by American Stalls May 23, 2023
This is the time of the year for selecting beautiful blooms that will grace your garden all season long. For horse lovers, the green thumb may extend to the barn as well. When it comes to adding seasonal flowers to enhance the landscaping, one thing to think about is how safe are those plants are. Many flowers, shrubs, and bushes can be toxic to animals and more specifically horses if ingested.
While there might be some areas around the barn that don’t see horse traffic, knowing that flowers are non-toxic gives you one less thing to worry about around the farm. While we may never intend for horses to get into the landscaping, a quick swipe and a mouthful of the wrong plant can have disastrous consequences, so choosing the right plants is important. Additionally, as horse people, plants that make the cut need to be hearty and low maintenance. If you are looking for some inspiration, here are a few flowers that are easy to grow and non-toxic for horses:
Day Lily (Hemerocallis graminea) – If you are looking for a sun loving Perennial, this one is low maintenance and grows in clumps and provide beautiful blooms that last only a day each as their name implies. They are a standout with their height that can add interest to any garden. They are drought resistant and not picky about soil quality. Fun fact: they are not actually lilies.
Coreopsis aka Tickseed (Coreopsis spp.) – Another perennial that thrives in the sunshine, producing colorful daisy like blooms from early summer thru the fall. In addition to being horse friendly, it is also an attractor of butterflies, bees, and other pollinators.
Zinnia (Zinnia species) – This fun in the sun annual, may only be around for the season, but the impact they have is impressive. Coming in an array of vibrant colors and sizes, they look just as good in the garden as they do in a vase on the kitchen counter. These beauties even get to work pulling up toxins out of the soil, a process called phytoremediation.
Common Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) – This classic annual thrives in cooler temperatures, making it perfect adding color in the early spring. With a trim back when the temperatures spike, it can encourage a second, late season bloom. They are not just non-toxic for horses; they are edible for humans and can be used as garnishes.
Coral Bells aka Heuchera (Heuchera sanguinea) – This versatile perennial thrives in the semi-shade. It grows in mounds and has a base of woody rootstock. Named for the traditional small coral bells that form in early spring, they attract hummingbirds and other pollinators. To help them thrive, they will need to be split every few years.
Impatiens, New Guinea Impatiens (Impatiens spp.) – To bring color to the shadiest of garden spaces, Impatiens are a great choice. This annual does best with well drained soil and warm conditions but can tolerate sunnier areas if kept properly watered. They come in a wide array of colors and are easy to grow in garden beds, containers and hanging baskets.
When it comes to picking the perfect plants for your horse farm, choosing non-toxic varieties is a great place to start. To check and see if a flower you are considering is safe for your horse, check out aspca.com for a full list of toxic and safe plants for horses and other animals. If you want your horse barn to look as good as your garden, American Stalls can help create a beautiful and functional space for your horses.