Are you a succulent fan who loves animals? If you ever wondered “Which succulents are safe for my pets?”, I have some good news for you! Most succulent varieties are pet-safe, and this article will provide you a list of 14 non-toxic succulents that are totally safe for pets and other little critters around your garden. It’s important to choose pet-safe succulents especially if your furry friend shows curiosity to your houseplants by touching, sniffing, and sometimes tasting them. Having the peace of mind knowing your pet is safe, you’ll enjoy even more growing your succulents! To familiarize yourself even more with the most common varieties of harmful succulents, don’t forget to read this interesting article on toxic succulents to dogs, cats, ad other pets.
Featured Image Credit @savedbysucculents
List Of 14 Pet-Safe, Non-Toxic Succulents For Your Beloved Pets
Many varieties in the succulent family make the perfect non-toxic pet-friendly plants for dogs and cats. Here is a list of popular varieties that are totally harmless to have around your beloved pet, as they are mentioned on the ASPCA’s list of non-toxic plants for dogs and cats.
Echeverias are popular rose-shaped soft succulents native to semi-desert areas of Mexico and Central America. The leaves are fleshy and have a waxy cuticle on the exterior forming rosettes in gorgeous pastel colors that can grow in a variety of sizes and shapes. Their unique appearance and low maintenance needs make them perfect for succulent gardens, floral arrangements, and terrariums. Due to their popularity, growers and succulent enthusiasts have crossed the spices and created over a thousand stunning hybridized varieties. Not only Echeverias are beautiful, but also completely pet-safe succulents.
Quick Care Tips
- Light: Echeverias struggle in low light conditions and need to receive direct sunlight for at least 4-5 hours every day to stay healthy, but make sure not to overexpose them to constant direct intense sunlight, otherwise the leaves will develop unattractive sunburn spots.
- Soil: Echeverias require a well-draining, porous growing medium to help keep excess moisture away from the roots. Standard cactus potting mixes are sufficient for Echeverias. Alternatively, you can create your own cactus soil by mixing three parts regular potting soil, two parts coarse sand, and one part perlite.
- Water: Echeverias, like most succulents, do not require much water. You’ll know when it’s time for watering when soil is dry to the touch. I always recommend the ‘soak and dry‘ method: water the soil until it is completely soaked letting the water stream through the drainage holes of the pot. Wait until the soil is fully dried out before watering again (this may depend on your location and type of container). Avoid overwatering because it quickly leads to root rot and the plant will end up suffering from pests and diseases.
Haworthias are small and popular succulent native to South Africa. With multitudes of species, they show numerous different appearances and unusual forms, ranging from narrow pointy leaves with black-and-white horizontal zebra stripes, to clear or reticulated translucent leaves. They are the perfect plant for beginners because don’t require special care and can be easily propagated by offsets. Haworthias are pet-safe succulents, suitable for small-spaces like desks, counters, terrariums, mini gardens, and make unique gift ideas too!
Quick Care Tips
- Light: While many succulents like full sun, Haworthias are more adapted to semi-shade conditions and thrive in partial shade, both indoors and outdoors. Direct sunlight damages the plant and will make the leaves of all Haworthias turn a deep unappealing reddish color. If the damage isn’t too bad this color will fade over time once you move the plant to a shadier spot.
- Soil: Like most all succulent plants, Haworthias do not like their roots to remain wet for prolonged periods, so their soil mix should be well-drained. You can buy a gritty, well-draining cactus mix and fill up a deep pot or you can mix your own with perlite, aquarium gravel, or pumice.
- Water: I recommend the ‘soak and dry’ watering method that allows the soil to dry out entirely between waterings (you can read more about it in the previous section). Always avoid overwatering because it quickly leads to root rot and the plant will end up suffering from pests and diseases, and eventually die.
3. Sempervivum (Hens and Chicks)
Sempervivums ( a.k.a. ‘Hens and Chicks’) are beautiful fast-spreading evergreen succulents. The name sempervivum means “live-forever” for its amazing tolerance for poor soils and unwelcoming conditions. They are very popular and many hybrid varieties have been formed, making them available in all colors, shapes, textures, and sizes.
Sempervivums are cold hardy, drought and heat resistant, perfect as outdoor plants. If you wonder where the nickname ‘Hens and Chicks’ comes from, is just because the original rosette, called the ‘Hen’ produces tiny rosette offsets that are commonly known as the ‘Chicks’. Your four-legged friend can freely run around these lovely pet-safe succulents!
Quick Care Tips
- Light: Hens and Chicks thrive in full sun to partial shade, just make sure to protect them whit a shade cloth on particularly hot days to avoid sunburn that can cause the leaves to turn brown, faded, or crinkly.
- Soil: This plant does fine in poor, sandy soil and no fertilizer is necessary. Potted plants prefer well-draining soil. Alternatively, you can make your own by mixing potting soil with perlite, aquarium gravel, or pumice.
- Water: Sempervivums are drought-tolerant plants. In general, they don’t need to be watered often. If you keep them outdoors and you get regular rainfall in the area where you live, you can forget about watering! Otherwise, water every 2-3 weeks. If you keep them indoors in pots or containers, make sure to follow the ‘soak and dry‘ method and water them only when the soil is completely dry. Letting the soil dry out also prevents root rot. (read more about it above in the Echeveria quick care tip section).
The Sedum genus of plants includes between 400 and 500 species native to Northern Hemisphere. Sedums are generally grouped into two categories: clumping and creeping. Clumping hybrids grow 1 to 3 feet tall, whereas creeping types stay low to the ground.
These evergreen plants are very popular and mostly displayed in hanging baskets. Their hardiness and attractive foliage and flowers make them a great choice for rock gardens, too. There are both annual and perennial sedums, and all are fleshy succulents. Sedums store moisture in their leaves, which is the reason why they thrive so well in hot, arid locations.
One of my favorite varieties is ‘Sedum Adolphii’, a lovely flowering pet-safe succulent native to Mexico: read more in this interesting article!
Quick Care Tips
- Light: Sedum prefers full sun (at least 6 hours a day), but will tolerate a fair amount of shade.
- Soil: Although this plant thrives in poor sandy-soil, if you grow it in pots or containers, make sure to use well-draining soil: too much moisture will quickly kill your sedum.
- Water: Sedums are very drought tolerant succulents: too much water can cause stems and roots to rot and die. Always remember that are sensitive to overwatering and need ‘watering with care’. If you grow your sedum in a pot, I suggest you use the ‘soak and dry‘ method and water it only when the soil is fully dried out (read more about this method above in the Echeveria quick care tip section).
5. Schlumbergera (Christmas or Holiday Cactus)
Schlumbergera, a small genus of cacti, is native to the coastal mountains of south-eastern Brazil and definitely a very popular and easy-to-care-for succulent. One of the most common varieties is the Christmas and Thanksgiving Cactus blooming from late November to late January (hence their name). Flowers in red, white, yellow, pink, or purple appear at the tips of these branches and measure up to 3 inches long with several tiers of petals. They make great indoor houseplants and unique and affordable Christmas presents!
Quick Care Tips
- Light: Although is a tropical plant, schlumbergera will not tolerate direct sunlight and, actually, prefers a bright to a lightly sunny location. An east-facing window with moderate indirect light is a perfect location for your cactus.
- Soil: Use a quality soil rich in and other nutrients.
- Water: Generally, Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti require less water during fall and winter and more in spring and summer during their active growth.
Another popular pet-safe succulent is Graptoveria, a beautiful hybrid between Echeveria and Gratopetalum featuring thick colorful leaves in compact rosettes of 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm). There are many varieties of Graptoveria available (‘Fred Ives’, ‘Worthy One’, ‘Harry Watson’, ‘Topsy’, ‘Debbie’, ‘ Lovely Rose’, to name a few), and one of my favorites is ‘Graptoveria Opalina’ because of its beautiful pastel colors. Read more about ‘Graptoveria Opalina’ in this article.
Quick Care Tips
- Light: Graptoverias need at least 6 hours a day of sunlight to grow and stay healthy. It’s always a good idea to protect them during the hottest summer hours with an umbrella o shade cloth to prevent sunburn.
- Soil: Potted plants prefer well-draining soil, so choose a sandy soil like cactus/succulent potting mix. Alternatively, you can create your own cactus soil by mixing three parts regular potting soil, two parts coarse sand, and one part perlite.
- Water: Graptoverias don’t need to be watered often. As usual, I suggest the ‘soak and dry’ method mentioned right above, to avoid overwatering your plant, which can lead to root rot.
Aeonium is a genus including about 35 succulent plant species in the Crassulaceae family native to the Canary Island and very popular in the Mediterranean area. They are colorful, gorgeous, rosette-shaped succulents with beautiful spoon-shaped foliage in a wide range of textures and sizes reaching from 5-inch to 5-6 feet. Most aeoniums are monocarpic plants: after blooming, the rosettes will die. However, if the plant has produced side shoots, these will live on, otherwise, the entire plant will die.
Aeoniums do best in warm, dry climates and will not survive freezing temperatures. If you grow them in pots or containers, make sure to bring them inside when the temperatures are expected to drop significantly. Aeoniums are commonly used as ornamental plants but are perfect for rock gardens too.
Quick Care Tips
- Light: Aeoniums thrive under partial shady areas to full sun, however, if you keep them under intense sun exposure, they can experience black spots due to sunburn. It’s always a good idea to protect them during the hottest summer hours with an umbrella o shade cloth.
- Soil: As with other succulents, aeoniums prefer a sandy or regular well-draining potting soil. If you grow them in containers, make sure to choose pots with drainage holes to prevent root rot.
- Water: Most Aeoniums go dormant in summer and stay that way until the weather cools off in the fall. During dormancy, they don’t require watering often, just enough to keep them alive in extreme heat and dry conditions. If your Aeonium is outdoors and gets some rainwater, you don’t need to water it at all. However, when your plants are actively growing during the winter months, they need water from time to time and I find the ‘soak and dry’ the best watering method. You can read more about it by scrolling up this article.
Opuntia, commonly called prickly pear (ficus-indica), is a genus in the cactus family Cactaceae with oval, flat, branching pad-shaped leaves usually covered in spines, although there are also spineless varieties. Native to the Americas and West Indies, Opuntias produce edible fleshy fruits called ‘tunas’ safe even for pets if they accidentally try to eat them, but just watch out for their sharp spines! Opuntia cactus are very low-maintenance and commonly grown outdoors where they typically grow up to 15 ft. tall (450 cm) and 10 ft. wide (300 cm).
Quick Care Tips
- Light: They love and grow best in full sun, both outdoors and indoors.
- Soil: Opuntias thrives in poor sandy soil. If you grow your cactus in pots, make sure to use pots with drainage holes to prevent root rot. A well-draining potting soil with a high amount of gritty material mixed in is highly recommended.
- Water: Prickly Pears are extremely drought tolerant and cannot stand in soggy soil. If you grow them outdoors and get some rainwater, you don’t need to water it at all. However, during the hot and dry summer months, they need water from time to time. If you grow them indoors in pots or containers, I suggest you follow the ‘soak and dry’ watering method. You can read more about it by scrolling up this article.
Gasteria, a genus native to South-Africa, is named for its stomach-shaped (‘gaster’ in Latin) flowers. Most are stemless and have relatively straight fleshy leaves with blossoms in a curly shape. They are low-maintenance and the small and compact varieties are perfect for indoor growing, being also pet-safe, non -toxic succulents.
Quick Care Tips
- Light: Most gasteria thrive in bright but indirect light and need to be protected from hot afternoon sunlight to avoid sunburn.
- Soil: If you keep your gasteria in pots or containers, gritty, well-draining potting soil is recommended to avoid root rot.
- Water: Like most succulents, gasteria don’t need to be watered frequently. For indoor potted ones, I suggest using the ‘soak and dry’ method. Read more about by scrolling up this article.
Lithops (a.k.a Living Stones, Butt Succulents), a genus of succulents native to southern Africa, have a unique appearance of small colorful pebbles. These slow-growing plants are quite a popular novelty because are easy to grow indoors and look gorgeous in small pots and containers. They don’t have a stem and are made of thick leaves that grow in pairs.
Lithops bloom in the late autumn or early winter when a single flower will be pushed up from the fissure between the pair of leaves. After the plant flowers, it goes into a period of dormancy during which at least one new body develops. Lithops are very fascinating succulents, non-toxic to humans or pets.
Quick Care Tips
- Light: Lithops do well when exposed to 4-5 hours of direct sunlight per day and partial shade in the afternoon, both indoors and outdoors. However, if you keep them under intense sun exposure, I suggest you protect them with an umbrella or shade cloth to avoid unattractive black spots due to sunburn.
- Soil: Lithops thrive in compacted, sandy soil. If you grow yours in pots, make sure to use a well-draining grit-rich cactus blend of potting mix. If you don’t have a cactus mix, you can easily make your own by mixing 50% potting soil or compost with 50% grit material (perlite, pumice, lava rock, or coarse sand).
- Water: Watering lithops can be tricky. They have a yearly cycle of growth and you need to water according to the time of year. These little succulents need very little water and do not need to be watered in their dormant season, which is fall to spring. Water from late spring into summer by using the ‘soak and dry‘ method described above in this article.
11. Graptopetalum Paraguayense (Ghost Plant)
Gratopetalum Paraguayense (a.k.a ‘Ghost Plant’ and ‘Mother Of Pearl Plant’) is a small evergreen succulent in the jade plant family, native to Mexico, with triangular, fleshy leaves in trailing rosette form. The pointed flat leaves are in gorgeous pastel colors and range from powdery blue-green to light pink or purple. Easy to grow and maintain, it is a popular succulent plant, perfect for hanging baskets or rock gardens, and totally pet-friendly!
Quick Care Tips
- Light: Gratopetalum thrives in sunlight, approximately 4-6 hours of bright light per day. When growing as a houseplant, it’s vital to keep it in a south or east-facing window. If the plant does not receive adequate sunlight, it tends to stretch quickly.
- Soil: Like the majority of succulents, the ghost plant needs good drainage to maintain a healthy root system and avoid root rot. Therefore, should be planted in well-draining soil.
- Water: Plants growing outdoors in full sun and summer temperatures will benefit from weekly watering, while houseplants may only need watering every other week or more depending on the climate you live in and how dry the soil gets. To assess when it’s the right time, I suggest you use the ‘soak and dry’ watering method described above.
12. Dragon Fruit Plant
Dragon fruits are white-fleshed fruit with tiny black seeds and vivid pink skin safe for humans and pets. They grow on spiky cactus plants that love warm, humid climates and need water sparingly. These tropical fruits are delicious and nutritious, with a good amount of fibers, vitamins B and C. They are quite a popular ingredient in salads, smoothies, and desserts.
Quick Care Tips
- Light: The dragon fruit plant need to be planted in full sun and needs at least 6 hours of light per day. If you keep it indoors, place it in a warm and sunny spot, and make sure to choose a large container (at least 25 gallons) because it grows to be a very large plant. Also, remember that dragon fruit plants are climbers, and they need a stake to climb on.
- Soil: Dragon fruit plants thrive in well-draining soil.
- Water: Keep in mind that cactus plants are very drought resistant and need little water to stay alive. If you grow your plant in containers, follow the ‘soak and dry’ method of watering. Read more about this above.
13. Ponytail Palm Tree
Ponytail Palm is a popular pet-friendly, non-toxic plant, featuring a water-storing trunk and lush, long curly leaves that grow from the top like a ponytail. This low-maintenance, slow-growing plant is neither a palm nor a tree — it’s actually a member of the Agave family, native to the southeastern desert of Mexico.
Quick Care Tips
- Light: This plant thrives in a spot that regularly receives bright light. Although the full sun is best, this forgiving plant can tolerate lower indoor light, and will just grow more slowly.
- Soil: Use a fast-draining soil, such as a cactus and succulent potting mix. If you have potting soil, sand, and perlite already on hand, you can make your own mixture by simply mixing 1 part potting soil, 1 part perlite, and 1 part sand.
- Water: Choose a pot with bottom holes, so that excess water can drain off. Always be sure to assess the watering needs of your plant by touching the soil with your finger. When it feels completely dry, then it’s time for a drink. Follow the ‘soak and dry’ method described above to avoid root rot due to overwatering. Water sparingly in the winter months.
14. Tillandsia (Air Plants)
Tillandsia (a.k.a. Air Plants), can be found in jungles, rain forests, or deserts, and the reason why they nicknamed “Air Plants” is that they get the majority of their nutrients from the air around them. There are hundreds of species and varieties of air plants. They usually have strap-shaped or slender triangle-shaped leaves. These pretty little plants have become quite popular over the last few years, given their easy care and low-maintenance. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care for them at all: it’s important to provide your tillandsia with the light, water, and air circulation they need to thrive beautifully!
Quick Care Tips
- Light: As a general rule, keep your air plants out of direct sunlight. In order to thrive, air plants need bright and indirect light. Rooms with southern or eastern-facing windows are best.
- Soil: Air Plants prefer well-draining soil.
- Water: Weekly soakings will keep your tillandsia happy; more often in a hot, dry environment, less often in a cool, humid one.
Hope you enjoyed reading this article on Pet-Safe, Non-Toxic Succulents and found it comprehensive and enlightening! If you like, feel free to leave a comment or share your knowledge on this topic in the section below.
Enjoy more readings:
- 11 Toxic Succulents Harmful To Dogs, Cats, And Other Pets – Watch Out!
- How Long Can Succulents Go Without Water? 5 Interesting Questions Answered!
- Top 10 Amazing Benefits of Growing Succulents – Health Benefits and Much More!
- Black Spots on Succulents: The Ultimate Guide to This Common Problem weeks