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10 Common Houseplants Dangerous To People And Pets

June 12th, 2019

Plants are wonderful to have in a home. They’re an easy way to brighten a window, improve the smell of a room, and they allow you to practice honing your green thumb. Unfortunately, many houseplants are highly toxic to both animals and people.

These usually aren’t a problem for adult humans who know to keep plants out of their mouths. But they can pose a real danger to pets and children since both are prone to chewing on things they shouldn’t.

Being poisoned from plants doesn’t just occur from actually eating the plants themselves. Children and animals may get sick from getting plant sap on their skin, drinking water draining from the tray, or putting potting soil in their mouths.

Here are 10 plants that could put your family and pets in danger.

1. Oleander

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TY Nursery Source: TY Nursery

You may not know the name “oleander” off the top of your head but you’ve probably seen this delicate ornamental bush. Oleander is a popular choice for gardens. It’s also one of the most toxic houseplants to both animals and humans. Ingesting even one leaf has been known to cause death. Ingesting the sap from the plant can also cause serious illness. Children are more vulnerable to the effects of this poison than adults. In dogs and cats, oleander can cause heart arrhythmia, vomiting, and cold paws.

2. English ivy

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Southern Living Source: Southern Living

English ivy is known for climbing its way up the outside of buildings and that’s where it really belongs. This lovely plant has amazing air-cleaning properties. But, it’s also highly toxic to people and animals. In humans, it usually takes a lot of the plant to cause severe symptoms but bear in mind that children are more vulnerable because they’re small. Ivy can irritate the skin, including inside the mouth and throat. It can also cause a fever, convulsions, and rash. In animals, it may lead to diarrhea or vomiting, weakness, trembling, or difficulty breathing.

3. Caladium

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Southern Living Source: Southern Living

Caladium is a common site both indoors and outdoors. Because this plant is hardy and low-maintenance, it’s no surprise it’s a popular choice for gardens. But it’s not a good option if you have kids or animals. Ingesting caladium can cause difficulty breathing and even suffocation due to blocked airways.

4. Lilies

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Garden Design Source: Garden Design

It’s unfortunate that lilies look so attractive because they’re some of the most toxic plants you can have in your house, especially if you have a cat. Not every kind of lily is off limits, but some of the most popular varieties, including Easter lilies and calla lilies, can pose a real danger. In humans, ingestion causes vomiting, diarrhea, and distorted vision. In cats, it can lead to kidney and liver failure.

5. Pothos

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Gardening Know How Source: Gardening Know How

Pothos is another plant that you might not know the name of, but you’ve definitely seen it around. A popular choice for homes and businesses alike, this creeping plant is technically an ivy. And, like many other kinds of ivy species’, it can cause sickness in humans and animals if eaten. In humans, it’s likely to lead to burning on contact as well as vomiting and diarrhea. In cats and dogs, it can lead to difficulty breathing and renal failure.

6. Philodendron

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The Sill Source: The Sill

Philodendron is another common houseplant that can be dangerous. While it looks beautiful and is easy to grow, it also produces calcium oxalate crystals. These are moderately toxic to humans and extremely dangerous for animals, especially cats. Though humans usually only experience irritation and swelling in the mouth and intestines, children have been known to die from consuming philodendron. Dogs and cats are much more likely to suffer spasms and death.

7. Arrowhead Plant

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Jordan's Jungle Source: Jordan's Jungle

This plant is a cousin of the philodendron plant. While it has many of the same benefits, such as being attractive and easy to grow, it also has some of the same drawbacks. In people, the arrowhead plant can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and irritation. It only appears to be slightly toxic for animals, however. One danger of the arrowhead is that it tends to shed large numbers of leaves, making it easier for a child or an animal to ingest them.

8. Dieffenbachia

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Costa Farms Source: Costa Farms

Dieffenbachia is another cousin of philodendron, and true to family form, it produces oxalate crystals. This means it causes similar, but thankfully, milder symptoms in both humans and animals. Unlike its relatives, it’s unlikely to cause serious symptoms. That being said, it can produce severe pain in the mouth and swelling in the throat.

9. Mother-in-Law’s Tongue

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Den Garden Source: Den Garden

This plant earns its name from its unique, sharp leaves. Although it’s toxic to both humans and animals, it’s much less deadly than other plants. In humans, ingestion can cause nausea and pain in the mouth. Skin contact may result in irritation. In animals, it can prompt drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and discomfort.

10. Peace Lily

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The Pond Guy Source: The Pond Guy

The peace lily does not technically belong to the lily family, but true to its name, it’s toxic to animals and humans. In humans, ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea, swelling, and difficulty breathing. While peace lilies are toxic to both dogs and cats, felines are more likely to have a severe reaction. In some cases, ingestion can even lead to renal failure.

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Source: Den Garden