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Creating a Pet-Safe Garden: A Guide to Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants

Gardening is probably one of the most relaxing and fulfilling pastimes there is, especially when the plants you’ve been nurturing start to produce flowers, fruits, and vegetables. However, while gardening is a good idea most of the time, there are also some caveats especially when you have pets who have access to your garden. If you have pets, it is important to learn how to grow a pet-safe garden.

Cats and dogs like to frequently nibble on leaves, and it’s extremely hard to stop them. Some sources say that this is not really because they like the taste of leaves, but because they do it to clean out their digestive tracts when they think they ate something bad. What’s alarming though is that there are common garden plants that might poison your pets when they accidentally eat them – and most pet parents aren’t familiar with them.

While this might be a bit frightening, the good news is that you don’t have to give up your hobby. You just need to know which plants are poisonous or not, and which ones are safe to plant in your gardens.

Start a Pet-Safe Garden With These 8 Beautiful Flowering Plants

To help you plan out your future pet-safe garden, we’ve compiled a list of some beautiful plants that aren’t dangerous for your pets.

1. Magnolia

Large and fragrant, there’s no wonder why bees and other pollinators love them. But magnolias aren’t small plants – they can grow into tall trees, which are filled with large, beautiful flowers starting in March of every year.

2. Sunflower 

Probably one of the most distinct single blooms in the world, sunflowers can be a beautiful (and bright) addition to your gardens. Fill up one section of your garden with a row of these plants, and you’ll have beautiful radiant flowers in no time.

Photo by Reba Spike on Unsplash

3. Coral Bells 

Coral bells have distinct dainty flowers usually seen in elongated clumps similar to corals. However, aside from the flowers, Coral Bells are also accompanied by colorful foliage, with their leaves ranging from bronze to purple.

4. Snapdragons 

Called Snapdragons because of their resemblance to a dragon’s face, these flowering plants are abundant bloomers in early spring. You can get them in numerous colors, from cool purple and red to bright yellow and orange.

5. Camellia 

Known for their exquisite and beautiful blooms, Camellias are referred to as the “Queen of the Winter Flowers.” There are hundreds of varieties, each with distinct colors and patterns. Their blooming season is also lengthy as compared to other flowering plants, giving your gardens a punch of color for long periods of time.

6. Jasmine 

With their delicate and sweet-smelling flowers, Jasmine can be a good addition to your pet-safe gardens. You can plant them in pots or directly on the ground for a ground cover. Once your plants start to flower, you can even dry some flowers to create homemade Jasmine tea. There are over 200 species of Jasmine available in the market today, from Arabian Jasmine to Spanish Jasmine, with varieties having slightly different flower hues and plant heights.

7. Marigolds 

The distinct bright yellow flowers of Marigolds are enough to turn heads. One of the brightest and most beautiful flowers, Marigolds are easy to grow and are typically no-fuss plants. They’re also incredibly hardy and resilient, surviving in almost any climate.

8. Petunias 

Petunias are one of the most popular summer flowering plants for gardeners since they’re bright and colorful. With numerous hybrids and varieties, you can get Petunias in solid colors or striped, single-petaled or double-blooms. 

Planning a Vegetable/Fruit Garden? Here Are Some Pet-Safe Choices!

Gardening isn’t limited to flowers and ornamental plants. You can also plant vegetables and fruit plants that are pet-safe. Just remember to keep an eye out for invading snails or slugs who will start eating your plants (or get eaten by your pets!). Commercial products are usually effective, but they can be toxic or harmful to insects and animals, so it’s best to remove them by hand or try home-remedies first. 

1. Carrots 

Carrots are pet-safe vegetables that your pets can nibble on for a low-calorie treat. They’re loaded with beta-carotene and fiber, which are important for maintaining your pet’s vision and digestive health. However, they should be eaten in moderation by cats. 

​​Photo by Jonathan Kemper on Unsplash

2. Broccoli 

Regarded as one of the healthiest vegetables there is, broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable filled with bioactive compounds, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which may help protect your pets from oxidative damage.

3. Melon

Melons are healthy, fiber-rich fruits that you can share with your pets. They’re loaded with beneficial vitamins that you and your pet can benefit from.

4. Celery 

Crunchy and refreshing, celery is a good plant to have in your garden. They’re wildly versatile in the kitchen, and you can even toss a few stalks to your dog for a treat (if they’d eat it).

5. Winter and Summer Squash 

Winter and summer squashes are healthy additions to your vegetable garden. In fact, once you harvest your first vegetable, you can even share it with your pets as a nutritious meal topper or a treat! Squash is loaded with beta carotene, vitamin C and fiber, which are highly beneficial for your pets.

Keep Your Pets Safe on Walks!

Now that you’re on your way to starting a pet-safe garden, know that keeping your pets safe from poisonous plants doesn’t stop there. While you might be familiar with poisonous plants and which are safe for your dogs to consume, not everyone is familiar with them. If you’re out on a walk or you’re visiting someone with their own garden, make sure you supervise your dog and keep them in your line of vision at all times!

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