10 houseplants that are great for house but toxic and dangerous for children and pets


Nowadays, more and more people are interested in houseplants and keep many houseplants in their houses. Houseplants are famous for their air-cleaning abilities and good benefits besides providing a beautiful environment for our houses. However, little did we know that these useful plants can be toxic too.

Many people might be aware of the benefit of houseplants, but some of them might be dangerous and can be a hazard to children, an elderly person with dementia and even pets. The poisoning from these plants can occur from:

  1. Skin contact with sap or juices
  2. Eating or touching leaves
  3. Ingesting berries, blossoms, or roots
  4. Eating soil
  5. Drinking water from the plant tray

According to Dengarden, most garden centers don’t provide warning labels on their potted plants noting possible toxicity, so be sure NOT to keep these 10 plants where it can be reached by children or pets:

1. Philodendron

Credit: Dengarden

This plant contains calcium oxalate crystals which are toxic to both humans and animals, so keep it on high window sills or shelves.

Humans: Ingesting this has a mild side effect on human and children that includes a dermatitis reaction and the swelling of the mouth and digestive tract. In rare cases, there have been fatalities in children after ingesting large amounts of it.

Cats and Dogs: It has a much more serious effect on pets with reports of spasms, seizures, pain, and the swelling—and seems to be more toxic to cats.

2. Pothos

Credit: Flickr

Considered one of the best plants for removing impurities from the air, it is mildly harmful in small quantities but can also produce uncomfortable and serious side effects.

Humans: Might cause burning of the mouth, skin irritation, swelling of lips, tongue, and throat, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Cats and Dogs: Drooling, choking, swelling of mouth and tongue, difficulty breathing, and stomach upset. It can also lead to renal failure and death.

3. Arrowhead Plant

It’s easy to care with pretty leaves, but it may cause harm to both human and animals.

Human and pets: Irritated skin, stomach upset, vomiting

4. Lily

Credit: Pixabay

Not all lilies are toxic but some are more toxic to animals, with cats more susceptible to lily poisoning than dogs. Different lilies also produce different symptoms in pets and human. The more toxic lily varieties include:

  • Easter Lily
  • Rubrum Lily
  • Tiger Lily
  • Day Lily
  • Asian Lily
  • Calla Lily (can be fatal to children)

Humans: Stomach upset, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, and skin irritation.

Cats: All parts of the plant are thought to be toxic to them. Symptoms will include vomiting, lethargy, and lack of appetite. Renal and liver failure could occur and lead to death if not treated.

5. Peace Lily

Credit: Pixabay

This lily is not a true lily plant as it is not a member of the Liliaceae family. It is excellent air purifiers but can cause painful symptoms and sometimes death if ingested by humans or animals.

Humans: Burning and swelling of lips, mouth, and tongue, difficulty speaking or swallowing, vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.

Cats and dogs: There’s conflicting information on the toxicity of peace lilies, but mostly listed as toxic to dogs and cats—causing burning mouth, excessive salivation, diarrhea, dehydration, lack of appetite, and vomiting. Could also lead to renal failure if left untreated.

6. Dieffenbachia

Credit: Wikimedia

It is related to the philodendron and contains the same oxalate crystals. It is more likely to be ingested because it was usually kept in pots on the floor.

Human and pets: Extreme pain in the mouth, salivation, burning sensation, and swelling and numbing of the throat.

7. Oleander

Credit: Needpix

This plant is highly toxic that even ingesting honey made from its nectar can produce symptoms. Children should be kept away from this plant as death have been reported after ingesting a large amount of the leaves.

Humans: Arrhythmia, dizziness, and tremors.

Cats and Dogs: Arrhythmia, vomiting, and cold extremities.

8. Caladium

Credit: wikimedia

Popular houseplant for outside landscaping, this plant grows well in low light—but all of its parts are considered toxic to humans and animals.

Humans: Symptoms after ingestion can include painful burning and swelling of the mouth, tongue, lips, and throat, difficulty breathing, speaking, and swallowing, and possible blocked airways that can lead to death.

Cats and dogs: Nausea, vomiting, staggering, head shaking, drooling, and difficulty breathing.

9. Snake Plant

Credit: wikimedia

This plant is also known as mother-in-law’s tongue and good-luck plant—but clearly not a lucky plant for pets. The toxicity level in it is quite low but it does produce short-lasting symptoms.

Humans: Mouth pain, salivation, and some nausea. It can also produce a dermatological reaction in rare cases but mainly toxic only if ingested.

Cats and dogs: It can cause excessive salivation, pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

10. Ivy

Credit: publicdomainpictures

It is able to remove airborne fecal-matter particles from the air, hence it is suitable for homes with pets. However, it can cause symptoms too when ingested.

Humans: It can cause severe skin irritation and ingestion can cause burning in the mouth and throat, stupor, convulsions, fever, and rash. Symptoms are only severe if large amounts of the plant are eaten.

Cats and dogs: Diarrhea, hyperactivity, gasping breaths, weakness, tremors, staggering, and vomiting.

Plants safety tips to reduce the exposure to plant toxins:

  1. Keep plants out of reach or in rooms where children and pets are not allowed.
  2. Wear gloves while handling or wash hands immediately after handling plants that could irritate skin or eyes.
  3. Don’t discard plant clippings where they can be easily accessed.
  4. Label pots with the plant name and whether or not it is toxic.
  5. Trim plants to prevent children and pets from accessing vines.
  6. Teach children not to touch plants.
  7. Always keep fresh water for pets so that they aren’t tempted to drink from plant trays as toxins can leach into the water.
  8. Use automatic plant waterers or self-watering pots to protect plants from mold, and animals from toxic water.
  9. Use hanging bird cages to hold the pots to keep children and cats from accessing plants.

Be sure to follow these safety tips and avoid unwanted danger to your children and pets!


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