Plants and animals

Question: which plants to use on a terrace with cats?

Hello, we have two balconies (to the east the one in the sleeping area, to the west the one in the living area) and we would like to embellish them with some plants and flowers that are not harmful to our cat. Also, on the west balcony, I would also like to put a small vegetable garden. The last wish is a jasmine from Madagascar (which, unlike the 'classic' one, should not be poisonous if chewed). Can you help me ? Thanks so much ! Francesca

Plants and animals: Answer: plants and cats

Dear Francesca,
unfortunately do not indicate us the place where you live in Italy, and therefore the suggestions can only be very generic, because if in Rome you can keep a beautiful Bougainvillea on the terrace, if you live in Lombardy you can do it only if you are lucky enough to have a home on Lake Garda and if your terraces are very sunny and protected from frost. That said, we come to your projects, I hope you have really big terraces, because all the plants you want really take up a lot of space. We start from the small vegetable garden, you will need large pots, for example the tanks in which shrubs are planted, where you can grow various salads, aromatic herbs, zucchini, carrots, radishes; a little less recommended pepper and eggplant, and also tomatoes, whose foliage can be stinging to the animals, which will certainly taste it as soon as the seedlings are sufficiently large. Although in fact it does not always happen: I own 4 cats, and although I own a garden, my animals live at home, on the second floor, and come into contact with plants of all kinds, from apartments and terraces; I assure you that over the years they have tasted a little of everything, except for the actually toxic plants, which at this point I think have a bad taste, because they are really vandals, who try to nibble on anything (including the sofa). In this regard, on the terrace I have had a jasmine (jasminum officinale) for a couple of years, and on the other terrace a huge trachelospermum jasminoides of colossal size, and I assure you that none of my cats (even those of neighbors) have ever tasted the leaves of these plants; which, on the other hand, are not toxic to animals. The leaves of some plants can cause vomiting, or slight stomach problems for cats, but not because they contain poisonous substances, but rather because animals cannot digest them, or because they trigger a sort of allergic reaction; but I assure you that the jasmines do not like the cats, that despite they continue to taste the leaves of my hibiscus, the only thing that fano to jasmine consists in digging in the vase. In addition to this, the stephanotis floribunda (or jasmine from Madagascar) is definitely a more delicate plant than the more classic jasmines, and therefore it is easy to grow only in areas with mild winters. If you want easy-to-grow and non-toxic shrubs for animals, you can plant typical geraniums and surfinies, the latter are not toxic, while the former have aromatic foliage, which the cats don't even touch; or some shrub of viburnum, of lilac, of hebe, heuchere of varied color, Eleagni, hawthorns, callistemon, impatiens, dimorphoteche…. There are hundreds of plants that are not toxic to cats, and making a list of them would be so difficult; more than anything else it is perhaps good that you first decide what you want to put on the terrace, in the sense flowering plants, or shrubs, which will go to the sun or shade, in small trays or in large vases, otherwise we could lose hours and hours to quibble about which plants can be used and which are not.