Are you at your wits end trying to protect indoor plants from pets?
Cats and dogs love dirt, they dig in it, play in it and if a cat’s litter box isn’t clean they may find a back-up location in your potted plants. Some pets will leave the dirt alone but are irresistibly drawn to the leaves, either to nibble on or bat at. There is no fail-safe plant but there are some tips and tricks you can follow to protect indoor plants from pets.
The biggest problem and the most damaging to an indoor plant is a cat deciding to use the dirt as a litter box. Once a cat has done this once, the odor is there and it is going to be hard to stop them from going back.
1. To prevent cats from turning your plant into a litter box, cover the dirt in larger pots with lava rock, pine cones, wood chips or place seashells upside down. A cat will not like the feel of either of these materials on their paws and will not feel comfortable using the pot as a bathroom.
2. Dogs are easier to train and keep away from plants but it is harder for other animals. Especially for cats – a deterrent may be necessary to keep them away. You can use a spray bottle of water to stop them from chewing on plant leaves or digging in the dirt.
3. Since cats don’t like anything from the citrus family you can put fresh citrus rinds at the base of the plant. Other options would be crushed garlic cloves or adding 8 drops lemon essential oil to 8 oz of water and spray the base of the plant. Ingredients with strong scents, such as citrus oils and peels, vinegar, citronella, pepper, and garlic, repel cats because they don’t like the smell. Most repellents can be used both indoors and out.
4. Deter pets and bugs with this blend. A good “all purpose” plant spay is 32 oz water, 1 tsp liquid soap and 32 drops of peppermint essential oil. Peppermint will naturally keep the bugs and protect indoor plants from pets.
5. Keep your soil nice and moist, not only is this good for the plant, cats will not enjoy digging in wet dirt. Some trial and error may be called for until you find the right solution that works for your pets.
6. You can satisfy your cat’s need to add some greens to their diet. You can buy “cat grass” that’s easy to grow and you only water it once. Cat Grass Plus has a 98% germination rate so cats can start enjoying healthy, vibrant grass in just one week. You can also plant wheat grass yourself. You can find wheat grass seeds on Amazon or at your local health food store. Please them in dirt that is kept moist and in a sunny location.
7. Fresh catnip is another healthy option. The plant is not difficult to grow indoors. Catnip has a decent supply of vitamins and fiber which can aid in digestion. Catnip are bushy plants spreading 2-3′ when mature. Very drought-tolerant once plants are established. Perennial in zones 3-9. Sow seeds indoors just beneath surface of soil. Transplant outdoors in early spring just before last frost. For maximum flavor and aroma, plant in a dry, sandy, sunny area; however, catnip will tolerate most soils and partial shade. Catnip is very inexpensive and can be purchased on Amazon.
Of course, if you give your cats catnip, wheatgrass or cat grass to chew on, you’ll want to keep these plants with their food and water. Keep them away from the plants you do not want them to chew on to avoid giving mixed signals.
If all else fails, buy hanging plants instead or put the plants in an inaccessible location.
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