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Cat Friendly Plant Suggestions

Hi all, I am brand new to gardening and I have very little knowledge of plants.

I have two beautiful cats - one who particularly loves shoving her entire head into flowers and plants and tries to eat my houseplants. I would like to plant a flower garden (not particularly interested in growing produce as yet) and want to find out the best plants that will not harm my cats. I have done a lot of research online trying to find out which plants are toxic and which are non-toxic to cats and I have found a lot of contradictory information and I am now even more confused as I was before.

I thought the best way to find out which plants are safe would be to ask those who have experience. I know that lilies are lethal and that daffodil bulbs are dangerous. Can anyone suggest some plants that I can plant in an NW facing garden that my cat can safely plunge her head into or indeed eat? I have heard of planting catnip as a distraction but would like some more suggestions if possible.

Thank you image



  • SwissSueSwissSue Posts: 1,447

    Hi there, I love cats too. Here a list of toxic and non-toxic garden plants. I think you will have a big enough choice here for any garden.

    Annuals (non toxic)

    • Zinnia (Zinnia sp.)
    • Snapdragons (Antirrhinum sp.)
    • Cosmos (Cosmos sp.)
    • Calendula (Callendula sp.)
    • Petunia (Petunia sp.)

    • Bee Balm (Monarda sp.)
    • Phlox (Phlox sp.)
    • Roses (Rose sp.)
    • Catmint/catnip (Nepeta sp.)
    • Coneflowers (Echinacea purpura)


    If your garden receives less than 4 hours of direct sunlight a day, the following list of non-toxic annuals and perennials requires less sunlight.


    • Primrose(Primula sp.)
    • Butterfly flower(Schianthus sp.)
    • Spider flower (Cleome sp.)
    • Nasturtium (Tropaeolum sp.)

    • Columbine(Aquilegia sp.)
    • Coral Bells (Heuchera sp.)
    • Turf Lilly (Liriope sp.)
    • Goat's Beard (Aruncus dioicus)


    The 10 Least Wanted

    The following is a list of plants that is best to avoid altogether due to their toxic nature. It is not a comprehensive list, if you are considering any plant of which you are unsure; consult your local plant nursery.

    • Castor bean (Ricinus communis)
    • Oleander (Nerium oleander)
    • Morning Glory (Ipomea sp.)
    • Japanese Yew (Taxus cuspidata)
    • Jerusalem Cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum)
    • Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
    • Nightshade (Atropa belladonna)
    • Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
    • Precatory Beans (Arbus precatorius)
    • Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans)
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,130

    I have cats and have never had a problem though I do only gorw lillies in pots so they can't accidently brush up against the pollen which is the dangerous part.   I have foxgloves and daffodils and lily of the valley and trumept vine and have also grown morning glory with never a problem.

    For a shady garden, try hostas, primulas, Japanese anemones, ferns, hachonekloa grass, hellebores, snowdrops, aquilegia, heuchera, clematis and pulmonarias.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • All parts of lillies are toxic to cats, so don't plant any lily bulbs.  Pollen might be the most concentrated part, but any part of the lily will cause your cat problems if ingested.

    Why not ask your vet the next time you take your cats for their annual checkup and boosters?  S/he will know which plants are the most dangerous.  If you have pet insurance, a lot of the companies offer a helpline, you could ring there and get their advice.

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 3,277
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  • catnipcatnip Posts: 73

    I leave a bit of chickweed here and there as my cats love it!

  • Any plant can be harmful to your pet. Most plants have been treated with insecticides and pesticides. Always keep an eye to your pet when around your plants.

  • madcatjomadcatjo Posts: 19

    I have 3 Siamese cats and apart from never planting Lilies I plant  lots of different plants, shrubs and trees with no problems. As 22... says your cats will wander around other peoples gardens too so don't worry they will be fine - it is a joy to watch your cats outside, climbing trees, lazing in the sun etc.

  • L0zzaL0zza Posts: 1

    There are now a hybrid of double oriental lilies that are pollen free. I saw them on the harts nursery website, it advises these as a popular choice for those with pets. I haven't seen much info on alliums or hydrangeas, anyone know if these are toxic to cats?

  • Victoria SpongeVictoria Sponge Posts: 3,501

    I just googled them and supposedly they both are toxic if ingested.

    Does your cat tend to eat plants in the garden? I have a bowl of cat grass in the house for mine which they mostly ignore but I occasionally see them grazing on the odd tuft that comes up in the garden ( I don't have a lawn).

    If it helps I have alot of poisonous plants including the two you mentioned and neither my cats nor chickens when they are out have shown any inclination to chew on them. Not even my village idiot cat.

    House plants might be a temptation if cats are kept in all the time which is why I keep the bowl of grass.

    Wearside, England.
  • Ceejay6Ceejay6 Posts: 2

    Six weeks ago my lovely new daffodils which I had planted last November, were eaten, I blamed it on the slugs.  At the same time my male cat became very sick.  I didn't connect the two.  As the daffodils looked so bad, I pinched off all the heads...  A week later, my cat was his old self again.  I still didn't connect the two.   Two weeks ago, my cat was sick again and within 24 hours he was in the Veterinary hospital with a drip in his leg.    Blood tests all normal, no lumps and bumps... I said no when the vet asked if I had any Lily's in the house or growing in the garden.   The next morning I was wondering around the garden - as we do... checking out who was poking their head above soil when I was stopped in my tracts.   Under my 2 sqm rose bed I had planted 300 snowdrops "in the green".... 1/3rd of the bed was now bare... not a green leaf in sight....  The penny dropped.  This was defiantly not the work of slugs.     My cat had eaten them.  I was devastated, I had inadvertently poisoned my beautiful cat.  I dug up the remaining snowdrops and all the daffodils too and gave them to my neighbour.   A week on and my cat started to recover and I was able to bring him home.  I vowed not to let him into the garden unless I was there to keep my eye on him.   Three days ago he had his first and last,  walk in the garden.  I had bend down to pull up a, "plant growing in the wrong place"...  I had only taken my eye off kitty for 10 seconds, but in that time he had found a juicy fritillary leaf and was chewing it to pieces... my cat is now a house cat,  I don't care what he promises, he staying  indoors.....   image         

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