Creating a Pet-Safe Indoor Garden: A Focus on Pothos

Having an indoor garden provides a refreshing touch of nature within the home, but pet owners need to be vigilant about the plants they choose. Many popular houseplants, including pothos, can be toxic to pets such as dogs and cats. However, creating a pet-safe indoor garden is possible with some planning, creativity, and awareness. Let’s focus on how to enjoy the beauty of pothos without endangering our furry friends.

Pothos: An Overview

Pothos, or Epipremnum aureum, is a favorite among houseplant lovers for its low-maintenance care and stunning trailing vines. Its adaptability to different lighting conditions makes it an attractive choice for many homes. However, pothos contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which are toxic to dogs and cats, leading to symptoms such as oral irritation, excessive drooling, and vomiting.

Strategies for a Pet-Safe Pothos Experience

1. Choose the Right Location:

Place pothos plants in areas out of reach of pets, such as on high shelves, inside terrariums, or in hanging planters.

2. Use Physical Barriers:

Consider using decorative fences, screens, or shelves with narrow spacing to keep pets away from the plants.

3. Provide Pet-Friendly Alternatives:

Plant pet-friendly herbs or grasses in accessible locations to satisfy your pet’s curiosity and need to chew.

4. Educate Family Members:

Ensure that all family members, including children, understand the importance of keeping pets away from certain plants.

5. Monitor Your Pets:

Regularly observe your pets’ behavior around the plants and make necessary adjustments to ensure their safety.

Alternative Plants for a Pet-Safe Garden

If the risk associated with pothos is too concerning, there are numerous beautiful and non-toxic alternatives:

  • Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum): A popular choice for its air-purifying qualities.
  • Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata): Offers a lush and feathery appearance.
  • African Violet (Saintpaulia): Adds color with its lovely flowers.
  • Haworthia: A safe choice for succulent lovers.


Creating a pet-safe indoor garden that includes pothos or other potentially toxic plants requires a thoughtful approach. By choosing the right location, using barriers, and providing safe alternatives, you can maintain a beautiful garden that complements your living space without posing a risk to your pets.

If the challenge of keeping pothos or other toxic plants seems too great, many beautiful and safe alternatives will provide the aesthetics and benefits of indoor gardening without the worry.

With awareness and creativity, you can enjoy the best of both worlds—a vibrant indoor garden and a happy, healthy pet.