Caring for houseplants eases stress and connects us to nature. But those aren’t the only reasons to fill your space with green.

Scroll through the #UrbanJungle hashtag on Instagram and you’ll be met with scenes of plant-filled apartments and homes, some ranging from a single stylish succulent to photos of homes featuring greenery dripping from window ledges and cascading down bookshelves. While the recent obsession with the care and keeping of houseplants may seem as though it came out of nowhere, the benefits of houseplants speak directly to the modern-day problems that many of us are all too familiar with.

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Benefits of houseplants:

Houseplants clean the air: Keeping plants in your space is one of the easiest—and cheapest—ways to purify the air around you. Did you know the air inside your home could be even more polluted than the air outside? It’s true. Heating and ventilation systems, cleaning products, and building materials are just some of the common culprits of indoor air pollution. Adding plants to your space can help purify the air around you while acting as a natural humidifier as well—a win-win!

Houseplants ease stress: Need a moment of mindfulness? Care for your plants. It’s true! Studies have found that connecting with nature can lower blood pressure and ease stress – and that includes houseplants. Can’t get out for a hike? Take some time to nurture your indoor plants and breathe a healthy sigh of relief!

Houseplants can support immunity: Really! According to a study commissioned by the Dutch Board of Horticulture, offices that housed several well-chosen houseplants experienced fewer instances of illness—including cold and flu. Similar studies in the US have found that patients in rooms that contained plants have lower blood pressure and lower heart rates, and even request less medication when houseplants are present.

And that’s not to mention the obvious aesthetic benefits of filling your home with plants. A well-chosen plant or five is the perfect way to elevate your decor and add color and texture, especially for the many of us facing the decorating challenges that come with an apartment and small-space living.

The only thing rivaling our affection for our houseplants? Our love for our pets. In fact, nurturing a houseplant is a great first step for someone curious about adopting an animal companion, but not quite sure about the commitment. And, minus the air-scrubbing benefits of plants, nurturing houseplants and nurturing a dog or cat comes with many of the same benefits, namely, less stress and better quality of life.

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Unfortunately, what many people fail to take into consideration is that many of our favorite houseplants are toxic to our furry friends. Peace lilies are a prime example — they’re excellent at cleansing the air but are toxic to cats who often enjoy nibbling on greenery throughout a home. It’s a truth that too often ends in tragedy, as most greenhouses don’t label plants according to pet safety, but the good news is you don’t have to choose between #PlantLady and #CatLady. With the right information, you can be both!

Below we’ve rounded up five of our favorite houseplants that are safe for both you and your best furry friend. Thinking of investing in a plant that’s not on this list? We always recommend cross-checking its safety with the ASPCA’s handy tool that allows you to search whether a plant is safe for a dog or cat (and even horses and smaller pets!).

Also important to note: While safe for pets to be around and occasionally nibble if they get too close, it’s not recommended you allow your dog or cat to munch on your houseplants. Instead, invest in some cat grass for your cat to enjoy and healthy treats for your pup, and keep plants out of reach if possible. And of course, this goes for flowers, too. Many spring flowers are toxic to curious pets, including daffodils and tulips. Safe bets? Roses and sunflowers are both safe for nibblers!

5 of our favorite pet-friendly house plants:

#1 — Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

The superstar of the pet-friendly plant world and an excellent starter plant for those suffering from black thumbs, spider plants are hardy, easy to care for, and proliferate easily — meaning if you love spider plants, you’ll soon have many of them on your hands!

#2 — Calathea (Maranta leuconeura)

Often called prayer plants for the way they lift and lower their leaves according to the time of day, calatheas offer full, bold foliage in colorful patterns, perfect to hang or display on a stand.

#3 — American rubber plant (Peperomia obtusifolia):

Low-maintenance and easy to grow, the American rubber plant (also called a ficus) is a classic indoor plant that your pets can breathe easy around — and you can benefit from its air-cleansing qualities!

#4 — Parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans):

Elegant and eye-catching, parlor palms are an excellent choice to display on a dresser or floor, depending on size and your cat’s interest in enticing foliage.

#5 — Peperomia (Peperomia argyreia):

Another easy-to-grow stunner, peperomia are smaller plants that pack a lot of munch, thanks to full foliage and pretty, multicolor leaves.

What are your favorite pet-safe houseplants? Share with us by tagging us on social @AvocadoMattress and #AvocadoGreenMagazine!

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