Plant

14 Poisonous House Plants to Make You Think Twice

When deciding what houseplants to put in your home, it is important to know which are unsafe for you, your children or your pets. While most toxic plants will only make you sick if you eat them, there are some that will cause a nasty effect simply by touching them. As a precaution, always wear gloves when handling plants, especially when repotting them. Picking up any fallen leaves or flowers will also help prevent accidental ingestion by pets or children.

01. ZZ Plant

Level of Toxicity 2/3
Toxic Parts All parts are poisonous, and the leaves can even cause irritation.

Poisonous House Plants

Poisonous Profile:

As far as houseplants go, this one is kind of a newcomer. Yep, it’s only been around since the 1990s and is becoming fairly easy to find because it’s been really popular among gardeners. It gets its name because of the double Zs in the botanical name. If you come across this plant, you might think it looks fake at first because the leaves are waxy and look so perfect. You don’t need a lot of light to grow this one, either.

Be Aware:

Pets and kids who nibble on the leaves of this plant will experience an upset stomach and vomiting. The leaves can also irritate hands by causing a rash.

The Bottom Line:

Not a good plant for a home with kids or pets. It could make a good option for offices, though, especially since it doesn’t require a lot of water or light to keep alive.

02. Poinsettia

Level of Toxicity 1/3
Toxic Parts All parts, but especially the bracts (which many people refer to as leaves)

Poisonous House Plants

Poisonous Profile:

This one’s potential poisonousness might come as a shock, but don’t get too worked up. Rumors in the past have said that kids have eaten and died from poinsettias, but you might want to check the source. This plant is just mildly toxic to pets, but it’s not going to cause serious problems for the most part. It can cause contact dermatitis to sensitive individuals, though.

Be Aware:

If your pets consumed a large amount of poinsettias, they might be affected with vomiting or nausea, but they would have to have eaten quite a lot!

The Bottom Line:

Don’t stop your tradition of having a poinsettia during the holidays. This plant is probably fine for most homes.

03. Pothos

Level of Toxicity 2/3
Toxic Parts All parts

Poisonous House Plants

Poisonous Profile:

This is a vining plant that truly grows anywhere. It’s been around forever and often gets overlooked, but it’s so versatile. Plus, you don’t have to worry about it getting diseases or having to repot it often. This plant does really well in offices because it doesn’t mind (even thrives) on fluorescent light. Keep in mind that devil’s ivy is one of the common names for this plant, so proceed with a little bit of caution.

Be Aware:

Consuming a little bit of this plant probably won’t cause many problems, but in larger quantities, you could see issues like swelling, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. It could make humans quite sick and, in pets, it could lead to death.

The Bottom Line:

If you have pets or small kids, pick a different houseplant.

04. Peace Lily

Level of Toxicity 1/3
Toxic Parts All parts, but especially the roots

Poisonous House Plants

Poisonous Profile:

This is one of the most popular plants to give as a gift, and it’s also one of the easiest houseplants to grow. It is known for the white “blooms.” (They look like flowers but aren’t technically flowers at all. Instead, they are called spathes.) The most common mistake with this plant is watering it too much, so take it easy. Remember that it’s easy to add water, but it’s a lot harder to take it away.

Be Aware:

Mostly a problem for dogs and cats. You might see vomiting, increased salivation, and diarrhea if ingested.

The Bottom Line:

This one is a spring tradition for many, and it’s pretty safe to have in your home unless you have an animal that really likes to munch houseplants.

05. Snake Plant

Level of Toxicity 1/3
Toxic Parts All parts

Poisonous House Plants

Poisonous Profile:

The name alone is reason enough to grow this classic houseplant – you’ll have something to talk about with your friends when they come over! The most important thing to remember with a snake plant is make sure you grow it in the right sized pot. Don’t put it in a giant container or confine it in something too small. You want it to be just right, giving it a little space to grow. Once it fills the pot, move one size up.

Be Aware:

If your pet eats enough of it, this could cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The Bottom Line:

If you’re really looking for an easy-to-grow houseplant, this is a good one. Try it!

06. Dumb Cane

Level of Toxicity 2/3
Toxic Parts All parts, and the sap from the leaves can be irritating if you touch it

Poisonous House Plants

Poisonous Profile:

A lot of people think dumb cane and snake plant are the same thing, but they’re not. Notice the botanical names are different even if they look similar. This houseplant is native to the West Indies, and if it grows in the right conditions or in the wild, you might even get lucky and see it flower. It can get pretty big, so this is another one that you want to make sure you have growing in the right sized pot.

Be Aware:

If a child or pet eats this, it may numb their throat and vocal cords! It contains calcium oxalate crystals that cause swelling in the mouth and throat, possibly for a couple of weeks. The sap also irritates skin.

The Bottom Line:

There are other, better houseplant options if you have small children or pets who nibble houseplants. Because of the irritation the sap can cause, it’d be better to skip this one.

07. English Ivy

Level of Toxicity 2/3
Toxic Parts All parts, including the vine, leaves, and berries

Poisonous House Plants

Poisonous Profile:

Here’s another vine that is a staple in the houseplant world. Actually, it’s a staple in many gardens, too. It can reach crazy heights of 80 feet in an outdoor setting. Indoors, it can trail quite a bit, too, especially if it has something to grow up or around. Inside, it’ll be looking for a lot of light. But if you take it outside, it can actually tolerate a lot of shade.

Be Aware:

If ingested, humans or animals might experience difficulty breathing, convulsions, vomiting, and paralysis or coma in extreme cases! Outside, the plant could produce berries, too, so that’s another thing to watch for.

The Bottom Line:

Plant it (inside or out) only if you know it’s going to be mostly out of reach of kids and pets.

08. Rosary Pea

Level of Toxicity 3/3
Toxic Parts Especially the bright-red seeds

Poisonous House Plants

Poisonous Profile:

The seeds of this plant are pretty popular for decorative purposes. For years, they’ve been used for jewelry like necklaces and bracelets. They are also popular in rosaries. There have been some dis-agreements about just how poisonous this plant or the seeds can be. However, a few deaths have been linked to it, so take that as a sign to avoid!

Be Aware:

It has high toxicity in the seeds, and if a person or an animal chews on the seeds, they may experience problems like vomiting, upset stomach, and even death in extreme cases.

The Bottom Line:

Even though not all experts agree on the toxicity level, it’s one you probably shouldn’t have in your home, especially if you have kids or pets.

09. Philodendron

Level of Toxicity 1/3
Toxic Parts It has crystals of calcium oxalate called raphides throughout the entire plant.

Poisonous House Plants

Poisonous Profile:

This is a houseplant that has been popular for years. People frequently take cuttings of this plant and easily start new ones, passing them on from one house to the next. While it’s not the most poisonous houseplant you can have, it’s one that kids and pets often touch and get into because of its trailing nature. It can make a great and easy gift!

Be Aware:

If a person or animal bites into parts of this plant, it releases toxic elements, and raphides will cause immediate reactions such as difficulty breathing and swallowing.

The Bottom Line:

Skip this one. Since it can grow and be trailing, it’s too easy for kids and animals to get at it.

10. Aloe

Level of Toxicity 1/3
Toxic Parts All parts have glycosides in them.

Poisonous House Plants

Poisonous Profile:

This one might surprise you. After all, doesn’t aloe vera come from this plant? The answer is yes, but that doesn’t mean it still can’t be poisonous in other ways. There are a couple hundred different types of aloe out there, and they can vary a great deal in size and shape. The houseplant, aloe, is popular among gardeners because it’s easy to care for and has beautiful, succulent leaves.

Be Aware:

If consumed, you’ll likely experience vomiting and diarrhea. The side effects are generally mild, but keep an eye on any animal who might munch on this plant, especially if they’ve eaten a lot.

The Bottom Line:

Yes! Aloe is a great houseplant for most.

11. Bird-Of-Paradise

Level of Toxicity 1/3
Toxic Parts All parts of the plant have a toxin, which is released when bitten.

Beautiful flowers

Poisonous Profile:

If you go down to southern Florida or other tropical areas, you’ll likely see this plant growing in the wild. It gets its name from the unique and colorful bloom shape, which tends to resemble a bird’s bill. You really don’t find a lot of similar blooms like it in the wild. It’s so popular that you often see it available as a cut flower, too. It’s definitely one of the most interesting houseplants you could have.

Be Aware:

Dogs are most at risk with this plant. If you have one and they bite or chew it, then you might notice them drooling and staggering a bit. In extreme cases or if they’ve consumed a lot, it could be more serious.

The Bottom Line:

Keep it out of reach of pets. This one is such a cool houseplant to have!

12. Jade Plant

Level of Toxicity 2/3
Toxic Parts All parts, including the leaves, which are especially appealing to pets because of their small size

Poisonous House Plants

Poisonous Profile:

The jade plant has a bit of good superstition behind it. For years, people have been giving it as a gift because they believe it will bring the receiver wealth and good fortune. So it’s a popular houseplant given for a new job, new home, etc. It also has an excellent reputation among gardeners as being re- ally easy to care for. You don’t have to water it much, so if you have a jade plant, you can feel confident you’ll have it around for a few years. However, if you have pets at all, it might not be the best houseplant for you. Take a look.

Be Aware:

Vomiting, slow heart rate, and even depression are all symptoms that might come from consuming jade. If eaten in large quantities, it can definitely be deadly to pets.

The Bottom Line:

Because of its small size, it might be easier and more appealing to pets, so it’s best to skip it.

13. Sago Palm

Level of Toxicity 2/3
Toxic Parts All parts

Poisonous House Plants

Poisonous Profile:

If you like the idea of having your very own palm tree, then this might be the houseplant you’ve always dreamed of. These plants get much, much bigger if grown in their native tropical environment. However, they’ve been cultivated to make great (and showy) houseplants. They are considered relatively easy to grow. Plus, if you have a big space to fill, it can definitely do that!

Be Aware:

This plant can cause serious damage to the liver of humans or animals that consume it, and it’s been known to kill dogs who have eaten a lot of it. You might also experience vomiting, increased thirst, etc.

The Bottom Line:

You should skip this plant, especially if you have pets that like to nibble. Since the needles easily drop off this plant, it makes it readily available for pets.

14. Ficus Tree

Level of Toxicity 1/3
Toxic Parts All parts, especially the sap that can come out of bark, leaves, etc.

Poisonous House Plants

Poisonous Profile:

Love the idea of having your own miniature tree inside your home? The ficus tree is going to be one of your best bets! While all varieties of ficus are known to have a sap that can be irritating, it is still a very popular houseplant. If you have one, make sure it gets lots of moisture, and keep it in a warm area. It doesn’t do too well in cold or drafty places in the house.

Be Aware:

If you get ficus sap on your skin, it might cause some irritation. If pets get hold of the leaves (which are known to drop) and eat them, this might cause them vomiting, diarrhea, and sickness.

The Bottom Line:

It’s probably fine for most homes, but be sure to watch for leaf drop, and then clean up right away.

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