You shouldn’t have to choose between succulents and your dog just because some succulents are toxic, because here are the ones that’s not!
The following succulents are completely safe for dogs:
- Aeonium kiwi
- Zebra plant
- Holiday cactus
- Jeweled crown
- Burro’s tail
- Hens and chicks
So what’s up with these cuties apart from being non-toxic companions for dogs? How can you take care of them? Anything else you should know?
Here’s the entire scoop.
Echeveria is an extensive genus of succulents of about 150 species. These are some of the most common succulents grown around the world. You might have heard of them.
A common feature among Echeveria succulents is a rosette shape which, while not a reserve of the genus, makes these plants coveted ornamentals. That’s why besides sprucing up homes, they’re also used in other settings such as weddings and artwork.
Besides the shape, Echeverias are also known for their wide range of colors to choose from.
In other words, the genus is a real embodiment of all that you’ll want in a succulent – a unique shape and interesting colors.
The succulents are native to the Americas, specifically Mexico and parts of South and Central America. The size varies which is only natural considering the numerous different species. But most don’t grow beyond 12 inches.
Just like the rest of the succulents, Echeverias are hardy so taking care of them isn’t very demanding.
Water sparingly (ideally when the soil mix is dry), let your succulent receive at least four hours of direct sunlight every day, and bring it inside if the temperature readings drop below 20˚F.
And if you need a few extra plants, you can easily propagate your Echeveria using offsets, leaves, and stem cuttings.
Kiwi aeonium has one of the most adorable looks (well, most succulents do). Throughout its life, it features at least three leaf colors, namely yellow, green, and pink or red. The yellow foliage is found at the center of the plant’s rosette growth that’s made of young leaves with pink tips.
As they mature, the leaves take on a green hue with pink/red margins.
These changes become even more pronounced as the succulent gets more sunlight exposure. Speaking of, be sure to have your kiwi aeonium in a spot that receives adequate morning sun. The afternoon sun is a bit too strong for the plant’s liking, so protecting your succulent for the second part of the day will be in your best interest.
And while at it, remember the winter too. Kiwi aeoniums aren’t cold-hardy so you’ll have to bring your plant inside if temperatures in your area typically go below 30˚F.
The succulent blooms in summer after which it dies off. Not to worry, though. You can easily have a few new kiwis using offsets that the old plant readily spits out throughout its growth period.
The Zebra plant is so named because, well, it looks like a zebra (close enough). The succulent plant is characterized by dark green strappy leaves and a series of white stripes on the outer side.
When we talk about interesting colors in succulents this is definitely one of the best examples.
Like lots of other succulents, the zebra plant is native to South Africa and it’s a pretty low-growing plant. Most usually range between 4 and 8 inches at maturity, a height that can take some time to attain as the growth is almost unnoticeable.
That can be great if you aren’t looking for particularly leafy plants that require a lot of space. But, it could also be a deal-breaker if you cherish seeing some blooms every once in a while. That dragged-out growth means the zebra plant rarely flowers.
But who needs flowers when the plant itself is beautiful enough, right? You can even enhance your zebra plant’s cute looks by exposing it to bright indirect light. This stresses it bringing out a deep red color.
Direct sunlight will burn the plant, though.
That being said, this succulent is still better off under low light conditions which is quite rare, by the way. This kind of makes the zebra plant the perfect indoor plant.
Of course, that’s not to say you just throw it into some dark corner and forget about it.
The Christmas cactus is among a few succulent species that aren’t native to the typical succulent habitat of dry/hostile conditions. The plant is endemic to the Amazon rainforest in Brazil where rain is plenty all year round. Here, it can be found growing on tall tree branches as an epiphyte where it’s sheltered from direct sun rays.
As you can see, that’s a remarkably different environment from your average succulent’s. There’s lots of rain, moisture, and not so much sunlight. That means you’ll have to do a bit of adjusting on your part – aka change a few aspects of how you care for your succulents (that’s if you already have some).
For instance, while it’s absolutely important to let the soil dry out completely for most succulents, doing so for the Christmas cactus will be a bit of a disservice. The plant is unfamiliar with super dry soils.
So you shouldn’t water every day but you shouldn’t let the potting soil dry out completely either. A slightly moist potting mix is ideal if you want your Christmas cactus to thrive and bring out the blooms during Christmas time.
As for the watering method – drenching is still the best way to go. Always water your succulent until water runs out through the bottom.
Also, remember to shield your Christmas cactus from direct sunlight. A bright spot is enough to provide the plant with its ideal daily dose of light.
To be honest, every succulent is a jewel and could certainly use some crown. For now, though, both of these deservedly belong to the jeweled crown succulent, a popular hybrid of Echeveria rosea and Pachyphytum bracteosum. It’s been around for some time as it was created in the late 19th century by Jean-Baptiste A. Deleuil, a French succulent enthusiast.
One of the most outstanding features of the jeweled crown is its farina-covered leaves that give the plant a pastel blue-green look. Farina is vital in protecting the plant from various extreme conditions, especially harmful UV rays.
That’s probably why the jeweled crown can comfortably thrive under intense sunlight and lots of heat. These two make the succulent even more adorable as it develops deep pink leaf tips and margins under light stress.
Frost and extremely cold conditions are generally big enemies of this succulent, though. Temperatures lower than 20˚F are going to cause problems, that is kill the plant. So you have to really watch out for lest you lose your jeweled crown.
The succulent has numerous names, namely horse’s tail, lamb’s tail, donkey tail, and monkey’s tail. Yep, there are a lot of tails here.
That’s because the plant is a trailing one, putting out several stems covered with numerous green fleshy leaves. Perfect if you reckon your décor could use some cascading plant life. The stems can grow to as much as 4 feet in length and tend to be quite brittle (so do the leaves).
This is quite convenient for propagating the plant, especially using the leaves. All you have to do is pluck a few leaves off, plant them in moist soil and wait. Spring or summer is the best time to do this.
In summer and spring, the burro’s tail grows flowers that can be lavender, red, or pink. This is not a given, though. So it’s not something to look forward to.
Hen and Chicks
Wrapping up our list of succulents safe for dogs is another popular group – hens and chicks mainly made up of Sempervivum genus members. The plants have a wide natural range comprising southern Europe and parts of northern Africa.
They form low-growing rosettes with one central plant (the hen) and numerous offsets around it (the chicks). They’re definitely a great option if you’re looking for a ground cover for your garden. Plus, they bring so much color so there’s the beauty aspect to consider, too.
Growing them indoors in pots also works out great as long as you provide all the light they need – lots of it. Full sun will be the most ideal in this case but a partial shade is just as helpful.
As with any succulent, a well-draining soil mix is important to bring out the best in a hen and chicks succulent. This prevents the plant’s roots from staying wet for longer than it’s necessary; an absolute nightmare for most succulents.
Indeed, some succulents aren’t friendly to dogs. You don’t want Fido messing around them just in case he ends up requiring urgent vet attention.
But succulents are the cutest of all houseplants. You really want to grow a few without endangering your dog.
That’s why I compiled the above seven absolute beauties. They’re easy to grow as any succulent and – most importantly – harbor no toxicity against you, your dog, or any other member of your family.