100+ Houseplants That Are Non-Toxic To Parrots
Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay
As the eager and responsible keepers of parrots that we are, we go above and beyond to surround our avian companions with an ecosystem of love, nutrition, and engagement. I don’t know one parront who doesn’t also appreciate the beauty and healing power of plants as well- both inside and outside of the home. We all know that parrots eat largely plant-based diets. But have you ever wondered how wild parrots learn to judge between toxic plants and those that are safe to eat?
Fledglings acquire their foraging skills through social learning- by observing and imitating their parents and other flock members who are fully-fledged. Their survival instincts make them opportunists too; without the wisdom of ancestors to guide them, they will get into all kinds of things they shouldn’t if we aren’t careful. Before we fill our homes with any kind of flora, we must ensure they are safe for our beaky opportunists to explore.
In this article you will find a list of houseplants and foliage that are safe for sprucing up our home environments- so long as they aren’t treated with any chemicals, dyes, or pesticides. For those of you crafty foragers who flip tree branches into natural wood perches for your parrot’s cage or play stand, I’ll also provide some tips to ensure your pickings are non-toxic and pest free.
NON-TOXIC PLANTS AND TREES
Abelia, African Daisy, African Violet, Ailanthus Tree, Air Fern, Aluminum Plant, American Bittersweet, Apple Tree, Aralia Plant, Arbutus, Areca Palm, Artillery Plant, Ash Tree, Aspen Tree, Aspidistra, Autumn Olive
Baby’s Tears, Bachelor Buttons, Ball Fern, Bamboo, Barberry, Bayberry, Beauty Bush, Beech, Begonia, Birch, Bird’s Nest Fern, Black Spruce, Bladdernut, Blood Leaf, Blueberry, Bois D’Arc, Boston Fern, Bottlebrush Fern, Bougainvillea (non-toxic but beware of thorns), Brake Fern, Brazillian Orchids, Bridal Veil, Bromeliads, Burros Tail, Butterfly Bush, Button Fern
Calamint, Calendula, California Holly, Camellia, Canary Island Palm, Cast Iron Plant, Chamomile, Chickweed, Chicory, Chocolate Soldier, Christmas Begonia, Christmas Dagger Fern, Christmas Kalanchoe, Christmas Orchid, Christmas Palm, Christmas Palm, Cissus Kangaroo Vine, Citrus, Claw Cactus, Cocktail Orchids, Coleus, Comfrey, Coral Bell, Coralberry, Cork (not to be confused with cork oak), Cotoneaster, Cottonwood, Crabapple, Crape Myrtle, Creeping Charlie, Creeping Fig, Creeping Jenny
Dahlia, Dancing Doll Orchids, Dandelion, Date, Deer’s Foot Fern, Dill, Dogwood, Donkey Tail, Douglas Fir, Dragonwood, Dwarf Orange
Easter Cactus, Easter Orchid, Edible Fig, Elephant Foot Tree, Elk’s Horn Fern, Elm, Escallonia, European Fan
False Areola, Ficus Benjamina, Fierry Reed Orchid, Fiji Fern, Fir, Fishtail Palm, Fittonia, Flowering Maple, Fly Orchids, Fruitless Mulberry, Fuchsia
Gardenia, Ghost Leafless Orchid, Gold Dust Dracaena, Golden Lace Orchid, Golden Shower Orchid, Goldfish Plant, Gloxina, Grape Ivy, Grape Palm, Green Pepper, Guava
Hackberry, Hawaiian Scheffler, Hawthorn, Hazelnut, Hen and Chickens, Hickory, Howeia Palm, Hoya, Huckleberry
Jade Plant, Jewel Orchid
Kangaroo Vine, Kinnickkinnick
Lace Fern, Lace Orchid, Lady Palm, Larch, Lemon Balm, Leopard Orchid, Lilac, Lipstick Plant, Liquidamber
Madrona, Magnolia, Maidenhair Fern, Mango, Manzanita, Maple (except for Red Maple), Marigold, Maternity Plant, Mesquite (sharp parts removed), Mimosa, Monkey Plant, Moses In The Cradle, Moss, Moth Orchid, Mountain Ash Berries, Mulberry
Nandina, Nasturtium, Natal Plum, Nerve Plant, Nut Trees (excluding chestnut)
Old World Orchid, Orange, Oregano, Oregon Grape
Pansy Orchid, Papaya, Paradise Palm, Parlour Palm, Parsley, Passion Flower Vine, Passionflower, Pecan, Peperomia, Peppermint, Petunia, Phoenix Palm, Photina, Piggy-Back Plant, Pilea, Pine Cone Seed, Pink Polka Dot Plant, Pittosporum, Plectranthus, Polypody Palm, Pony Tail Palm, Poplar, Prayer Plant, Prune, Purple Passion, Purple Tiger, Pussy Willow, Pygmy Date Palm
Rainbow Orchid, Red Spruce, Red-Margined Dracaena, Rhapis Palm, Ribbonwood, Roebelin Palm, Rose (thorns removed), Rosemary, Rubber Fig, Russian Olive
Sassafras, Scarlet Orchid, Sensitive Plant, Silk Tree, Silver Tree, Spice Orchid, Spider Aralia, Spiraea, Squirrel’s Foot Fern, Staghorn Sumac, Star Jasmine, Strawberry Tree, Swedish Ivy, Sweet Gum, Sword Fern, Sycamore
Tahitian Bridal Veil, Tailed Orchid, Thanksgiving Cactus, Thistle, Thurlow, Thyme, Ti Plant, Tiger Orchid, Tin Plant, Tree Fern
Viburnum, Vine Maple
Pussy Willow, Wandering Jew, Warneckei, Wax Plant, Weeping Willow, White Clover, Wiegela, Wild Strawberry
Zebra Plant, Zinnia
Flora identified in this list have been cross-checked with the National Audobon Society in addition to a handful of scientific journals and databases. While opinions tend to vary, the risk is never worth it. For that reason, if a plant appears on ten safe lists and just one unsafe list, then I have not included it here.
Although all of these are safe in their natural forms, humans commonly render them hazardous by adding pesticides, fertilizers, and chemical treatments. The only way to truly know a plant is safe is to raise it in your own, pesticide-free garden. Whether grown at home or found outdoors, beware of fungus and mold growth. Additionally, take care to remove thorns, scrape away sap, and opt for planter pots made of natural materials like terracotta, timber, or stone.
Including an assortment of natural wood perches in our parrots’ enclosures is the best thing we can do to challenge and strengthen their feet, but we must choose wisely. Avoid selecting tree branches in neighborhoods, community parks, or urban spaces where pesticides may have been used. If ever you’re uncertain, give your local forestry department a call and ask if the area has been treated.
Lastly, outdoor plants require special preparation to ensure that bugs, bird droppings, and other harmful contaminants are removed. Both vinegar and grapefruit seed extract are natural, antimicrobial agents that are safe for use around birds. Use either of these to scrub branches, then rinse with water and dry.
The more variety you can offer your parrots, the happier and healthier they will be. We look forward to seeing what you come up with!