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Poisonous House Plants
Toxic House Plants For Humans, Cats And Other Pets

Poisonous House Plants can put children or pets at risk. Learn how to handle and recognize a poisonous indoor plant. Which indoor plants are toxic for humans and pets?

A lot of the beautiful house plants we love to grow are poisonous or can cause severe allergies in pets and humans. You don't have to avoid all of these plants if you know how to handle them with care and if you are not allergic to them.

The milky sap of plants like Poinsettias or Crown-of-thorns plant can cause skin irritations and allergic reactions. If you handle these plants with care they are safe to have in your home.

crown of thorn plant

This is the Crown-of-thorns plant (Euphorbia milii). If the plant gets injured it excretes a milky sap that is poisonous.

Photo: brewbooks

Children And Toxic Plants

Of course this is different if you have small children or pets like cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs or pet birds that are allowed to roam the house freely. These pets sometimes like to nibble on leaves, stems or twigs and expose themselves to the toxins. Check this page for house plants safe for cats and other pets.

Children are often tempted by colorful fruit or berries and might eat some without anybody noticing. That is just too dangerous!

One such plant is the Winter or Christmas Cherry. This toxic plant has very attractive orange berries . These berries are of course very attractive for children and nearly look nearly like small cherry tomatoes. This is maybe a poisonous house plant I would not recommend to have around if you have small children! It is just not worth taking the risk.

How To Handle Dangerous Plants

- Use rubber gloves when handle these plants.

- Avoid contact with the sap especially with eyes,mouth and open wounds.

- Avoid growing poisonous plants until children are old enough to recognize the danger.

- Pets don't always know which plants are save and which are dangerous for them. It is best not to have these type of plants if you keep pets in the house.

- Always wash your hand thoroughly after handling toxic plants.

- Avoid rubbing your eyes while working with these plants.

Plants And Plant Families With Skin-irritating Substances

 Euphorbiaceae - Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), Crown-of-thorns or Christ plant (Euphorbia milii), Croton (Codiaeum variegatum), Cattail (Acalypha)

Araceae - Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia), Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema), Flamingo Flower (Anthurium), Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera), Calla Lily (Zantedeschia)

Amaryllidaceae - Amaryllis (Hippeastrum), Tulips, Narcissi, Hyacinths, Clivia

Plants That Can Cause Allergies

german primrose

Some plants are not toxic but they can cause allergies in sensitive people. The allergies can be caused by the sap or the tiny hairs on leaves or stems. A prime example for this is the German Primrose (Primula obconica).

Cyclamen have a substance in their bulbs that can cause allergies but you would seldom get into contact with it.

Photo: Timothy Valentine

List Of Poisonous House Plants

This list contains popular house, container and patio plants that are poisonous and the parts of the plants that contain the toxins.

  • Acalypha hispida - Catstail - sap
  • Adenium obesum - Desert Rose - sap
  • Ageratum houstonianum - Flossflower - whole plant
  • Aglaonema - Chinese Evergreen - whole plant
  • Allamanda cathartica - Golden Trumpet - whole plant
  • Alocasia - Elephant Ear plant - whole plant
  • Anthurium sherzerianum - Flamingo Flower - whole plant
  • Asparagus - Ornamental Asparagus - berries
  • Aucuba japonica - Aucuba - berries
  • Begonia semperflorens Hybr. - Begonia - whole plant
  • Browallia - Sapphire Flower - whole plant
  • Brunfelsia - Lady Of The Night - whole plant
  • Buxus semperirens - Box Tree - leaves
  • Capsicum annuum - Ornamental Pepper Plant - whole plant
  • Carissa macrocarpa - Natal Plum - whole plant but not fruit
  • Catharanthus roseus - Madagascar Periwinkle - whole plant
  • Cestrum - Night Jessamine - whole plant
  • Clivia miniata - Clivia - whole plant, berries are very poisonous
  • Codiaeum variegatum - Croton - sap
  • Cycas revoluta - Cycad - whole plant
  • Datura - Devil's Trumpet - whole plant
  • Dieffenbachia - Dumb Cane - whole plant
  • Diplandenia - Mandevilla - whole plant
  • Euphorbia milii - Crown-of-thorns - sap
  • Gloriosa superba - Gloriosa Lily - bulbs
  • Hedera helix - Ivy - berries and leaves
  • Heliotropium arborescens - Garden Heliotrope - whole plant
  • Hippeastrum - Amaryllis - whole plant
  • Hoya - Wax Flower - whole plant
  • Hyacinthus orientalis - Hyacinth - bulbs
  • Iris - Iris - whole plant
  • Jatropha podagrica - Buddha Belly Plant - whole plant
  • Lantana - White Sage - whole plant
  • Lilium - Lily - bulbs
  • Lonicera - Honeysuckle - berries
  • Monstera deliciosa - Swiss Cheese Plant - whole plant
  • Narcissus - Daffodils - bulbs
  • Nerium oleander - Oleander - whole plant
  • Pachypodium - Madagascar Palm - stem and leaves
  • Petunia - Petunia - whole plant
  • Philodendron - Philodendron - whole plant
  • Primula obconica - German Primrose - whole plant
  • Ricinus communis - Castor Oil Plant - seeds
  • Senecio bicolor - Silver Ragwort -whole plant
  • Solanum pseudocapiscum - Winter Cherry - whole plant and the berries!
  • Spatiphyllum - Peace Lily - foliage in larger quantities
  • Trachelospermum jasminoides - Star Jasmine - sap
  • Tulipa - Tulip - bulbs
  • Zantedeschia - Calla Lily - whole plant

House Plants Safe For Cats:
Some of our beautiful house plants can be dangerous for our pets. Cats and house plants can go very well together. Cat friendly house plants that won't harm your pet .

If you are interested in more detailed house plant care advice check out these books

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