Do you love gardening, but worry your adventurous cat or kitten might take a nibble of the wrong sort of plant? Cats prefer grass as their first choice and tend not to touch anything else, but some garden plants can be poisonous to cats. The worst culprits are lilies and foxgloves, because the pollen can cause kidney damage. There is no need to worry any longer, because non-toxic plants can still brighten up your garden. There are some wonderful cat friendly flowers and shrubs to choose from and you will be familiar with some of them already. This list is a small selection of both common and interesting non-toxic shrubs, flowers and herbs. Keep this guide for the next time you go to the garden centre. It is a quick and easy solution to worry free, cat friendly garden plants.
Bamboo looks exotic, adds height to the garden and makes a relaxing rustling sound in the breeze. Best of all, your cat can use it as a hideout. Bamboo takes a few years to establish and then it will begin to spread. It comes in green, golden and black bamboo colour varieties. It is ideal for screening, perhaps to hide an ugly fence or shed. Some types of bamboo including Phyllostachys nigra, can grow up to thirty feet tall if planted in the ground so it is best to research which type is suitable for your garden first. Bamboo can also be grown in containers, but may need to be split after a few years to prevent it cracking the pot.
Begonias add colour to your garden and have beautiful full flowers in a rainbow of colours. They flower from June to October, enjoy full sun and are completely non-toxic for cats.
This can be bought in seed form from any garden centre. Cat grass is easy to grow. Sow them in borders or pots and watch them grow in three to five days. Cats like to eat this for medicinal properties as it aids digestion.
This is every cat's favourite garden plant. They eat it, roll in it and hide under it. The only question is will the catmint survive until next year or even next month? The solution is to grow a few in pots. Keep them covered with a clear plastic bag to stop cats sniffing them out and give them a chance to grow. Allow your cat one or two pots of catmint at a time and let the others recover. Once the plants are established, they grow very quickly and may need to be cut back. Pick flowers and leaves, bake them to dry them out in the oven and stuff them into old, clean socks to make cheap toys for your cat.
We all know how cats like to stare at goldfish! Every cat should have a goldfish plant. They have glossy green leaves and bright orange flowers. The flowers are shaped like a pouch and look exactly like swimming goldfish. They are also known as Nematanthus and ideally should be kept in a greenhouse, conservatory or indoors, but can be planted outside in frost-free areas.
Add some greenery to your garden with this pretty fern. It's called Hens and Chickens fern, because it sprouts small bulbils which fall onto the ground and grow into new plants. It will soon become another perfect cat hiding place.
Plant a herb garden that you and cat can share. Herbs look fantastic in the garden and can be planted in pots or in borders. Thyme is perfect for growing in open, rocky areas and has little pink, purple flowers. Rosemary is hardy, and is easy to move to another part of the garden due to its shallow root system. It grows big and bushy and its flowers are blue, pink or white depending on the variety. Basil, dill, mint, sage, tarragon, and parsley are all cat friendly, non-toxic plants that are beneficial to the cat's health. Rinse picked herbs thoroughly before using for cooking purposes.
Lavender is a popular, easy to maintain shrub that is perfect for a cat friendly garden. It looks and smells amazing too.
These are a popular flower, ideal for borders and come in a variety of colours and strains, such as African and French. They have a strong scent.
There are many varieties of this flower, dwarf, variegated and climbing. They are fast growing and prefer full sunshine and well-drained soil. They produce hundreds of flowers in an array of colours. When the flowers die, the seeds can be kept to sow next year - a very economical plant. The flowers are edible and safe for humans to eat! Add flowers to salads to impress your guests.
All varieties of roses are non-toxic for your cat and smell delicious too.
The snapdragon is the flower of childhood memories! Do you remember picking a flower and squeezing the middle to make it speak? It really looks like a bunny or a dragon opening its mouth. They are attractive, two tone blooms in a variety of colours. Even better, the flowers last until October! If you cut the plants back after summer, they will flower again. They are ideal to put in borders and pots, look fabulous and are great for attracting bees and butterflies.
Everyone knows how majestic and colourful sunflowers are, so it's good news that they are non-toxic to cats too. When the flowers die off, the sunflower seeds are revealed. Keep a few sunflower heads to dry out in your shed, and then replant the seeds next year. Leave the rest to feed the wild birds in autumn.
Violets are perfect for planting in borders, containers and hanging baskets. They add a splash of colour to any garden.
Now you and your cat can sit back, relax and enjoy your garden. If you want to add more to your garden, what about a water feature? Your cat will love it.