Friday, March 30, 2012

Planting a Flower Garden That is Safe for Cats

Planting a garden can be great fun and is a wonderful way to spend some time outside by yourself or with your family and friends. However, your pets may also spend time outdoors in the spring and summer and they can be affected by the plants you grow. Whether you're planting a large garden in your backyard or simply filling a window box in your kitchen, you should be well aware of what might harm your cats and other animal companions before you put a single seed into the ground.

Plants for a Sunny Garden

If you have a garden that gets a lot of sun, you'll want to select plants that thrive in the sun. Typically, the plants listed here thrive on more than four hours of sun. I've divided the list into annuals and perennials. Annuals are those plants that must be replanted every spring. Perennials return year after year, but they are more expensive.

Annuals that thrive in a sunny garden and are safe for your cats and other pets include:
  • Calendula
  • Cosmos
  • Petunia
  • Snapdragons
  • Zinnia
Perennials that you might consider include:
  • Bee Balm
  • Catmint (this one will attract cats and have them nibbling at it all summer)
  • Coneflowers
  • Pholx
  • Roses
Plants for a Partial Sun Garden

Plants that thrive in one to four hours of direct sunlight a day are considered partial sun plants. Annuals that thrive in partial sun and are safe for cats include:
  • Butterfly Flower
  • Nasturtium
  • Primrose
  • Spider Flower
Perennials that might work well for a garden frequented by cats include:
  • Columbine
  • Coral Bells
  • Goat's Beard
  • Turf Lily
Plants for a Shady Garden

Planting a garden in an area that received little to no direct sunlight can sometimes pose a problem. However, there are plants that thrive in the shade and are still safe for your feline companions. Annuals that meet this criteria include:
  • Coleus
  • Impatiens
  • Violet
Perennials you might like include:
  • Astible
  • Bugbane
  • Queen of the Meadow
  • Yellow Corydalis
There are many other options for a cat-safe garden. When in doubt, do your research and ask both your garden center and your veterinarian. Don't assume that any plant is safe, because many plants can be fatal to any cat that ingests it. Remember, cats like to chew on plants, and they don't always know which plant is safe.

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