13 Nontoxic Alternatives to Poinsettias

by Jennifer Poindexter

Are you afraid to keep poinsettias around your home during the holidays? I understand the feeling. I have pets that I worry about ingesting the leaves.

Fortunately, poinsettias aren’t nearly as dangerous as once thought. However, they do produce a sap that can cause irritation to your pet if consumed.

Rather than dealing with an unnecessary vet bill, I opted to use other houseplants around my home during the holiday season.

If you’re looking for some non-poisonous alternatives to the poinsettia, you’re in the right place. Here are a few options to keep your home beautiful and safe around the holidays.

1. Christmas Cactus

My grandmother had quite the green thumb. When you’d step onto her enclosed back porch, she always displayed her Christmas cactus with pride. For this reason, this poinsettia alternative is first on our list.

A Christmas cactus produces a variety of richly colored blooms. It does best when provided indirect sunlight and will need occasional watering.

Once the plant blooms each year, be sure to repot it so it will return year after year. By providing only a small amount of care, you can have a gorgeous plant around your home.

2. Achira

Achira goes by a variety of names, but they all point back to this gorgeous tropical plant. This is no tiny houseplant. In fact, it can grow to be as tall as eight feet in height.

However, if you have room for it, achira will produce vibrantly colored blooms at the end of its long stems. You can have this beauty in your home and all it requires in return is regular watering sessions and full sunlight.

3. Phalaenopsis Orchid

These orchids are so gorgeous, they almost appear artificial. They have large, deep colored green leaves. From them, a skinny stem protrudes and produces colorful blooms that come in shades of white, pink, orange, and even yellow.

If this interests you, it will also please you to know how easy they are to care for. They need a sunny windowsill with bright light and to be watered approximately one time per week. It’s also wise to fertilize and repot these flowers at certain points in their growth cycle. With minimal care, you can have a gorgeous orchid as décor.

4. Red Roses

This option is so simple that many people overlook it. Poinsettias naturally draw the eye because of their deep red color.

However, by incorporating red roses in a bouquet, you could easily keep the deep red color around your home without the concern for your pets.

5. Amaryllis

You might be shaking your head at this option because amaryllis are known for being poisonous. The good news is they’re mainly toxic in their bulbs. However, we still recommend you use your judgement before adding this flower to your home.

If you choose to use your amaryllis as holiday décor, it’s a gorgeous option as it forms bright red blooms. Plus, amaryllis will come back for many years. If cared for properly, there have been reports of some of these plants lasting for 70 years!

6. Bromeliad

When I moved out on my own as a young adult, bromeliad was my first houseplant. I loved this flower because of how unique it looked.

This is a low-maintenance plant with plenty of color and character. It will need direct sunlight, humidity, and occasional watering. By providing these basic needs, bromeliad could thrive under your care.

7. Peperomia

Peperomia plants aren’t as brightly colored as some of the other options on this list. This would be more for someone who prefers live décor over the winter months and isn’t as concerned with a pop of color.

If you fit into this category, peperomia might be for you. All you must do to keep this plant thriving is provide indirect lighting, warmer temperatures, and water on occasion. If you need a low-maintenance houseplant, don’t overlook peperomia.

8. Swedish Ivy

Swedish ivy is another charming houseplant that doesn’t display a ton of color. If you need something to brighten a bland corner, consider growing Swedish ivy in a hanging basket.

This plant does require a bright place in your home. Otherwise, it’s pretty forgiving when it comes to soil conditions. If you’re new to growing plants inside your home, consider starting with this style of ivy.

9. African Violet

African violets are beautiful little plants. However, they are particular. As much as I love them, I can’t grow them around my home because I have cats. Though this plant is non-toxic to most common pets, the blooms don’t like to be wet.

Therefore, your pets can’t be around the plant and lick the leaves out of curiosity. Instead, African violets should be placed in a sunny window where they’ll receive indirect light. They must also be watered from the bottom. If you can create the right growing space, African violets could make a gorgeous addition to your home.

10. Boston Fern

Boston ferns are recognized for their lush green foliage. Though they don’t have brightly colored flowers, the entire plant tends to draw the eye of anyone around it.

If you’d like to incorporate this non-toxic plant around your home, be sure to place it where the fern will receive bright indirect light. Too much sun can scorch the plant’s fronds. 

It also needs to be watered when the soil is dry. When looking for a simple but charming house plant, that’s also safe for your pets, don’t overlook the Boston fern.

11. Prayer Plant

Prayer plants are unique in appearance as they have oval, deep green leaves. However, the veins in the leaves come in a variety of colors. If you’d like a simple plant with some pizazz, the prayer plant could be for you.

These plants are non-toxic to most pets. They will need to be grown in an area with temperatures around 70- to 80-degrees Fahrenheit and with indirect lighting. These are generally easy-to-care for plants and could be good for the beginner gardener.

12. Polka Dot Plant

I bet you can’t guess how this plant got its name. One look at the leaves gives it away. This plant is known for its dark green leaves that are speckled with color. Polka dot plants don’t mind direct sunlight but can handle a moderately lit area as well.

They also need well-draining soil and should be deeply watered to avoid too much or too little moisture. The main thing with polka dot plants is they are safe if your pets are curious and lightly nibble their leaves. However, if they consume too much, it can make your pet sick. Be sure to use your judgement before bringing this plant into your home.

13. Spider Plant

Our final non-toxic houseplant, to use in the place of poinsettias, is the spider plant. It’s a simple option which provides subtle beauty.

If you’d like to introduce a quaint houseplant into your living space, the spider plant doesn’t require much. It needs bright, indirect lighting and should be consistently moist. If you can provide these growing conditions, the spider plant might be a good fit for you.

This concludes our suggestions for non-toxic alternatives for poinsettias. This list puts a smile on my face, and I hope it does for you as well.

It’s hard not to get down in the mouth when you’re standing in the checkout lines around the holidays, see all the gorgeous poinsettias lined up in the stores, and wish you could have one.

However, you can’t out of fear for your pets. Now, you can turn that frown upside down and pick a non-toxic houseplant, from this list, to decorate your home over the holidays or year-round.

More About Poinsettia Alternatives




prayer plant and bromeliad with text overlay 13 Nontoxic Alternatives to Poinsettias

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