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18 Parrot-Safe Houseplants For Your Urban Jungle

Home » Parrot facts » 18 Parrot-Safe Houseplants For Your Urban Jungle

18 Parrot-Safe Houseplants For Your Urban Jungle

Combining parrots and houseplants can be difficult. Our birds just love to chew everything, and a nice green plant is particularly attractive. Any plants you bring into your home therefore need to be 100% non-toxic!

What many Psittacology readers don’t know about me is that I used to run a large houseplant website. Having spent many years as an urban jungle guru, I’ve learned exactly which plants are and aren’t safe for our feathered pets.

So without further ado: here are 18 fully parrot-safe houseplants you can use to decorate your space without worry.

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18 parrot-safe houseplants for your urban jungle

Although many common houseplants are toxic to birds, luckily there are also loads that are safe. Below, I’ll discuss non-toxic genera and the most common species within them, all of which you’re likely to come across in your local plant store or garden center.

I’ll include a photo of each in case you stumble upon any unidentified houseplants and aren’t sure whether they’re safe for your feathered friend.

1. Sword ferns

Nephrolepis exaltata houseplant

Genus name: Nephrolepis

Most common plants: Boston fern or sword fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)

Care: indirect light, keep lightly moist

2. Spider plants

Chlorophytum comosum houseplant

Genus name: Chlorophytum

Most common plants: Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum, see photo)

Care: Easy! Indirect light, water when soil is half dry.

3. African violets

Streptocarpus houseplant flowers

Genus name: Saintpaulia/Streptocarpus

Most common plants: African violet (Saintpaulia/Streptocarpus sp.)

Care: Indirect sunlight, keep the soil lightly moist.

4. Parlor & bamboo palms

Chamaedorea palm houseplant

Genus name: Chamaedorea

Most common plants: Parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans)

Care: Plenty of light, keep lightly moist.

5. Spleenworts

Genus name: Asplenium

Most common plants: Bird’s nest fern (Asplenium nidus)

Care: Indirect light, keep lightly moist.

6. Air plants

Genus name: Tillandsia

Most common plants: Tillandsia xerographica, Tillandsia ionantha

Care: Do not plant in soil. Plenty of sun, regular spraying and soaking.

Did you know? Tillandsias are members of the Bromeliad family, Bromeliaceae. They’re not the only non-toxic Bromeliads: most of them are safe and bloom beautifully! The pineapple plant, Ananas comosus, is a nice example.

7. Areca palms

Dypsis lutescens houseplant

Genus name: Dypsis

Most common plants: Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens)

Care: Plenty of light and keep the soil lightly moist.

8. Prayer plants

Maranta leuconeura houseplant

Genus name: Maranta

Most common plants: Prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura)

Care: A bit fussy. Keep lightly moist, place in indirect light.

9. “The other” prayer plants

(Yes, both Maranta and Goeppertia, as well as the equally non-toxic genus Calathea, are known as prayer plants.)

Goeppertia insignis houseplant

Genus name: Goeppertia

Most common plants: Pin-stripe calathea (Goeppertia ornata), peacock plant (Goeppertia makoyana), rattlesnake plant (Goeppertia insignis, see photo) & more

Care: A bit fussy. Keep lightly moist, indirect light.

10. Radiator plants

Genus name: Peperomia

Most common plants: Baby rubber plant (Peperomia obtusifolia), raindrop plant (Peperomia polybotrya), watermelon plant (Peperomia argyreia, see photo) & more

Care: Indirect light, keep lightly moist.

11. Maidenhair ferns

Adiantum fern houseplant

Genus name: Adiantum

Most common plants: Maidenhair fern (Adiantum sp.)

Care: A bit fussy. Indirect light, keep quite moist.

Did you know? There are loads of other safe ferns. You can also try the popular button fern (Pellaea rotundifolia) and the blue star fern (Phlebodium aureum).

12. Holiday cacti

Schlumbergera truncata houseplant

Genus name: Schlumbergera

Most common plants: Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata, see photo), Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera × buckleyi)

Care: Lots of indirect light, water when soil is half dry

Did you know? Holiday cacti are referred to as jungle cacti. There are other gorgeous similar species, like those of the genus Epiphyllum and Hylocereus (the dragon fruit plant) that are perfectly safe.

13. Ponytail palms

Beaucarnea recurvata houseplant

Genus name: Beaucarnea

Most common plants: Ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata, see photo)

Care: Lots of sun, water when soil is dry

14. Banana trees

Banana tree houseplant

Genus name: Musa

Most common plants: Musa acuminata

Care: Lots of sun, keep lightly moist

15. Moth orchids

Phalaenopsis orchid houseplant

Genus name: Phalaenopsis

Most common plants: Moth orchid (Phalaenopsis sp.)

Care: Plant in orchid bark, soak regularly. Indirect light.

Did you know? Pretty much the entire orchid family, Orchidaceae, is safe. Try a nice Dendrobium or Cattleya if you don’t like moth orchids!

16. Pilea plants

Pilea peperomioides houseplant

Genus name: Pilea

Most common plants: Chinese money plant (Pilea peperomioides)

Care: Indirect light, water when the soil is half dry

17. Cast iron plants

Aspidistra houseplant

Genus name: Aspidistra

Most common plants: Cast iron plant (Aspidistra eliator)

Care: Quite sturdy. Offer indirect light, keep the soil lightly moist.

18. Haworthias

Haworthia retusa houseplant

Genus name: Haworthia & Haworthiopsis

Most common plants: Zebra Haworthia (Haworthiopsis attenuate), star cactus (Haworthia retusa, see photo)

Care: Indirect light, water when soil is dry.

BONUS: All carnivorous plants

Can’t let you plant lovers leave without a juicy bonus! Yes, you read that right. Ironically, carnivorous plants are safe for your parrot.

These plants eat bugs, not birds—even the biggest species won’t typically catch more than small lizards. Whilst large carnivorous plants in the wild have occasionally been recorded accidentally catching smaller passerine birds (such as tits), parrots are simply too large to make a meal.

There are loads of species to choose from.

Nepenthes carnivorous houseplant

Genus name: Drosera, Dionaea, Nepenthes, Sarracenia, Pinguicula, Utricularia & more

Most common plants: Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula), Cape sundew (Drosera capensis), pitcher plant (Nepenthes sp., see photo)

Care: Special care requirements. Most need direct sun and lots of distilled water, never tap water.

Where can I buy parrot-safe houseplants?

Good question! Many of the plants discussed in this post will be available at your local plant store, garden center, or big box stores like Lowe’s. They’re all common species, so you won’t have trouble finding them.

You can also easily buy houseplants online, my personal favorite option because there tends to be more choice and it’s easier to browse. I particularly like buying houseplants on Etsy, where you can find a mind-boggling array for good prices. Give it a try!

Pilea peperomioides houseplant in seagrass hanger
Etsy also has loads of fun planters and hangers, often handmade!

Frequently asked questions

How do I stop my parrot from eating my houseplants?

Some things can help, like giving your parrot its own plants to chew up (like a basil plant) and making sure it has plenty of toys to play with.

But in the end, parrots are parrots. The only surefire way to keep them away is to either place the plant in a protective cage, or put it in a room your bird doesn’t have access to. Even bitter apple spray apparently doesn’t really work to deter our birds!

Why is my parrot eating houseplant soil?

Yeah, mine too. Although my birds always leave my houseplants alone, one of my budgies was obsessed with the perlite soil amendment! It stopped when I moved around the calcium blocks and cuttlebones, and added a few more.

Your parrot should not be eating soil; it’s not safe. Cover the soil with pebbles and consider getting a blood panel done on your bird, as it may be lacking certain nutrients in its diet.

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of parrot-safe houseplants. There’s more out there. But I think it’s safe to say that you’ve got plenty of popular plants to choose from!

If you have a question about a specific plant and whether it’s parrot-safe or not, feel free to leave a comment below. And be sure to share your own favorite bird-proof houseplants! I’ll start: mine are the carnivorous butterworts of the genus Pinguicula.


Hewitt-Cooper, N. (2012). A case of bird capture by a cultivated specimen of the hybrid Nepenthes x mixta. Carnivorous Plant Newsletter, 41(1), 31-33.

Lightfoot, T. L., & Yeager, J. M. (2008). Pet bird toxicity and related environmental concerns. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice, 11(2), 229-259.

  • Marijke Puts

    Marijke is a full-time niche blogger and pop science writer, founder of Psittacology, and overly enthusiastic bird mom. Originally from The Netherlands but living in sunny Spain, she spends her time wrangling cockatiels, writing about parrots, cooking, diving and hiking. About me

  • Dr Daisy A. May, Veterinary Surgeon

    Psittacology's resident fact-checking vet, Daisy has always had a keen interest in all things avian, and grew up with conures, Indian ringnecks, and kakarikis. Determined to pursue a career helping furry and feathered beings, she qualified with distinction from the University of Liverpool vet school in 2019. About me

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