Homeowners must consider various factors when choosing plants to display in and around their homes. That’s because, despite their beauty, some plants are toxic to humans and animals. Avoiding potentially poisonous plants can prevent injuries and even deaths. Here’s a list of some plants homeowners may want to avoid.
Rhododendrons produce flower clusters that bloom in the spring. They also produce thick, glossy leaves that thrive in the fall and winter in many areas. However, if any part of the plant is swallowed, it can cause vomiting and slow the pulse.
This popular plant grows close to the ground, blooming bell-shaped, sweet-smelling flowers. If large doses of the toxin in this plant are ingested, it can gradually slow the heart down and potentially prove fatal.
The houseplant dieffenbachia, commonly known as Dumb cane, adds tropical appeal indoors. The sap of the plant causes the tongue to burn and swell, enough to block off air to the throat. It can be fatal if ingested by both pets and humans.
This go-to draping vine looks lovely cascading down from planters or shelving. While its toxins need to be ingested in large amounts to cause problems, English ivy can cause skin irritation, rash and fever, particularly after eating the berries.
Bittersweet nightshade grows as a weed on some properties. It’s particularly problematic for those who have pets or young kids because of the brightly coloured berries it produces. The highest level of toxicity comes from the berries.
Foxgloves are among the most toxic specimens commonly grown on landscapes. They are widely coveted for their pink, purple and white bell-shaped flowers that grow in tall spires. They’re also deer- and rabbit-resistant, making them especially popular. Unfortunately, however, foxgloves contain potent cardiac glycosides that can be lethal in high doses.
Philodendrons are easy to care for and hearty. While not fatal, a bite of philodendron can irritate the skin and cause nausea and swelling of the mouth, throat and tongue. Similar effects occur with Pothos, another common and hearty houseplant.
The needlelike leaves of this shrub are toxic to humans and animals, as are the fleshy, bright red berries that grow toxic seeds. Kids may be tempted to pick and consume these bright berries.
Several different palm trees are poisonous to people and pets. Palms are an overlooked source of poisoning tragedies in warmer climates. Formosa palm, Sago palm, Queen Sago, and Cardboard palm are some of the varieties that can cause issues if ingested or allergic skin reactions if touched.
When planning a landscape, work with a skilled garden expert to choose plants that will not be hazardous to family and pets.