Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Plant a Dog-Safe Garden

Plants and flowers are nature's attention getters. Their fragrance, appearance, and cool shade they create are natural attractants for you and your pet. Curiosity often leads pets to consume the flowers and foliage of ornamental plants, which can produce irritating and sometimes life threatening side effects.

When planning your garden, select plants that are non-toxic if touched or consumed.

Plants for a Sunny Location

If the location of your garden gives you 4 or more hours of direct sunlight a day, you have a long list of annuals and perennials from which to choose. Safe choices for sunny locations include:

Zinnia (Zinnia sp.)
Snapdragons (Antirrhinum sp.)
Cosmos (Cosmos sp.)
Calendula (Callendula sp.)
Petunia (Petunia sp.)

Bee Balm (Monarda sp.)
Phlox (Phlox sp.)
Roses (Rose sp.)
Catmint/catnip (Nepeta sp.)
Coneflowers (Echinacea purpura)

Plants for Partial Sun

If your garden receives less than 4 hours of direct sunlight a day, the following list of non-toxic annuals and perennials requires less sunlight.

Primrose(Primula sp.)
Butterfly flower(Schianthus sp.)
Spider flower (Cleome sp.)
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum sp.)

Columbine(Aquilegia sp.)
Coral Bells (Heuchera sp.)
Turf Lilly (Liriope sp.)
Goat's Beard (Aruncus dioicus)

Shade Gardens

A shade garden receives little to no direct sunlight, although the sun may filter through the trees for dappled light. Plant selection for these areas may include the following:

Begonia (Begonia sp.)
Impatiens (Impatiens sp.)
New Guinea Impatiens
Violet (Viola sp.)
Coleus (Coleus sp.)

Hosta (Hosta sp.)
Bugbane (Cimifuga racemosa)
Yellow Corydalis (Corydalis lutea)
Astilbe (Astilbe sp.)
Queen of the Meadow (Filipendula ulmaria)

The 10 Least Wanted

The following is a list of plants that is best to avoid altogether due to their toxic nature. It is not a comprehensive list, if you are considering any plant of which you are unsure; consult your local plant nursery.

Castor bean (Ricinus communis)
Oleander (Nerium oleander)
Morning Glory (Ipomea sp.)
Japanese Yew (Taxus cuspidata)
Jerusalem Cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum)
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
Nightshade (Atropa belladonna)
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
Precatory Beans (Arbus precatorius)
Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans)


  1. It has been brought to our attention by one of our readers that according to the ASPCA site http://www.aspca.org/Pet-care/poison-control/plant-list-dogs.aspx lists both hostas and begonias as TOXIC to dogs. We will do more research......

  2. Same for Coral Bells. I was researching dog safe shade plants and the ASPCA says they are indeed toxic to dogs -- while other sites (this one) say otherwise. I'll play on the safe side and not plant Coral Bells.


  3. Hi Jeffro,

    Appreicate your stopping by and posting this information, thank you!