If you’re one of the lucky people who grew up with green-thumbed parents and a house full of lush greenery, can you please just stop rubbing your good fortune in my puffy, indoors-kid face?
OK, sorry. That was a little hostile. It’s just that I find myself now a full-on legal adult who’s all of a sudden drawn to leafy houseplants despite having about a 3 percent capacity to keep anything alive that can’t scream at me for food. My cat, for example, is alive.
Speaking of my live cat, not all houseplants work in cat households. So I’ve combed through some of the plants I really like and given them a zero through five meow rating. Zero meows means your cat can rub, bat at, and graze on your pretty new houseplant all day long, no problem. Five meows means, maybe don’t buy it if you have a cat.
This moderate-irritant of a plant can make your kitty queasy, but probably won’t kill it. If you feel confident your cat won’t go a-chompin’ on your leaves, this green thing is easy to care for (keep it evenly moist) and looks good almost anywhere. It likes indirect or artificial light, so don’t put this one directly in that east-facing window.
Zero! This cool-looking fern with waxy pointy leaves is easy to grow and care for. The leaves grow out horizontally, and only get to be about a foot tall. The Green Flame likes lots of direct sunlight and a good amount of water, plus your cat can feast all day.
Heart Leaf Philodendron— 2 meows
Philodendrons are super easy to take care of. They thrive anywhere (except direct sunlight) and are pretty resilient to gray-thumbs like me. They’re not, however, great for your cat. (Figures.) At a level 2 toxicity, these plants can make your kitty uncomfortable and nauseated. They’re great hanging plants, though, so if you get one, put it up high and away from jumpy places where Sparkles might get at it.
Rare Frizzle Sizzle Plant (Albuca) — 5 meows
This interesting-looking succulent is great to behold but can be poisonous not just to Sparkles but possibly to you, too. If any parts of the stem are broken or ingested, kids and kitties alike might not feel great. So just maybe bring this one to work (but try not to eat it).
Purple Wandering Jew Houseplant — 1 meow
I love this lush plant with its purple leafy vines. Its shade of purple is beautiful and unusual, and I’m obsessed with it, even if I have concerns about its name. Though it does require some regular trimming, the Wandering Jew is easy to care for, likes bright light, and is one of those ones you can water every week or so without worrying too much about it. And Sparkles might get a little irritated if he’s eating it, but he’s not in big danger. Win/sort-of win.