow by cutting stems off at no more than 5″ above the soil line. This will cause your velvet plant to grow more bushy instead of tall.


You don’t have to waste the cuttings that you prune off of your velvet plant! These cuttings root well in jars of water. Wait until roots form from your cuttings and then place them in a high-quality potting soil.

It typically takes 1-2 weeks for a cutting to root successfully.


The flower of gynura aurantiaca – remove these as they smell terrible!


All of the classic houseplant pests can affect purple velvet plants: whiteflies, mealybugs, spider mites, scales, and aphids.

To prevent these, it’s best to give your entire plant a scan from time to time (including the underside of the leaves).

Douse the leaves in water or spray with neem oil for minor infestations. For spider mites, keep humidity high.

For more serious problems, either use a systemic insecticide or discard the plant and start a new one from a healthy cutting.


The only disease you need to worry about is root rot, which is completely avoided if you water your velvet plant properly. You’ll know you are over watering if the plant feels soft and soggy.

To remedy root rot, cut out affected areas and repot the remainder of the plant in fresh soil. Take care not to over water in the future.


Goal: To answer common problems and questions about planting, caring for, harvesting, or storing this plant.

Q. The leaves of my velvet plant are wilting and it looks like it’s sick! What is happening?

A. Because purple velvet plants are fertilized often, many gardeners will over-fertilize and use too strong a mixture. This leads to wilting and in the most serious cases, burning the leaves and killing the plant. Be sure to dilute your fertilizer and keep a watchful eye for signs of nutrient burn.

Q. What should I do when my velvet plant starts to flower?

A. While the orange flowers of the plant produce a nice contrast against the purple leaves, most people hate the smell. If you can’t stand the smell, you should pinch flowers off of the plant as soon as you see them.

Q. My gynura aurantiaca is growing TOO FAST! How can I control it?

A. Heavy pruning is your friend here. Cut stems 2-5″ from soil surface and don’t be afraid to be aggressive. It will come back bushier and squatter, which is what you want.

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Purple Passion Plant

Botanical Name: Gynura aurantiaca

Purple Passion Plant is known for its finely serrated green leaves, densely covered with purple hairs. The leaf undersides and stems are also hairy, giving the whole plant an iridescent, velvety sheen.

Pinch off the yellow-orange flowers that appear in spring. They’re not only ugly, they have a bad odor. Plants often flower after they’re a year old. You may notice that your plant will begin to decline after flowering. That’s why it’s a good idea to propagate cuttings to replace your plant. It’s fast-growing, so you’ll have a big, lush-looking new house plant in no time.

Green Thumb Tip

Careful with that water! Avoid getting the velvety leaves wet. Drops of water will cause dark spots on the leaves and they won’t come off.

If the leaves need to be cleaned, brush them gently with a soft, dry brush, such as a small paintbrush.

Shed some light. Providing bright light will enhance the color of this stunning foliage plant. If the leaves are more green than purple, move the plant to a sunnier spot. Keep it out of harsh, direct sunlight, though, because its leaves will scorch.

Pinch it back. Pinching off the stem tips is the way to make it branch out for a fuller, bushier plant. Don’t toss out those stem tip cuttings, either. They’ll root easily, giving you more beautiful plants.

Water regularly. Purple Passion Plant is a “fainter” if the soil is allowed to dry out. However, you can revive it quickly with a thorough watering. Aim to keep the soil evenly moist during the growing season, slightly drier in winter.

This popular plant may be labeled by any of these common names: Purple Passion Plant, Purple Passion Vine or Velvet Plant. Some have an upright growing habit, others are vining.

If you’re looking for an upright form of Purple Passion, look for Gynura aurantiaca. Want the trailing vine type for a hanging basket? Gynura sarmentosa has twining stems that can be trained to grow up a trellis or left to trail.

Purple Passion Plant Care Tips

Origin: Indonesia

Height: Upright forms grow to 2 ft (60 cm) tall. Trailing forms can grow to 4 ft (1.2 m) long.

Light: Bright indirect light. Some direct morning sun is fine, but avoid strong summer sun which can scorch its leaves.

Water: Keep the soil evenly moist spring through fall. Water less in winter, keeping the plant barely moist. When watering, take care not to get water drops on the leaves which can damage them.

Humidity: Moderate to high. If the relative humidity drops below 50%, use a pebble tray or humidifier. Don’t mist this plant because the hairs trap moisture that may cause the leaves to rot.

Temperature: Average room temperatures 60-75°F/16-24°C.

Soil: Peat moss-based mix, such as African violet potting mix

Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks spring through fall with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half. Feed monthly in winter.

Propagation: Take 3-4 in (7.5-10 cm) stem tip cuttings in spring or early summer. Cut just below a node — the place where a leaf is attached to a stem. Dip cut ends in hormone rooting powder and place in moist peat moss or perlite. Enclose in a clear, plastic bag or cloche for the first couple weeks to hold in moisture.

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The Purple Velvet plant is an incredibly unusual houseplant, which features green leaves covered in tiny, purple hairs. From a distance, the hairs are so dense that they give the impression of the leaves having a soft velvety texture, in a vibrant purple color. These plants have long been popular, not just because of their striking appearance, but also because they are fairly easy to care for, getting along well in the average temperatures of most homes.

The most difficult part of looking after a Purple Velvet plant is getting the watering just right, as the plant enjoys moist soil but has delicate roots which can easily be affected by root rot. If you have some experience with caring for houseplants and are good at recognizing when a plant does or doesn’t need more water, then this may be the ideal plant for you.

This plant does have two drawbacks, though fortunately, both of them are easily dealt with. First, the plant can develop flowers, and although they are not unattractive, they do have a very bad odor that many people find unbearable (University of Florida). The solution to this is to snip off the buds as soon as they appear, not giving them a chance to flower and become stinky. The other benefit of this is that the plant’s energy will go into continued production of the beautiful leaves instead of wasting it on average looking flowers. The second drawback is the fact that the plant has a short lifespan of just a few years. When the Purple Velvet plant reaches maturity, it loses its vibrancy, and the leaves will look more green and dull. To combat this, you will need to propagate your plant every few years to ensure you have a continued supply of the plant’s next generation to decorate your home with.

Quick Facts

Origin Southeast Asia
Scientific Name Gynura Aurantiaca
Family Asteraceae
Type Evergreen perennial
Common Names Purple velvet plant, purple passion, velvet plant, royal velvet plant
Ideal Temperature 60-75° F
Toxicity Not toxic to people and pets
Light Bright, indirect light
Watering Keep soil moist but well-drained
Humidity Moderate to high humidity
Pests Mealy bugs, scale, red spider mites

How to Care for Your Purple Velvet Plant


The roots of the Purple Velvet plant are particularly fragile, making them even more susceptible to root rot than your average houseplant. Because of this, it’s especially important to make sure you don’t overwater this plant, as having wet feet will likely destroy the plant. Your best defense against root rot is a high quality, well-draining soil and paying close attention to the moisture level of the soil. While the plant should not be allowed to sit in water or soggy soil, it will also react badly to drought. If the plant isn’t getting enough water, then you will notice the leaves starting to droop and become quite sad looking.

You will need to develop a balanced watering method, where the plant receives just the right amount of water. Exactly how often and how much you should water the plant will be largely dependent on the size of the plant and how much sun and warmth it is getting. Aim to keep the soil moist but not wet during spring and summer, while for the remainder of the year, you can allow the soil to dry out a little between each watering.

The Purple Velvet plant enjoys bright, indirect light. It will happily sit in a bright window, though direct light will cause the leaves to burn, so use sheer curtains or window blinds to filter the light. If this plant lives in a shaded area and doesn’t receive enough light, the hairs on the leaves will dull, and it will lose the vibrant purple coloring that it is grown for. A light-deprived Purple Velvet plant will also become leggy as it stretches to find a light source. If you don’t have an appropriately light spot in your home to suit this plant, it will grow under artificial light.


Normal room temperature is usually fine for this plant. It will thrive in temperatures between 60 and 75° F, though it does not tolerate too much heat, so be careful if temperatures go much higher than this. If you live in a hot climate, then try to keep the temperature inside your home relatively cool; otherwise, the plant will become weak. Although the Purple Velvet plant does prefer to be kept on the cooler side, care should be taken to make sure temperatures do not drop too far below 60° F.


This is a hungry plant that likes its fertilizer. Use a standard houseplant fertilizer mixed to half of the recommended strength. You can feed this to your Purple Velvet plant every one to two weeks during spring and summer, and reduce this down to once every month or two during fall and winter. If your plant stops growing completely during this time, you can stop feeding it until spring returns.


The Purple Velvet plant enjoys moderate to high humidity, so it may be best suited to living in a kitchen or bathroom. Misting the leaves with a water spray is not an option to increase the humidity for this plant, as the hairs on the leaves can trap water and cause them to rot. If you have particularly low humidity, you could raise the humidity with an electric humidifier. Alternatively, a tray containing rocks and water for the plant to sit on can help to create moisture in the air around the plant. As well as high humidity being beneficial for the plant’s growth, it also helps to deter some pests such as spider mites

This plant has a tendency to get tall and leggy if it isn’t pruned, so prune it aggressively to encourage growth lower down. Pruning the plant will result in a fuller looking plant, which is bushier.

The Purple Velvet plant is typically only kept inside for two to three years, so you likely won’t ever have the need to repot it. As the plant ages the purple hairs covering the leaves fade and become less vibrant, eventually turning a dark, dull, and somewhat unattractive shade. It is at this point that the owner will usually dispose of the plant or find a home for it outside.

During its short lifespan, the plant may become root-bound and look like it needs to be re-potted on, but, the Purple Velvet plant actually does very well in space limiting conditions, and it usually isn’t necessary to repot it. If you do decide to repot the plant, do so with great care to not disturb the roots, as they are very fragile and may not respond well to change.


This plant produces vibrant, yellow-orange flowers, usually in winter. They look almost like thistles and resemble the flower of a dandelion. While they are quite striking against the purple background of the plant, many people remove them because they have a very offensive odor. If you don’t like the flowers on your Purple Velvet plant, snip them off as soon as they appear to avoid having the bad smell wafting around your home.

Fortunately, the plant does not frequently flower, especially not during its first years. Flowers generally appear after two or three years and show that the plant has reached maturity. The plant blooming is taken as a sign that it is past its prime, and ready to end its time as a houseplant. If you wish, you can plant the Purple Velvet plant outside; however, it does have a tendency to spread easily, so think about containment.

Propagation is a necessary part of growing this plant if you want to keep it around for a long time. As the plant has a limited lifespan of a couple of years, you will want to propagate it to ensure you have new generations of young and vibrant Purple Velvet plants. When your plant reaches maturity, which it will inform you about by growing flowers, it’s a sure sign that you need to propagate if you haven’t already. You can perform propagation along with pruning if you don’t want your cut stems to go to waste.

To propagate, you will need the end of a stem at least several inches long. This plant propagates well in water; simply place the cut end of the stem down into a glass of water, ensure it has consistent heat, and wait for roots to develop over several weeks’ time.

You can also propagate this plant in moist soil, following the same directions. You could dip the raw end of the stem in rooting hormone to improve chances of success if you want. Propagate in late spring or summer, when the weather is reliably warm to encourage the cutting to root. Alternatively, heat the plant artificially. Bottom heat always works best for propagating successfully (Royal Horticultural Society). Once the cutting has successfully rooted, you can plant it into a more permanent soil and pot, and continue care as usual.


This plant is not toxic to humans or animals, making it an ideal houseplant to have in your home if you have children or pets that are liable to investigate the plant and potentially nibble on it. While the Purple Velvet plant is not poisonous, it is not recommended to ingest any part of it. It may result in a stomach ache, and some people have been found to be allergic to it.

Common Problems

This is a low-maintenance plant that does not typically encounter a lot of problems; however, if growing conditions are not ideal, then some issues occur. Pests are also, unfortunately, an oftentimes unpreventable part of growing plants.


Leaves that become brown at the tips, around the edges, and eventually all over, are a sign that your plant has been scorched. The two main causes of this are too much direct light and too much or too strong fertilizer. The Purple Velvet plant is a hungry plant and typically thrives on frequent feedings of diluted fertilizer. However, there is a debate about this amongst growers of this plant, with some claiming that fertilizer should be used on a weekly basis throughout the growing season, while others believe it should be fed less often, at a frequency of every two weeks or even monthly during spring and summer.

You should be able to deduce from your caring habits what is the cause of your plant’s scorch. If you know that it hasn’t experienced any direct light, then the cause of the brown leaves is most likely due to heavy fertilizer use, and you can adjust your feeding schedule accordingly. Equally, if you don’t fertilize the plant very often, then it is more likely the scorch is a result of too much light, and you will need to move the plant to a more suitably lit spot to allow it to recover.

The Purple Velvet plant can fall victim to all of the common pests typically associated with houseplants, such as aphids, mealybugs, scale, and whiteflies, though probably the most common pest is the spider mite (Missouri Botanical Garden).

Spider mites can go undetected on your plant for quite some time because they are so tiny that it’s hard to see them with the naked eye and also because they hide on the undersides of the leaves. One indicator that your plant has spider mites is if it starts to develop small yellow spots on the foliage. As the infestation develops, the spots will turn brown and could even result in whole leaves turning brown. If your Purple Velvet plant has a spider mite problem, you may also notice some webbing on your plant. As arachnids, spider mites use spider webs to protect themselves and their eggs. If you suspect spider mites are infesting your plant, you can lightly shake the plant while holding a piece of white paper underneath. If spider mites are present, you will notice tiny dark specks falling onto the paper that resembles ground pepper. If an infestation is severe, it will stunt the plant’s growth and eventually kill it, so it needs to be treated sooner rather than later.

As soon as you become aware of spider mites on your plant, the first line of defense is to take the plant outside and spray it with a strong force of water from a hose. The high pressure of the water should be enough to wash off most, if not all, of the mites. Repeat this twice a day for up to a week, and in most cases, the infestation will have been removed. Another method is to spray the plant with neem oil or another insecticidal oil. Alternatively, there are some natural predators of spider mites, which will take care of the infestation for you if you can release them in the plant’s habitat. These include ladybirds, predatory thrips, and the very appropriately named spider mite destroyers.

Pesticides should be avoided for several reasons. First, spider mites are resistant to pesticides, and second, pesticides will reduce the populations of beneficial bugs on or around your plant, only serving to make the spider mite problem even direr.

Root Rot

The thin and fragile roots of the Purple Velvet plant make it especially susceptible to root rot. Root rot often goes undetected until the condition is severe and irreparable due to the problems happening beneath the soil’s surface. Signs to look out for that your plant is suffering from root rot are brown patches on the leaves and curled or distorted foliage.

Root rot will turn the bottom of the roots and the root crown slimy and dark in color. This condition is solely the result of overwatering, and therefore you should take care to ensure the soil around this plant is moist but never wet. If your Purple Velvet plant does suffer from root rot, you can try to remedy the problem by removing the plant from its pot, brushing off as much of the soil as possible, and cleaning the roots off by placing them under running water.

Do not repot the plant for a few days, instead of letting the roots air dry. If there are some remaining roots that are not badly affected, you can remove the rotten roots and focus on re-growing the plant from the healthier roots. Repot the plant in new, dry soil and care for the plant going forward by paying careful attention to how much you water it.

Purple Passion Plant Care: Tips For Growing Purple Passion Houseplants

Growing purple passion houseplants (Gynura aurantiaca) offers an unusual and attractive houseplant for the brightly lit indoor area. The young purple passion plant has velvety leaves; thick, deep purple hairs on a green colored leaf and a cascading habit, making it perfect for an inside hanging basket. Purple passion houseplants have been used for indoor decoration for more than 200 years and grow wild in some southern areas.

How to Grow Purple Passion Plants

The purple passion plant, also known as velvet plant or gynura, appears to have purple leaves from the thick hairs. As the plant ages, the hairs spread further apart and the color is not as intense. Most purple passion houseplants remain attractive for two to three years.

Plant the purple passion plant in a houseplant soil that offers good drainage, as the plant is susceptible to root rot from too much water.

When rooting cuttings, use a perlite or vermiculite mixture for ease of rooting. If you cover the cuttings when rooting, remove the covering at night.

Purple Passion Plant Care

Place the purple passion plant in bright to moderate light, but don’t allow direct sunlight to reach the leaves. Brighter light intensifies the purple color of purple passion plant. Purple passion houseplants prefer a cool location; optimum temperatures for the purple passion plant are 60 to 70 F. (16-21 C.).

Keep the soil moist but avoid letting the roots stand in soggy soil. Avoid wetting the foliage, as the hairy leaves can trap moisture and begin to rot. Fertilize every two weeks from spring through fall as part of velvet plant care. Fertilize monthly during winter.

The purple passion plant grows outside, as an annual, but is best contained to avoid prolific spread. Purple passion houseplants may produce orange flowers; however, their odor is unpleasant. Many gardeners snip off the buds to avoid the smelly blooms. Flowers are a sign the plant has reached maturity; be sure to start cuttings if you’ve not already got them growing.

Gynura aurantiaca | Purple passion care & info

Gynura aurantiaca, also known as purple passion, is a houseplant appreciated for its fuzzy purple foliage. Its interesting leaf coloration and relatively easy care make it a great addition to any colorful houseplant collection.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about purple passion care and growing purple passion at home!

Difficulty Moderate
Lighting Bright indirect
Water Keep lightly moist
Soil Well-draining

Gynura aurantiaca light, location & temperature

Purple passion appreciates bright, indirect light and doesn’t cope well with a lot of direct sunlight. This means that while it needs to be placed near a window, a sheer curtain might be needed to prevent it from getting scorched.

When supplied with plenty of indirect light the plant’s purple leaf coloration should become darker and more intense.


Like many other houseplants purple passion prefers relatively high humidity, so a spot in your kitchen or bathroom might be a good idea. If you don’t have any well-lit, humid spots available don’t worry too much. Some artificial lighting and a humidifier can already make a big difference.

Room temperature should be fine for Gynura aurantiaca. In fact, care should be taken to prevent the plant from being exposed to high temperatures. You should also try to avoid anything below 59 °F/15 °C.

Hover over image to pin to Pinterest!

Gynura aurantiaca soil & planting

Although purple passion does appreciate regular waterings, root rot will quickly develop if the plant is left standing in water for too long. To ensure water drains properly, use a pot with a drainage hole and a well-draining potting mix (preferably slightly acidic). If necessary, the plant can be repotted during Springtime, although it’s usually a better idea to take some cuttings and re-root these as a single purple passion won’t last more than a few years.

Gynura aurantiaca has an upright growth pattern, which means it’s best suited to a regular pot. If you’re looking for a plant suitable for a hanging planter its relative Gynura sarmentosa might be a good choice!

Watering Gynura aurantiaca

Watering is one of the trickier parts of purple passion care, as this plant does need plenty of moisture and will quickly start looking sad and droopy when deprived of water but doesn’t respond well to wet feet.

The exact amount of water it needs is (as always) dependent on the amount of light it gets as well as your soil mixture and drainage, but try to keep the soil slightly moist during the growing months (Spring through Fall) and let it dry a bit more between waterings during Wintertime.

Propagating Gynura aurantiaca

Propagation is an essential part of purple passion care: this plant usually only lasts for a few years, so if you want to keep growing it you’ll have to take cuttings and re-root these when your plant reaches maturity.

A good indicator it’s time to propagate your purple passion is when it starts producing flowers, which are orange-colored and quite decorative but unfortunately smell very unpleasant and should be removed if you don’t want to deal with the odor.

To propagate your purple passion, simply remove a few stem tops and place them in a pot with moist, loamy potting mix. Enclose the pot with the plant in a plastic bag with a few holes or other type of closed, clear container for a few weeks to improve the chances of succesful rooting and growing.

Gynura aurantiaca fertilizer

During the growing season you can use a diluted liquid houseplant fertilizer every month or so to encourage your purple passion’s growth.

Buying Gynura aurantiaca

Purple passion is not the most common houseplant but you should be able to find or order it at some plant stores or garden centers.

You can also buy purple passion online.

Is Gynura aurantiaca toxic to cats and dogs?

Purple passion is non-toxic to both cats and dogs. Hurrah!

If you’re looking for more pet-safe plants be sure to have a look at the article on houseplants that are non-toxic to cats.

If you have any more questions about purple passion or want to share your own experiences with this fuzzy purple houseplant, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

Purple Passion Vine

Purple passion vine is an easy house plant to care for as long as it is neither overfed nor kept in a dark place.

The clambering branches and toothed leaves of the purple passion vine are so completely covered in purple hair that the entire plant takes on a rich, velvety appearance. The orange shaving-brush flowers are unattractive and unpleasantly scented and should be suppressed.


Don’t overfeed this plant or give it insufficient light — its attractive purple coloration will fade. It also ages rapidly, so don’t hesitate to prune it severely. New plants are readily started from cuttings.

Purple Passion Vine Quick Facts

Scientific Name: Gynura aurantiaca sarmentosa

Common Names: Purple Passion Vine, Velvet Plant

Light Requirement for Purple Passion Vine: Bright Light to Filtered Light

Water Requirement for Purple Passion Vine: Drench, Let Dry

Humidity for Purple Passion Vine: High

Temperature for Purple Passion Vine: House to Cool

Fertilizer for Purple Passion Vine: Balanced

Potting Mix for Purple Passion Vine: All-Purpose

Propagation of Purple Passion Vine: Stem Cuttings

Decorative Use for Purple Passion Vine: Hanging Basket, Table

Care Rating for Purple Passion Vine: Easy

Want to learn about house plants by type? Try these:

Learn how to care for house plants:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Larry Hodgson is a full time garden writer out of Quebec City in the heart of French Canada where he grows well over 3,000 species and varieties. His book credits include Making the Most of Shade, The Garden Lovers Guide to Canada, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, Houseplants for Dummies, and Ortho’s Complete Guide to Houseplants, as well as other titles in English and French. He’s the winner of the Perennial Plant Association’s 2006 Garden Media Award.

Many houseplants are toxic for curious cats and dogs. These ones are all pet-friendly.

Houseplants do a house good. Not only do they look lovely, but the degree to which they promote health and wellness for a home’s inhabitants is really quite remarkable. From increasing oxygen levels and helping deter illness to cleaning the air and promoting healing, they are silent workhouses giving their keepers a boost. (See more here: 5 health benefits of houseplants.)

Unfortunately, however, many houseplants can be toxic to pets – from mild irritation of the mouth to much grimmer (fatal) outcomes. The ASPCA has an epic database of plants that can be searched by pet and/or by the plant’s toxic or non-toxic classification. It’s a great tool to use when shopping for plants.

Since it can be a challenge to comb through all the toxic plants to find the pet-friendly gems, here are some to start with – favorites from the database that are all listed as non-toxic to cat and dogs.

1. African violet (Saintpaulia spp.)

2. Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens)

© Yongxi

3. Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii)

4. Creeping Charlie / Swedish ivy (Plectranthus australis)

W.carter/CC BY 2.0

5. Haworthia (Haworthia species)

6. Parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans)

7. Polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)

IP Singh/CC BY 2.0

8. Purple passion plant (Gynura aurantica)

9. Rubber Plant (Peperomia obtusifolia)

10. Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

11. Staghorn fern (Platycerium bifurcatum)

Mokkie/CC BY 2.0

12. Tropical bromeliad (other cultivars)

13. Venus Fly Trap (Dionaea muscipula)

© Suwat wongkham

14. Watermelon peperomia (Peperomia argyreia)

Mokkie/CC BY 2.0

15. Wax plant (Hoya carnosa ‘krinkle kurl’)

©David J. Stang

And of course, it’s always a good idea to double check with your plant seller and/or veterinarian to be sure that your purchases will be kind to your pets. Visit the ASPCA for more images and info.

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