Many plants that we commonly grow as houseplants in our homes are poisonous, some more than others.
Some toxic houseplants that we commonly have are usually not
something that will kill anyone; however, there are those with poisonous
sap that can cause irritation in certain people.
Shockingly, one of the most common of these are the Euphorbia.
Innocent succulent novices purchase these plants in huge quantities from box stores, which don't label them to let people know that they're poisonous or dangerous.
How Dangerous are Euphorbias? Find out here (link opens in a new window).
If you’re taking cuttings or repotting these, it’s advisable to use gloves, and wash thoroughly if you’re exposed to the milky latex that they exude.
One problem with exposure is contact dermatitis, an itching rash on your skin.
Getting the sap in your eyes can be much more serious.
Cats quite often fall victim to poisonous succulent plants – they can’t resist chewing on them in an attempt to get chlorophyll to aid their digestion.
In the wild, cats and other animals will find grass or other greens to eat for this purpose, but in the constrained environment of the indoors, they’ll try anything, sometimes with unfortunate results.
If you suspect that your pet or a child has ingested any parts of your indoor succulent collection, please get veterinary care or medical attention immediately.
Some of the consequences can be liver or kidney failure, so it’s imperative that a vet or doctor evaluates the problem. Take along some of the plant if possible to show which potential poison they’ve ingested.
To avoid this problem altogether (and the heartache and anguish it entails) start some barley grass in small pots or even flats to let your pet periodically have access to some greens. They’ll thank you by leaving your house plants alone!
Poisonous if Ingested
Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia sp.)
Jerusalem Cherry (Solanum sp.)
Philodendron (Swiss Cheese Plant)
Poinsettia (another Euphorbia sp.)
Potential Skin Irritants
Crown of Thorns
Pick up any parts that the plants shed such as individual leaves. Shut the door to your plant room if possible, or make sure your pet doesn’t have easy access to the plants. Keeping them up off the floor may help with small pets or children.
I look for old bird cages in thrift stores and garage sales to put over my succulent house plants to keep them out of reach.
See also the Pet Safety Tips on this site – this link will open in a new window.
See the pages here for more on poisonous plants in general:
Post your pictures and describe your plant - make sure you tell me if it has milky sap or other strange characteristics...
Click on each link to another poisonous plant...
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