Toxic Houseplants That Are Dangerous For Children and Pets
Houseplants can make a huge difference for the place you call home. They make the spaces more beautiful and many of them even improve indoor air quality by cleaning the air. But if you’ve got little ones running around, whether they have two legs or four, then you have to be careful about certain species of plants. You might be surprised about the great number of toxic houseplants that are dangerous for children and pets! So we’ve compiled a quick list of some of the most common ones to watch out for as you spruce up your home this spring. Depending on the severity of reactions from one individual to another, paying attention to this list could potentially save the life of a loved one!
- Lilies. These lovely flowers are a favorite among many American plant lovers because they’re beautiful and easy to care for. The problem is that if they’re ingested, they can be toxic for humans and animals. So if you’re a lily-lover, we totally understand why – just make sure if you have kids or pets, you keep the flowers high enough from their reach.
- Devil’s Ivy. The name itself might be the first clue that this one is on the toxic side of the spectrum for people and pets. The vines are fun to watch grow and they’re also hard to kill, so it’s understandable why so many homeowners choose these plants as part of their indoor décor. The good news is that they’re OK to touch, but sickness comes fast if they’re eaten.
- Poinsettia. What a bummer that this beautiful red and green plant, a favorite around Christmastime, is on the list. They last a long time, they’re extremely easy to maintain, and they make any indoor space feel more festive. But just make sure you keep them away from your kids and your pets because if the poinsettia’s leaves are ingested, it induces sickness.
- Morning Glory. These vines will draw bees and hummingbirds, but you should beware that their seeds are filled with poisonous substances for humans. You’ll want to keep these away from pets and kids because they might be interested in the seed shells which make a rattling sound – when they’re smashed by curious hands or paws, they will release the toxic seeds.
- Philodendron. This popular plant comes in different shapes and sizes, but ingestion of the leaves can cause mild to severe skin reactions and it can also cause internal swelling in both children and adults. Cats are especially susceptible to its effects, and you should also make sure that your dogs aren’t able to get to any of these plants in your home.
- Oleander. Even small amounts of this beautiful plant, when ingested by humans, can cause serious health issues. Like many other toxic houseplants, the effects are greater in children. Your pets can also suffer from vomiting and other symptoms if they eat oleander leaves.
- Mother-in-Law’s Tongue. This gnarly-named plant, also called the ominous-sounding Snake Plant, gets its names for a reason. It not only has long and pointy leaves resembling deadly tongues, but it can cause severe reactions in your pets. Humans usually have less serious issues if they ingest it, but it’s still a good idea to keep your children away from this plant.
Bear in mind that in some cases, it’s not just ingestion of the plant that can cause medical issues – in some species, even touching the sap or other secretions can cause negative reactions. In the case of pets, you also need to make sure they aren’t drinking the water out of the bottom of the plant’s container or eating the soil. Because so many plant vendors don’t have sufficient warnings on their plant packaging, we recommend doing a quick online search for the type of plant you’re about to buy if you have any concerns at all about your children or pets having a possible reaction to potentially toxic compounds.
To maximize safety in your home, it’s also a good idea to label any plants that are toxic as an ongoing reminder to keep them out of reach from your children and any furry friends who might want to have them for a snack. Make sure your plants are regularly watered, pruned and maintained so that any fallen leaves or soil are cleaned up and the branches are out of reach. We hope we haven’t ruined your love for indoor houseplants – we just want to make sure that you and your family are safe, so just do a quick double-check before buying any plants in the future and take these simple precautionary steps, and you’ll still be able to enjoy your favorites!
More info? For more information about toxins in your home, check out our other post: HOW DO YOU REDUCE TOXINS IN YOUR HOME?