Have you got succulents and pets at home? Do you want to know which succulents are safe for cats?
Succulents are a type of plant known for their thick, fleshy leaves and structural beauty. They are popular among homeowners and gardeners because they are easy to care for and can thrive in a wide range of outdoor climates and indoor conditions.
However, they are not all good for our furry friends and some succulents can be toxic to cats.
If you have cats at home (or your neighbors have cats that visit your property) and you’d like to ensure the succulents you have are safe for cats, read on to see our list of succulent species that are safe for cats.
In general, succulents that are toxic for cats cause problems when nibbled on or eaten and ingested. There are some succulents that can cause skin irritation if touched. And, of course, there are succulent types with vicious spines that are not good for any living creature!
Here are nine popular succulent species that are safe for cats:
- Living Stones – Lithops
Within each of these types of succulents, there are many different individual varieties, but in general, each of the succulents in the families above are considered safe for cats.
These species contain low levels of toxins and are not harmful to cats if ingested in small amounts.
If you have a cat that is prone to nibbling on plants, it is important to choose succulents that are non-toxic and safe for them to consume in small amounts.
9 Succulents That Are Safe For Cats
Aeoniums are succulents known for their striking rosette-shaped foliage and diverse colors. Native to the Canary Islands, aeoniums typically have fleshy, spoon-shaped leaves that grow in tight clusters, forming stunning rosettes. Aeoniums come in a variety of eye-catching varieties, each with distinctive characteristics.
Some of the most popular aeoniums include Black Rose Aeonium (Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’) – picture above – which is known for its dark burgundy foliage, Aeonium haworthii ‘Kiwi,’ with vibrant green and pink variegation, and Aeonium ‘Sunburst,’ recognized for its yellow and green leaves that develop reddish edges in sunlight.
Echeverias are another succulent with stunning rosettes of leaves. Originating from Mexico and Central America, echeverias are low-maintenance and perfect for beginners and time-poor plant owners.
Echeverias varieties exhibit various shades of green, blue, pink, purple, and even silver foliage.
Some popular varieties of echeverias include Echeveria ‘Lola,’ which displays beautiful lavender-pink leaves with a ruffled edge, Echeveria ‘Perle von Nürnberg’ (pictured above), admired for its powdery lavender-gray leaves with a hint of pink, and Echeveria ‘Black Prince,’ with dark, almost black foliage.
Gasterias are easy-care, hardy plants originating from South Africa.
Gasterias usually have thick, fleshy leaves, often speckled or marked with intricate patterns, that resemble the texture of a reptile’s skin. The leaves can range in color from deep green to shades of gray and even reddish-brown.
Some popular varieties of gasterias include Gasteria ‘Little Warty’ (pictured above), which has leaves in small rosettes with bumpy, wart-like textures, Gasteria bicolor, admired for its two-toned leaves with contrasting dark green and lighter green markings, and Gasteria ‘Variegata’, prized for its variegated leaves with creamy yellow stripes.
Graptopetalums are gorgeous succulent plants known for their delicate rosette-shaped clusters and stunning color variations. Native to Mexico, graptopetalums have thick, fleshy leaves that grow in rosettes, forming tight clusters. The leaves come in a range of colors, including shades of green, gray, lavender, and even pink, often with a powdery or frosty coating.
Some popular varieties of graptopetalums include Graptopetalum paraguayense, commonly known as the Ghost Plant (pictured above), admired for its silvery gray leaves that blush with pink in sunlight, Graptopetalum amethystinum, with its stunning lavender or purple-hued leaves, and Graptopetalum pentandrum ‘Superbum,’ featuring chubby, powdery lilac-purple leaves.
Haworthias are succulents native to Southern Africa that are low-maintenance plants.
They have a wide range of appearances. Haworthia attenuata, commonly known as Zebra Plant, for example, has long, triangular-shaped, dark green leaves with white horizontal stripes. While Haworthia cooperi (pictured above), has short, stubby leaves that form a dense rosette and have a translucent, almost glass-like appearance. Haworthia retusa, known for its triangular-shaped leaves with intricate patterns of white lines, is another popular haworthia.
Living Stones – Lithops
Lithops are a unique type of succulent that look like small stones or pebbles, giving rise to their common name of Living Stones.
They are easy to care for and there are over 100 varieties in different colors. If you care for your Living Stones well, you may even be blessed with a stunning daisy-like flower once the plant matures.
Lithops are small, usually only growing to be about 2 inches (5 cm) tall.
Peperomias are a diverse range plants, known for their attractive foliage and compact growth.
Peperomias often have small, thick leaves that come in various shades of green, ranging from dark and glossy to light and variegated. Some popular varieties of peperomias include Peperomia Graveolens, Ruby Glow (pictured above), Peperomia obtusifolia, Baby Rubber Plant, with shiny, round leaves, Peperomia caperata, with its heart-shaped leaves and textured surface resembling crumpled paper, and Peperomia argyreia, also known as Watermelon Peperomia, with striking silver and green striped leaves resembling a watermelon rind.
Peperomias work well indoors as they thrive in low to medium light conditions and are relatively easy to care for.
Sedum is a large group of succulent plants known to be hardy and low maintenance. The sedum genre of succulents covers a wide variety of different shapes, sizes and colors. Still, sedum plants generally have fleshy, thick leaves often arranged in a circular rosette pattern, flat-rose structure or stacked on top of each other. The leaves may be smooth or slightly hairy, ranging in color from green to red, pink, purple, or blue. The leaves may be round, oval, lance-shaped, or even spatulate.
Some popular sedum varieties include Sedum spectabile, (Autumn Joy), prized for its clusters of pink flowers that transition to rusty red in late summer and fall, Sedum morganianum (Donkey’s Tail), with its trailing stems and donkey-tail-shaped leaves. Plus Sedum sieboldii, October Stonecrop (pictured above), which is admired for its rounded, blue-green leaves and delicate pink flowers.
Note some Sedum are now classified by the scientific name of Hylotelephium, and you may see plants of this species referred to as Sedum, Hylotelephium or by their common name of Stonecrop (not confusing at all!).
Sempervivum, is another rosette plant with beautiful leaf arrangements that look like flowers. Sempervivum varieties are known commonly as hens and chicks houseleek plants because of the chicks – or young offsets – that grow around the mother, or hen, plant. There are over 40 varieties of Sempervivum. They are a cold-hardy succulent that can withstand frosty temperatures.
Sempervivum have thick, fleshy, oval-shaped leaves with pointy tips and tiny teeth on the edges. They exhibit a range of foilage colors, including shades of green, red, purple, and even silver.
Some popular varieties of sempervivums include Sempervivum arachnoideum, known as Cobweb Houseleek (pictured above), with its compact rosettes covered in delicate white web-like hairs, Sempervivum tectorum, prized for its classic hens and chicks formation, and Sempervivum ‘Red Beauty,’ admired for its vibrant red or burgundy leaves that intensify in color during the cooler months.
Things To Keep In Mind When Choosing Cat-Friendly Succulents For Your Home
As you have seen above, there is a wide variety of succulents that are safe for cats.
Here are a few additional things to keep in mind when choosing succulents for a home with cats:
- Avoid succulents that are poisonous to cats. If you’re not sure whether a particular plant is safe for cats, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and avoid it altogether. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has a full list of plants, not just succulents, that are toxic and non-toxic for cats.
- Choose cat-friendly succulents. Most cat-friendly succulent varieties are not only safe for cats but also easy to care for.
- Try to avoid succulents and cacti with sharp thorns or spines. Even though the thorns may not be toxic, they will be painful for your cat if it brushes past them or gets one stuck in a paw.
- Keep your succulents out of reach of your cat, if possible. We know succulents like sunny windows – and so do cats. But if you can keep your succulents and your cats separate, you’ll avoid potential damage to your succulent (and your cat).
- Keep your cat away from potting mix; some store-bought potting mixes can contain ingredients that are harmful to cats; it’s always best to check the label before buying.
There are plenty of succulents that are safe for cats and you can have a harmonious home with feline friends and beautiful succulent plants. You just need to select from the wide range of plants that are not toxic for cats and try to keep your cat away from your plants as much as you can.
If you want to know which succulent species are toxic to cats and you should definitely avoid, see our post 11 Succulent Plants Toxic To Cats, Dogs, Or Pets.