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How to make your plant collection pet friendly

How to make your plant collection pet friendly

Are you both a pet owner and a plant lover? Sometimes it can feel like those two things don’t go hand in hand. Whether you have a beautiful back garden or an indoor oasis, it can be a real challenge keeping your fur babies away from your plant babies. Pets are naturally curious and unfortunately that curiosity often extends to your indoor and outdoor plants. 

Pets are notorious for digging up soil, shredding foliage and munching on leaves. Not only is this bad for your plants, but it can prove fatal for pets! Many plants are poisonous and if eaten they can cause severe gastrointestinal upset. But don’t despair – all is not lost! The team at Plants in a Box have put together a guide to keep both your pets and plants safe!

How to stop pets from destroying potted plants?

Potted plants are super enticing to our pets. Dogs and puppies are often drawn to the smell of the soil, while cats and kittens see leaves as a natural scratching post. If you have a bunny, they may see your potted plants as a 24/7 buffet! If you want to keep your pets away from your plants, here are few handy hints. 

1. Get prickly

Ever walked on bindii covered lawn or accidentally grabbed a thorn? Ouch! Pets don’t like sharp or pointy things either, so they make great deterrents. Obviously, we don’t want to hurt your furry friend, just deter them! Simply grab some large pinecones or rough gravel and scatter it on top of the potting mix of your indoor plants. This will deter curious noses and prevent soil from being thrown across the house (while still allowing you to easily water your potted plants)

2. Coir blimey

Don’t like the idea of spikey soil coverings? Use coconut coir mats instead! These lightweight mats make a wonderful mulch which keeps the moisture and soil in and prying paws out. Better yet, these mats are made of natural coconut husk fibres and are 100% compostable and eco-friendly, so if your pet manages to grab a few fibres there’s nothing to worry about.

3. Smell you later

Pet noses are sensitive, so you can use this to your advantage! Most pets do not like citrusy smells, so by using some everyday ingredients, you can create your own natural pet repellent. The simplest solution is to cut up slices of lemon, orange or lime and scatter them in your potted plants. Alternatively, you can use a citrus spray or diluted citrus oils around your potted plant. The strong citrusy smell will make your pet think twice before bothering your plants again.

If you happen to have clove oil, you can dip cotton balls in the oil and bury them just under surface of your potted plants’ soil for extra repelling power!

How to keep pets out of potted plants?

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, pets can become obsessed with destroying our plants. If your pet is super persistent and ignoring all your deterrents, then it’s time to up your game! 

1. Take it to the next level

Shelves and hanging baskets are a great way to keep your potted plants out of your paw’s reach, while still allowing you to showcase all your greenery! Whether you use bookshelves or those self-watering hanging pots, you can get creative by creating curated collections of colourful pots and different plant varieties. Draping plants such as ivy and string of pearls look especially wonderful hanging from shelves (just remember to keep those drapey bits high up else, otherwise they’ll get dragged off).



2. Stake it up

If you don't have any high shelves built in, or bookcase space free try using a plant stake to lift that foliage off the ground. Wind your drapey foliage around our halo plant stake, or coir totem poles to keep furry paws away. They'll also provide your plant with some structure and help to reach towards the light - so win, win!

3. Gift them their own plant

Yes, I know it sounds silly, but giving your pet their very own pet-friendly plant is a great way to distract them from other high value (or dangerous) plants. It’s especially good for indoor pets that don’t have access to a garden. Simply place all the no-no plants out of reach or make them repellent with prickly substrate or citrus and then place a pet-friendly plant in plain sight. Odds are they will go for the decoy plant and leave the others alone!

For cats, some great choices are cat grass, cat nip or other cheap grasses such as wheat, oats, or barley. They’re super affordable and your furry friends will love having a plant all their own. These long, chewable grasses make nice rustling noises when they move and can be equally enticing for dogs and rabbits.

How to protect outdoor plants from cats and dogs?

Whether it’s your own pet, the neighbour’s pet or a stray, your outdoor plants are vulnerable to a whole range of curious critters. To help protect your garden, here are some helpful hints to deter any furry saboteurs. 

1. Add a little spice to your life

Most of us humans like a little spice, but your pets don’t! If you’re looking for a natural, yet effective, pet repellent, try sprinkling a little tabasco sauce around the base of your outdoor plants. Chili flakes, curry powder or cayenne pepper work great too! And don’t worry your plants won’t mind! Just remember you’ll need to season your garden regularly as the spices will wash away in the rain. 

2. Light up the night

Many pets use the cover of darkness to explore and dig up your garden (especially cats). If you want to deter any night-time antics, try installing some motion senor lights in your garden bed. The sudden shock of bright light will deter any fluffy ninjas from assassinating your outdoor plants

3. Pet-proof your mulch

If you have a persistent pooch or determined kitty, then try covering your garden bed with a spikey twig mulch, sharp gravel or stone chip. Not only will your garden bed get a nice new covering that will suppress weeds and retain moisture, the rough, spikey surface won’t be comfortable for wandering paws. Winning!

4. Make a doggy dig pit

Dogs like to dig. It’s in their nature, but boy oh boy does it damage your plants! While it may seem counterintuitive, assigning your pup their very own dig pit is a great idea. Designate a small patch of your garden (away from your precious plants) and bury a chew toy or treat. 

Once your pup has found the spot, they will keep going back to their patch to explore. You can reward them with positive reinforcement and by continuously burying goodies. If the dig pit looks unsightly, plant a few tough evergreens around to shield it from view. A fast growing, pet-friendly Lilly Pilly will do the job nicely!

Invest in pet friendly plants

Your safest bet when it comes to creating pet/plant harmony is to buy pet friendly plants. It may seem like a bummer to limit yourself, but until you know for sure your pet isn’t going to munch on your plants, it’s best to play it safe! 

Whether you’ve got a playful puppy, a crafty kitty or a ravenous rabbit, you can safely add these plants to your garden or home knowing they aren’t toxic at all! Here are some of our favourite pet friendly plant varieties:

Not sure what to choose? Check out our Pet-Friendly Indoor Plant Pack and Cat-Friendly Indoor Plant Pack. These collections are packed full of beautiful pet safe plants, so you can enjoy some gorgeous greenery and lay your poisoning worries to rest!

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