Are those beautiful flowers you are sowing in your flower bed going to be safe for your pet? Have you given it much thought? I will share my list that I have put together of plants and flowers that I either have planted or have a mind to plant soon.
I admit, this is something that I don't remember myself, or my family, giving any thought to during my youth. It's likely something that I put too much thought into now, probably. Except when it comes to trees, I do remember my family having conversations about our cattle and being mindful that they can become sick if they have access to leaves from certain trees. Maybe a neighbor has planted a 'bad tree' that has branches that overhang the fence line. In the way of flowers though, I don't remember plant toxicity being something of consideration. In the same respect, we have always had cats and dogs here and I don't recall there ever being on occasion where any of our pets have become sick due to ingestion of a flower or plant. My Grandmother planted the most beautiful iris, tulips, marigolds, and lilies which are on the toxic list. Yet, our pets have never paid them any mind. The majority of our pets lived long, healthy lives.
Gran's Iris is still flourishing today and her White Excalibur.
These are a couple of the perennials that Gran planted and they are a beautiful reminder of her love of planting. I have no intention of disposing of them. I'm not a vet or an expert on the matter of plant toxicity, so take my advice at your own risk. All I know is, my cat Buster has lived outside here for about 16 years and he is healthy and fine. He'll likely be around, hopefully, a few more years. Our female cats we've had usually live around 23 years or so (give or take) and males slightly less.
"Call Before You Dig"
Gran planted many annuals too and now they are long gone. There are lots of areas here that are in need of beauty. *Going Forward" This past winter I have been thinking and organizing what I want the landscape to be. My goals are to be surrounded by sweet smelling flowers and shrubs to draw in birds and pollinators. I also want them to be pet safe. There is a helpful website I found that has an extensive list https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/cats-plant-list it is extremely useful and informative. It's hard to navigate this information all at once so I use Pinterest as a way to organize my plan. Pinterest is addictive in many ways but it can also be a very useful when you are planning an idea. After using the website for research; I started a 'board' for my planting ideas with sub-categories to separate them as to which are annuals vs perennials and which require more sun vs shade etc. This way I have a 'ready-made' visual list to refer to while I am out shopping for plants, seeds, flowers, and shrubs. Whether I am in a physical store or shopping online, I can just pull up the Pinterest app and go. Also, when considering planting in a certain area, I refer to my list of plants that will be suitable for that location. My homework is done for me. It took a little time to organize it but that's a great way to spend a snowy day when nothing else is going on.
Ah, beautiful Zinnias!
Zinnias are a great addition to a flower bed. As you can see, Buster loves them. Their tall stems offer him a great 'hiding' place for whatever it is that he is hiding from. Maybe he isn't hiding and just wants a nice cool spot to take an afternoon siesta.
Here is a list of pet safe planting ideas for your flower bed or yard. Sorry they are not in alphabetical order.
Zinnias - Annual
Sunflowers - Annual
Cosmos - Self seeding
Cat Grass - Annual
Petunias - Hanging flower
Orchids - Hanging flower
Bachelor Buttons - Perennial
Hollyhocks - Perennial
Raspberries - Perennial
Coneflower - Perennial
Veronica Flower - Perennial
Goat's Beard - Perennial
Bush Ladybells - Perennial
Lemon Mint Herb - Perennial
Ajuga Reptans/Bugle Rampant - Perennial
Ferns - Perennial
Lady Mantle - Perennial
Maiden Grass - Perennial
Blue Mist - Perennial
Asters - Perennial
Celosia Plant - Perennial
Spice Girl Viburnum - Perennial
Lilac Bush - Perennial
Viburnum Opulus Snowball Tree - Perennial
Crape Myrtle Bellini - Perennial
Cat's Claw - Perennial
Callistemon Citrinus Lemon Crimson Bottlebrush - Perennial
Valerian - Perennial
Roses - Perennial
Snapdragon - Perennial
Impatiens - Perennial
Rose of Sharon Blue Chiffon - Perennial
Phlox - Perennial
Gerbera Daisy - Perennial
Salvias - Perennial
Lamium Maculatum - Perennial
Pachysandra - Perennial
Sugartina - Perennial
Little Henry Virginia Sweetspire - Perennial
Clethra Ruby Spice - Perennial
Jack Frost - Perennial
Coral Bells - Perennial
Wishbone Flower - Perennial
Camellias - Perennial
Sweet Alyssum - Perennial
Plectranthus - Perennial
Hippo Rose - Perennial
Irish Moss - Perennial
Virginia Creeper - Perennial
Bigonia Capreolata Crossvine - Perennial
Photinia Fraseri Red Robins - Perennial
Where Do Beauties Hide?
Once I had in mind the flowers and shrubs I desired, my problem was locating them. The local stores in my area don't seem to carry the plants I'm looking for and I have been a little hesitant to order live plants online. There was one store I was in, while I didn't find all I was there for, I noticed on their plant container the name 'Proven Winners' and determined this must be where they do their ordering from. So, given the healthy look of the plants, this said to me, that this was a top-notch company to order from. I took my chances and looked them up online. I was excited to find that they offer a much wider selection than I was able to find locally so I ordered some flowers and shrubs from them.
Snowball Tree and Rose of Sharon Blue Chiffon
The Snowball tree, I found on Amazon - I took a risk there and so far, it paid off - the verdict is still out depending on what it turns out to be. Proven Winners didn't have this specific one. The Rose of Sharon I bought from Proven Winners. I bought two of them and the one above is one of them. Regarding Proven Winners; one thing I'll say is to plan ahead. They ship according to your time zone and when the plants are ready for shipping. So, even though you might order in late winter, don't expect them to ship for a few months. This is a good thing because you can be assured your plants will be healthy when they arrive. I have some more flowers and shrubs expected to arrive next week. The ones I've ordered from Proven Winners have arrived healthy and well packaged. They also included planting instructions. I am very impressed with their service and I can be counted on to be ordering more in the future. *I receive no compensation for my endorsement. It's just my sharing my experience.
Coral Bells with Irish Moss, Lavender Phlox, & Rose Bush
The birds and the bees are already excited about the new additions to the landscape here. I enjoy sitting on the porch watching them buzz around and chirp happily among the trees. The air smells sweet and fresh. There is something about plants and flowers that makes everything around you peaceful. I'm in no way the master gardener that my Grandmother was but I am enjoying learning more about plants and I feel I am (slowly) getting better at it each year.
Going back to plant toxicity, all I can say is to use your best judgement. You know your pet better than anyone. In my opinion, some pets are more curious than others. There are plants like marigolds that are listed as on both the toxic and non-toxic list. Some plants could be fatally toxic while others might cause barely a tummy ache. Like I say, we've always had dogs and cats around them and have never had an issue with them or the iris, lilies, and tulips. That's not to say it can't happen. It should also be a good reason not to visit others with your dog in tow. You don't know what plants they may have in their house or yard that your pet could munch on and get sick from. Also, consider planting some cat grass. Dogs and cats like to munch on grass when they get a tummy ache. It works as a laxative. Cats often get hairballs when grooming so cat grass can be useful to have around.
Can You Dig It?
The best you can do is your best. Personally, it is important for me to plant things I know is safe for my Buster and any other pets that wonder around. Except groundhogs and rabbits, I'm not much concerned about pleasing them. Plants are useful where they are concerned too. That's one reason I am trying to start some lavender phlox. While the rabbits seem to love them enough, groundhogs don't. Groundhogs hate lavender, so I've heard anyway. I've been planting them around places I've seen groundhogs trying to set-up camp as a deterrent. If the phlox take off, that's one less place I'll have to mow, so there's that.
I hope you find this 'mini' list useful in considering what plants and flowers to have around. Maybe if you haven't considered starting a flower bed or adding shrubs to your landscape, you will give it some thought. There are many, many more options than I have listed in this blog. I've only focused on the plants I am interested in for my own landscape. You can find all you want to know and more about plant toxicity here https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/cats-plant-list on the ASPCA website.
Add some beauty to your surroundings and thanks so much for reading. Have a blessed and relaxing day.