Houseplants can be a beautiful addition to any home, but some plants are dangerous to children and pets, causing everything from skin irritation and digestive issues to fatalities. So take a good look around your home to see if any of these dangerous plants are in your home.
- Daffodils—Many spring bulbs, including hyacinths and daffodils, are toxic if eaten, causing intense stomach problems, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and even death.
- Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia) —This popular houseplant earned its name due to the symptoms that occur when eaten. The sap causes the tongue to burn and swell, enough to block off air to the throat. It can be fatal if ingested in large amounts.
- Easter Ivy—Although you need to eat large quantities to cause serious problems, all parts of this plant can cause anything from skin irritation and burning throat, as well as a fever and rash.
- Lily of the Valley—All parts of Lily of the Valley are highly poisonous. The red berries may be particularly attractive to children. When ingested, the plant can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, reduced heart rate, blurred vision, drowsiness, skin rashes, and even death.
- Oleander—All parts of oleander, a popular indoor flowering shrub, are extremely poisonous. With that in mind, extra precautions need to be taken, such as wearing gloves when pruning and washing your hands afterwards.
- Philodendron—This is the most popular indoor houseplant—although they are poisonous. Eating them can cause burning and swelling of lips, tongue and throat, as well as vomiting and diarrhea.
- Pothos—A close relative of philodendron, it causes the same symptoms if ingested.
- Sago Palm—All parts of this plant, including the seeds and roots, are poisonous. Ingesting it causes vomiting and diarrhea, and may even lead to liver failure.
- ZZ Plant—A popular plant because it thrives in low-light locations, all parts of are poisonous. And like the oleander, be sure to wash your hands or wear gloves if you need to handle it.
If any of these plants are in your home, either discard them or move them to an area of the home where your child can’t access them, such as a room that is off-limits to little ones. If you believe your child might have ingested a part of any of these plants, call Poison Control immediately at 1-800-222-1222 or dial 911.
Reviewed by Dr. Heather Felton, April 2020
- There are many houseplants that can be dangerous to both people are pets, causing everything from skin irritation and digestive issues to fatalities.
- Some plants—like Oleander and the ZZ Plant—are so dangerous that they need to be handled with gloves.
- If any of these plants are in your home, either discard them or move them to an area of the home where your child can’t access them.
- If you believe your child might have ingested a part of any of these plants, call 911.