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What are Pet Safe Bushes for Backyard?


We would surely opt for always consider pet-safe bushes for backyard landscaping if we have fur family members. While we like some areas in our yard enhanced with vegetation, we also want to ensure they are not poisonous to our cats and dogs. Our pets bring us joy and their safety and well-being are important to us.


Pets lying on a sofa

We may have observed our cats and dogs nibbling at or sniffing some bushes in our backyards. If we are not careful, our pets may be ingesting toxic plants. And that can cause abdominal pain, skin irritation, diarrhea, and vomiting. Worst, it could be fatal. So, it is vital to choose pet-safe bushes for the backyard to keep our buddies in good health.


Are bushes different from shrubs?

Let’s clear this up before we proceed to avoid confusion. Shrub is another word for bush, and that makes these two words synonymous, alike, or almost the same. They may be used interchangeably. As explained in Simple English Wikipedia:

“A shrub or bush is a category of plants. A tree usually has one stem, which at some height has branches. A shrub can have multiple stems from the bottom up. Usually, bushes do not grow as tall as trees, very often they are less than 1–2 m tall.

Very many plants can be either shrubs or trees, depending on the growing conditions. Small, low shrubs such as lavenderperiwinkle and thyme are often termed subshrubs. Shrubs can be either deciduous or evergreen.

SOURCE: Shrub from Simple English Wikipedia

Deciduous trees and shrubs shed leaves yearly, during the wet season or winter. Evergreen trees and shrubs retain their leaves throughout the year. One to 2 meters tall is equivalent to 3 feet 3.37 inches to 6 feet 6.74 inches.

14 Pet Safe Bushes for Backyard Landscaping

We can plant several flowering and ornamental pet-safe bushes in our backyard without harming our pets. Those in pots can be put indoors for some time, then taken again outdoors. With these bushes, we can have a gorgeous garden with an array of different colors and still enjoy the company of our fur buddy.

1. Sunflower

Pet safe sunflower and a puppy

Sunflower is one of the excellent pet-friendly bushes we can add to our backyard. With its yellow color, it signifies sunshine, joy, and warmth. While the flowers bring us happiness, the seeds provide nutrition to us and our pets. Our dogs love their nutty taste, while our cats love the leaves. However, the hard shell may cause indigestion, so keep the unshelled ones out of reach.

2. Magnolia

Pink magnolia flowers

Magnolia grows as a shrub or tree, depending on the location and climate. When they grow as a bush, we can have an array of beautiful colors in pink, white, and purple. They are also pet-safe plants for the yard, thriving in direct sunlight. The backyard can be so enchanting with magnolia shrubs growing majestically. What other bushes are pet safe? Up next is the calathea or prayer plant.

3. Calatheas

Pet safe calatheas

Calatheas, also known as prayer plants, have vivid patterns on their leaves that go upwards when dusk comes. We can plant them indoors, or outdoors in a shaded area. When they grow in clusters, these pet-safe bushes give beautiful foliage that surely invigorates our home and backyard. We can plant them in low-light areas under a big tree or a canopy. Propagating them is easy because they multiply through rhizomes, where new roots and leaves start to grow.

4. Bamboo Palm

Bamboo pakm growing in the backyard

The bamboo plant is on NASA’s shortlist of air-purifying plants. They are pet-safe and non-toxic to humans. So, if there are children, cats, and dogs around and like to chew on a bamboo leaf, there is no danger because it’s edible.

And in many Asian cuisines, the giant bamboo tree’s shoot is used as an ingredient. We can use the dwarf variety and trim them to prevent them from overgrowing in our backyard. These bamboo bushes lend an exotic feel that transports us into a tropical paradise. Also, they give shade and a wall of privacy for our backyard/

5. Boston Fern 

Pet safe Boston fern

Boston ferns are lovely shrubs with straight fronds that arch as they grow bigger. We can use them as accents or lining for other shrubs as they like bright and indirect light. They don’t flower but contribute their attractive foliage to enhance our homes and backyards. And the best thing, they are non-toxic to us and our pets. So, wherever we put them, they won’t harm our precious cats and dogs.

6. Cast Iron Plant 

Cast iron plant

The cast iron plant has pointed, long leaves that withstand harsh conditions. No wonder this evergreen has a unique name that signifies its characteristics. We can plant it in areas with bright sunlight or put it together with small shrubs like the calathea and Boston fern to offer them some shade.

Cast iron plant has other names, including bar-room plant, ballroom plant, and parlor palm. This hardy plant is pet-safe and can grow as a houseplant as well. So, we can bring them indoors to enjoy the health benefit of purifying the air. We also appreciate the ease of care when growing this durable pest-safe shrub.

8. Camellia

Per safe camellia

Camellia is another pet-safe flowering bush for our backyards.  All parts are harmless to our cats and dogs, even when ingested.  We propagate it through cuttings. That’s why it needs time to establish its roots and requires regular watering. Once it becomes stable, it’s a great addition to our garden.

Camellia blooms in early spring or fall with its beautiful and showy flowers. It is a tough pet-safe shrub used as a foundation for planting, screening, and hedging. When these bushes become thick and tall, they can give privacy to our backyard. They look gorgeous with their exotic hues of flowers as hedging to screen off pedestrians and neighbors.

9. Roses 

Dog licking pet safe bushes of roses

Who doesn’t love roses? We all want to have them in our backyard garden because they come in different lovely colors and varieties. When they bloom all together, we are left in awe of their beauty, and they smell good too! Will our pets be attracted to them?  Maybe, but no worries, they are not toxic should our fur buddies try to nibble on its leaves and flowers. But watch out for their thorns. They are sharp and pointy and can cut deeply. So, we need to prune them to remove dead or dry stems because they can still have sharp and deadly thorns.

10. Snapdragons

Snapdragon bushes

Snapdragons grow from seeds and not cuttings. They create beautiful patches in our backyard. And their colors range from red, orange, yellow, violet, white, and pink to peach. The long-stemmed flowers are so lovely, so beautiful. They make a great flower arrangement for our dining and living areas. They are must-have pet-safe bushes to grow in our garden that prefer regular watering and full sun.

11. Petunias

Petunia bushes with flowers in different colors

Petunias are one of the most versatile perennials to grow in our backyard. They keep coming back every year, for months, to give us their blooms in an array of colors. The flowers are trumpet-like and a great addition to our summer garden. Petunias are not sensitive at all for they are sun-loving. You may plant them in your backyard as ground cover or flowerbed.

12. Marigold

Orange marigold bushes

All flowers are beautiful, and marigold is no exception. It even attracts the bees, and it’s that’s a good thing. The bees are deterrents to beetles and other harmful bugs that can damage our plants. Additionally, it is also a pet-safe bush. Marigold blooms liven up our garden with their golden to orange colors. For that, whether in a pot or planted on the ground, marigolds require about 5 to 6 hours each day of full sunlight.

13. Hibiscus

Pink hibiscus flower

These no-nonsense pet-safe bushes are easy to care for and grow. They can tolerate as much sun but not too much. They love a partly shaded area and can grow tall if unattended. So, we need to prune them by cutting some errant stems to maintain their beauty. The flowers come in different shades, and some varieties come in exotic combinations of colors. They attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds, so expect rich pollination in your garden.

14. Crapemyrtles

Purple crapemyrtle flowers

Crapemyrtles can grow in any type of soil. And these lovely pet-safe bushes are sturdy and beautiful. They have colorful leaves and flowers that need partial sun for at least six hours. Even if not blooming, the colorful foliage is so attractive that creates a showy display in our garden. We could not help but stare at their loveliness. As they can grow tall, we may need to trim them to complement our backyard and prevent overgrowth.


Man and dog playing in the backyard

When we have fur family members, we must choose pet-safe bushes for backyard garden to prevent accidental ingestion of toxic plants. As we can see on the list, there are different varieties to select with exotic colors and shapes. So, we can beautify our backyard and make it safe for pets, too. Our cats and dogs then can freely play in our backyard without getting harmed. We can have both of them at the same time, our fur buddies and our lovely pet-safe bushes and shrubs.



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