Pet Friendly Gardens

Last spring I had big plans to plant a pet friendly garden in the backyard of our new townhome. Unfortunately, we no longer live there and were somewhat forced into a two bedroom apartment with no yard.

At first I thought my dreams of a beautiful garden went out the door, but then I realized flowers can grow on balconies too. Last year I purchased a few hanging baskets and planted my own window box. In the process, I learned that not all flowers are pet friendly. I wanted my dog, Luna, to be able to enjoy the balcony too, so I began searching for beautiful and safe flowers. Last year, I started with Petunias. They are easy, love sunlight, and are beautiful. Petunias come in a variety of color options too. This year I expanded my search and have included more varieties of plants. I’m trying to grow my own Petunias and Lavender, but also bought some ready to plant flowers.

Here is what I am planting this year:

  • Petunia: Great for hanging baskets, pots, or bedding. Multiple colors available. Love sun. Water regularly. Prune dead flowers to prolong blooming.
  • Lavender: Calming effects for people and dogs. Full sun and dry soils.
  • Marigold: Vibrant yellow color. Perennial. Grow in sunny location.
  • Snapdragon: Multiple colors. Full or partial sun. Dry soils.
  • Impatiens: Multiple vibrant colors. Shade and moisture. Great for hanging baskets or bedding.
  • Spider Plant: Can grow indoors all year round. I’ve had mine for a few years. Grow in sunlight. Don’t over-water.
140606 Pet Garden Cat

Other pet friendly plants include:

  • Gerber Daisy
  • Orchid
  • Pincushion Flower
  • Rose
  • Sunflower
  • Thea Japonica
  • Tickseed
  • African Violet
  • Zinnia

Plants to look out for:

  • Lily: The Lily is very popular in the spring, but it is very poisonous to cats. Research has not proven toxicity to dogs.

  • Begonia: The typical Begonia is toxic to both dogs and cats. There are certain varieties of Begonia that are not toxic. These include Peace Begonia, Trailing Begonia, Elephant-Ear Begonia, Mapleleaf Begonia, Metallic Leaf Begonia, Rex Begonia, Watermelon Begonia, and Iron Cross Begonia. There are over 1,000 species of Begonias, so be careful when you choose one.

  • Hyacinth: The Hyacinth is also very popular in the spring. The typical Easter season Hyacinth is poisonous to both dogs and cats. There are at least three varieties that are not toxic: Summer Hyacinth, Wild Hyacinth, and Grape Hyacinth.

Other poisonous plants include:

  • Vinca
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Azalea
  • Rhododendron
  • Amaryllis
  • Tulip
  • Daffodil
  • Sweet Pea
  • Wisteria
  • Morning Glory
  • Hydrangea

If you have question about the toxicity of any other plant, check out ASPCA’s Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant Guide. I refer to it all the time.

What pet friendly plants will you be planting this year? Did we miss any of your favorites on our list?

About the Author: Jessica Shipman is a bargain hunter, food lover, and software engineer figuring out how to be a pet parent for the first time. While she currently lives in Northern Virginia, she graduated from Cornell University with a BS in Information Science, Systems, and Technology, and sometimes misses the upstate New York snow. Jessica has been a long time lover of all animals (especially llamas and manatees) and is happy that she can finally combine that love with technology. This article was originally posted on April 18, 2014 on Beagles and Bargains.

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