Cat-friendly Low-light Houseplant Recommendations
July 16, 2010 1:35 PM   Subscribe

Recommendations for houseplants that are both cat-friendly and thrive in low-light.

My girlfriend and I just moved in to a new apartment, and we'd like to try to add some houseplants to our rather sterile looking bedroom. Knowing nothing about houseplants, I turn to Metafilter for advice. I've read through previous houseplant posts, but I've not come across any suggestions that speak to our particular requirements.

The bedroom has two large, north-facing windows that recieve substantial indirect sunlight throughout the day. We're looking to put plants in three different areas of the bedroom: hanging directly between the two windows, on the floor between the two windows, and in a sealed, disused brick fireplace on the west wall of the bedroom approximate six to eight feet away from the windows.

- Not poisonous or dangerous to precocious (some would say brain-dead) cats
- Thrives in relatively low light (especially the plant for the fireplace)
- Not too big/won't get too big (especially the plant in the fireplace)
- Hardy (neither of us is particulary green of thumb, and there's a radiator located only a couple of feet away from where they'll be sitting)

Bonus features:
- Nice looking
- Pleasant-but-not-overpowering smell
- Produces something edible/medicinal/useful
- Cheap
- Won't constantly drop leaves

We live in New York City, in case that changes anything (or in case you have a particular nursery recommendation, etc.). Thanks!
posted by saladin to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
The cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior) is a pretty good choice for low-light conditions. It's hard to kill and won't kill yiour cats. They also have a nice Victorian vibe about them.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 1:44 PM on July 16, 2010

seconding aspidistra. Probably the only thing that will tolerate the fireplace position, which seems like it's going to be pretty dark. You can hang pothos, should do quite well in the windows.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:13 PM on July 16, 2010

Chinese evergreen and snake plant (aka mother-in-law's tongue) are dark-tolerant, really hard to kill, and have not harmed any dumb cat I've ever owned.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 4:51 PM on July 16, 2010

Mother in Law tongue is toxic to cats.
posted by hooray at 4:55 PM on July 16, 2010

Ugh, I meant Mother-in-Law's Tongue Plant is toxic to cats. The ASPCA list has a huge list of plants that are toxic and non-toxic to cats. I picked up a Spider Plant that has survived my cats, but it can get pretty big.
posted by hooray at 5:00 PM on July 16, 2010

Oh, geez! I guess my cats weren't that dumb. (So sorry to mislead!)
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:19 PM on July 16, 2010

African violets do well in indirect light, flower occasionally, don't get too big, and can safely be eaten by cats. Spider plants do well hanging but you may have to deal with the eventual sprouts that dangle off the main plant; on the plus side you can always plant those separately and give them away to friends, neighbors, strangers, etc.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:51 AM on July 17, 2010

Peperomia. To a lesser extent schefflera, but it will get big if you're not careful.
posted by ifjuly at 12:24 PM on July 17, 2010

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