Being a big plant lover living in a mini jungle with two house rabbits, I'm often asked "what houseplants are bunny safe?" Despite getting this question so often I'm always a little reluctant to answer/put out a blog post on this topic, as honestly there isn't a ton of literature available on the topic. Moreover, I personally like to adopt the mindset that ANY houseplant I keep at home could be 'toxic' to my rabbits regardless of what the internet says, as all bunnies can react differently. There is also such a large variety of houseplants that it can be very difficult to fully cover which ones are safe and which ones aren't.
Nevertheless, I thought it would be more helpful to provide some guidance on this topic, rather than to say nothing at all, in case you do want to bring houseplants into your home whilst having rabbits.
In general, I really do believe the best approach to take if you want to keep your bunnies safe is to adopt the same mindset too - i.e. all houseplants should be considered toxic to rabbits no matter what. However, this doesn't mean you can't have houseplants if you have rabbits, but it's a personal decision you need to make and you need to consider where you fall on the following scale:
1) I only want to keep completely safe houseplants that my bunnies can freely eat without harm.
2) I want 'safe' houseplants that if my bunny were to have a small nibble of by accident, they likely wouldn't have any issues, however, I will still do my best to keep them out of reach regardless.
3) I want all varieties of houseplants but I will ensure they are completely out of reach and never accessible.
I fall a little in between the latter two - I have pretty much all varieties of houseplants, those considered pretty toxic and those that are not necessarily 'safe' but not particularly toxic either. I do my best to bunny-proof all houseplants irrespective of this, but in the rare cases that my bunnies do manage to sneak a nibble in, it's completely impossible that these will be the known particularly toxic ones as these will be on high shelves that the buns will never be able to reach.
So, let's get into options.
Unfortunately, this list is going to be a little small, but I'm going to give you two options that allow you to have some greenery in your house/bedroom without putting your rabbits at any risk at all.
1) Indoor Herb Garden
While most people like to have outdoor herb gardens, you can actually grow your own herbs indoors as well! This is probably the most fun safe option you can take if you want to have greenery indoors without harming your rabbits.
There are tons of rabbit safe herbs (as you likely know) and an added benefit is that you can literally save £££'s buying your bunny's breakfast at supermarkets by growing your bunny's faves at home! Try growing your own basil, thyme, parsley, coriander, etc in little pots around your room as your own bunny-safe houseplants, or fill a large wooden crate with a variety of different herbs that you allow your rabbit access to on a daily basis. As always with fresh greens, make sure new herbs are introduced slowly, and be mindful that the bulk of a rabbit's diet should always be hay.
2) Indoor Grass patch
This might sound a little odd - especially if you have a garden, but growing an indoor grass patch or little indoor pots of grass for your rabbits can be another fun and safe way to introduce some greenery into your space. Moreover, with your own indoor grass patch, you don't have to worry about your rabbits munching on any potentially poisonous plants or fallen leaves that can often be present in an outdoor garden space.
Grass is surprisingly easy to grow indoors - so watch a couple of youtube videos and grow your own little patch, just ensure whatever you choose to sow is a bunny-safe variety 😀.
Here I've listed some houseplants that are safer options for you to have in the house but still need to be bunny-proofed. These are either frequently listed on the internet as safe for rabbits, safe for pets in general, or based on my personal experiences.
However, please DO NOT allow your rabbits to freely access or eat these plants, and ensure to bunny proof them as best as you can (you can read how to bunny-proof houseplants here). However, if your bunny gets a nibble or two, they likely shouldn't experience any negative effects.
**With that being said, if your rabbit does manage to get a nibble or two, please always watch them carefully after and be on alert. All rabbits can react differently even if a plant is considered rabbit safe - some may be more sensitive, while others could plow through numerous houseplants and be completely fine. While you shouldn't panic, it's always best to be safe and smart when it comes to bunnies as they can be very sensitive creatures. Accidents can happen so it's always best to assume the worst rather than to assume nothing will happen. Ensure they eat a large amount of hay immediately after, and have your vet's phone number or a poison hotline on hand just in case. Keep an eye out for changes in poop, appetite, and or any behavioural changes or strange signs. If you are in the slightest bit concerned due to any symptom your bunny might be showing, do not hesitate to seek help from your vet or a local poison hotline.**
1) Jade Plant
The Jade plant, also commonly known as the Money plant/Money tree is an absolutely beautiful succulent with thick tree-like stems. They are pretty easy to care for and like bright sunny spots (so window-sills are a great option). When it comes to watering, they require a good balance - they shouldn't be watered too often as they can get root rot, however shouldn't be left to dry out completely between waterings.
Even though many succulents are considered toxic to rabbits and other pets in general, Jade plants are frequently referenced as pet-safe and additionally bunny-safe. There is little evidence to suggest that they are toxic to rabbit's which makes them a good option for rabbit owners.
Calatheas are widely known as pet-safe houseplants and many rabbit owners do opt to keep these in their homes as a result. There are many different beautiful varieties of Calatheas which makes them another great option if you want rabbit 'safe' options (pictured Calathea Orbifolia (left) and Calathea Triostar (right).
These plants like bright but indirect sunlight as direct sunlight can burn their leaves. When it comes to watering they prefer their soil to be moist but shouldn't be left sitting in water. Their leaves will droop when they are thirsty letting you know they need a drink.
3) Spider Plant
Spider plants are great beginner plants and look gorgeous too. They are considered to be pet-safe plants but aren't explicitly described as either rabbit safe or toxic to rabbits. However, they can be good options for rabbit owners, as they look great as hanging plants (so will be out of reach) and don't easily drop leaves. My rabbits have managed to sneak in a nibble or two in the past without any negative effects (and other rabbit owners online have described similar experiences), however, as always, don't take this to assume you can feed these to your rabbits. You can read more about their care on my blog post on 5 beginner house plants here.
4) Pilea Peperomioides
Pilea isn't on any list of toxic houseplants for rabbits (that I've come across), and is considered safe for pets in general. While I haven't seen it referenced anywhere as outright bunny-safe, I actually had a personal experience with this plant very recently. Normally my Pilea is completely out of reach, but during a cleaning session, I placed it on my bed and removed the bunnies' access to the bed while I was out of the room. Somehow however, Butter still managed to get on the bed and had munched 3/4 of the whole plant while I was away. I was extremely worried but was pretty sure it was a pet-friendly plant (which I confirmed after a quick google). I monitored her closely for the whole day and made sure she had lots of hay immediately after. Thankfully she displayed absolutely no signs of any disturbances whatsoever and her appetite and poop were completely normal. With that being said, I don't recommend you do the same, however, I believe the sources of it being a pet-friendly plant are pretty accurate based on our experience 😊.
Pilea loves sunlight but shouldn't be kept in direct sunlight. Their leaves have the tendency to grow towards the sunlight, so to grow a round and symmetrical-looking plant, ensure you rotate your plant about 3 times a week! Their leaves tend to get pretty droopy when they need a drink & they usually do well with a weekly watering.