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12 messages
21/04/2013 at 00:42

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

21/04/2013 at 05:55

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)
21/04/2013 at 11:18
21/04/2013 at 13:21

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.

21/04/2013 at 13:43

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.

21/04/2013 at 15:26

Thanks for the reminder re the lillies, wasn't a problem  previously with my indoor cat but now have 2 that go out.

23/04/2013 at 23:14

Over the years I have taken in dozens of stray and dumped cats, and have noted that they tend to travel miles when they are on the prowl.  Whatever you plant - a cat will investigate all the neighbours gardens too so being overly careful seems a bit futile really.  They really do seem to have 9 lives.....not only that I have noticed that they mostly aim to poop in other peoples gardens, which is really great if you dont like the neighbours .  I had a cat called Boston, and caught him one day seemingly stuck in the pig wire fence between us and next door.  On closer inspection his front end was our side of the fence, and the rear end was depositing "manure" on their side.. I swear Boston had a grin on his face - luv im

24/04/2013 at 14:27

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

24/04/2013 at 15:06

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.

25/04/2013 at 20:55

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.

23/07/2014 at 15:05

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?

23/07/2014 at 15:55

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.

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