Four Ways to Keep Pets from Eating your Plants

By: Debbie Neese
July 28, 2022
Four Ways to Keep Pets from Eating your Plants
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What?! Your pet took a bite out of your favorite new Lively Root plant when you weren't looking? Eeek! Sometimes, our fur babies are like vacuum cleaners. They discover new things and investigate by chomping. To keep plants off their radar, here are a few preventive measures for your plant that you can take to keep the drama down and your plants alive! 

If your pet has eaten a plant and you aren't sure if it is toxic, learn here what signs to look for to help your pet recover!



Preventing your Pet from Eating your Plants

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

If your pet can't see your plants at their level, they're less likely to notice. Move your plants to hanging shelves and baskets or roost them on plant stands high enough that Skippy can't reach them. Things like macrame plant hangers or other hanging holders give them a lift and keep them fashionable! Hanging plants are extra great for cats that love to climb, keeping plants safe from their reach if correctly placed!

Some great options for hanging plants are Bird's Nest Fern, Maidenhair Ferns, Boston Fern, and Fern Asparagus Sprengerii. These have that lacy effect and add texture to any room. If you have shelves or tall cabinets, then add a collection of our succulents with a different variety in each container like the Motley Crew Echeveria Succulents: 4 Pack. These are low-growing and can fit under narrow shelve heights, too. Looking for something a little more fun for open floating shelves? Check out a unique textured plant like the Peperomia Green Bean which is an attention getter and a conversational piece in all the right ways! Pop them all in our eco pots with a macrame hanger. These pots are pretty and eco-friendly, with a lifespan of over ten years (that's 70 in dog years!)


Wreaths, Wall Sconces & Hangers

For some of the most determined pets, alternative options beyond traditional ceiling hangers may help you keep plants out of tricky pets' reaches. Wreaths are a great option, and they aren't all for the holidays exclusively! Succulent wreaths are a great addition to a space that look trendy and add greenery.

Another option to add to your walls is DIY sconces using a plant like the Staghorn Fern. If you're handy, you can make a living sconce by taking the fern's rootball and wrapping it in moss with a fishing line or twine. Then mount it to a weathered board for support. These plants are epiphytes and naturally grow on trees in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Australia. Water the roots with a mister and use foliar fertilizer to keep this one alive and happy.

If walls could talk, they'd invite air plants like the Tillandsia to hang out with them. Wall-hanging vases can be used to display one at a time in a contemporary display. While your pets may see them, they can't reach them!


Training Tricks

Clicker training is a way to get your pet's attention and reinforce good behavior with positive outcomes. Using treats and a clicker, you can help a pet associate a click with a reward to help condition your pet. Clicker training is best when the pet is at least six months old so they can better retain the information!

If clicker training doesn't seem to work, you can also try negative reinforcement to not only show a pet that you don't want them to do something but for them to associate doing it with unpleasant noises. Most commonly, people will use jars of change or clapping to notify the pets that what they are doing is naughty, and sometimes this will help a pet understand what is and isn't okay to do without hurting their feelings.

If none of this training works, consider why your pet may be acting out. Have you played with them enough that day, or are they not getting enough food? Maybe they need more exercise than they are currently getting, or more enrichment items throughout the house to play with. If nothing seems to work, consult with a vet or trainer for more professional tips on how you can approach the situation!


Smells Deter Pets

Different smells deter animals. Just like caustic smells keep us away from nasty chemicals, pets feel the same about some smells as well! Several solutions are available. You can DIY it and mix up one tablespoon of lemon juice in one cup of water. Place it in a spray bottle and spritz the leaves of your plant. The citrus smell often will deter your favorite pet from partaking in chomping the leaf. By the way, our Lemon Button Fern smells like lemon, so the scent is a built-in repellent! White vinegar solutions also can be used for this, but are more likely to cause damage to your plant.

In more extreme cases, there are pet-specific sprays to help prevent them to chewing on things they shouldn't like Sour Apple sprays (which may harm more delicate plants), or solutions like I Must Garden which is endorsed by plant expert Miss Debbie. These products aren't harmful and are often organic solutions to try to deter pets!


Soil Cover

Sometimes the issue is less about leaf eating and more about dirt digging. In these cases, mindfully covering the soil can be a simple solution to keep pets from making a mess. Pine Cones, stone mulch, heavy pebbles, or seashells along with any number of decorative covers can help deter from too much digging - just remember this may make it harder to tell if a plant needs watering, especially if it is something that holds moisture. Using a moisture meter can help combat these issues.

For cats in particular, tin foil is a great solution in areas you don't want them playing. The loud, uncomfortable noise it makes plus the texture is often a deterrent for many cats - try placing them around your houseplants until the cat gets the message, then slowly remove them to see if they stay away.


Pet-Friendly Plants

Arguably, pet-friendly plants will help you rest a little easier. All of these plants mentioned in this article are pet-safe, just in case your fur baby takes a nibble, but we hope with these fool-proof options you can create a safe environment that provides safekeeping for both to exist happily! To find more pet-friendly plants, check out our collection here! We also have a pet-friendly Quarterly Subscription, as well as a Gifted Subscription option!