House plants brighten a home and bring nature indoors. They provide psychological and physical benefits, filtering the air within our houses. House plants pose a concern, however, when children are present in a home. Young hands and curious mouths explore these plants. Choosing non-toxic house plants ensures that children are not able to accidentally ingest a plant that will cause harm.
Red African Violet
The Red African Violet, Episcia reptans, is a delicate perennial. Despite the moniker given to this non-toxic house plant, Episcia reptans is not related to the plant most people refer to as the African Violet, Saintpaulina spp. The Red African Violet is also a misnomer. These plants are not native to any part of Africa, but rather Central and South America. Red African Violets prefer a slightly humid climate and moist soil rich in nitrogen and potassium. They grow best in partial shade or indirect sunlight.
Dracaena fragrans, commonly known as the Corn Plant or Chinese Monkey Tree, is native to western Africa. This non-toxic house plant grows up to 20 feet in height in its native environment, but is limited by the size of its pot when cultivated indoors. The drought tolerant corn plant can grow in a variety of light ranging from full sun to nearly full shade, making it ideal for busy plant owners who occasionally forget their house plants. Dracaena fragrans has glossy, dark green leaves. Some species possess yellow striping on the foliage. The flowers of the Chinese Monkey Tree are yellow or shades of pink.
The Spider Plant, Chlorophytum comosum, is a non-toxic house plant found in many homes. This plant is given its common name by the appearance of new growth on the plant, which appears in offshoots from the main plant that look like tiny spiders. Spider plants are tolerant to neglect, appearing on the brink of death to be revitalized again and again. Chlorophytum comosum grows in full sun to full shade and prefers well drained soil. Well suited for hanging baskets, this plant has long, narrow green and yellow leaves that can reach up to 15 inches in length.
Arrowroot, Maranta arundinacea, is a perennial herb also called the Obedience Plant. Arrowroot is a tropical plant, native to parts of Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Caribbean. This plant has tall, green leaves and flowers ranging in shade from white to red. It prefers full sun to partial shade and moist, but not overly wet, soil. In addition to lush foliage and beautiful flowers, Maranta arundinacea is used in cooking as a source of starch.