Toxic Houseplants Pt. 2

Toxic Houseplants Pt. 2

Plants you should NOT chew on… Part 2.

Here is the second installment of our series on toxic/poisonous houseplants.  Its important to understand that this is not a list of terrible plants that you shouldn’t keep in your home ever.  Rather, this list has been put together so that you can be aware of some of the lesser-known qualities of these plants in order to avoid getting caught off guard should something happen.


If a plant, or a part of a plant has been eaten and you aren’t sure what to do, call Poison Control immediately!

For people: (800)222-1222

For animals: (888)426-4435


1. Daffodil

Seeing these out on your walks means Spring is coming.  Just make sure the pup walking next to you doesn’t take a bite, especially the trumpet-shaped bulb in the center.  That is the most toxic part.
• Symptoms:  Vomiting, excessive drooling, diarrhea, convulsions, low blood pressure, tremors and heart issues.


2. Gladiola

Usually only found in floral arrangements, the Gladiolus can sometimes be found in garden beds.  Snacking on these usually causes digestive issues.  Again, the part in the middle is more toxic than the rest.
• Symptoms:  Vomiting, excessive drooling, lethargy, diarrhea.


3. Hosta

Hostas love the shade, and are very common in backyards all over.  Most dogs and cats don’t usually bother with these, but keep an eye out just in case.
• Symptoms:  Vomiting, diarrhea, depression.


4. Ivy (California Ivy, Branching Ivy, Glacier Ivy, Needlepoint Ivy, Sweetheart Ivy, English Ivy)

Another one that is usually undisturbed by cats and dogs, Ivy (of various types) can cause some pretty awful stomach issues if it’s eaten.
• Symptoms:  Vomiting, abdominal pain, excessive drooling, diarrhea.


5. Lilies (Potentially deadly)

stargazer lilie
These are gorgeous, fragrant, and often given as gifts in bouquets.  But be careful if you present these to someone who owns a cat.  Lilies are exceptionally toxic to cats specifically.  A cat who ingests even a small amount can suffer from kidney issues, and even total kidney failure.
• Symptoms:  Kidney damage, kidney failure.


6. Milkweed (Potentially deadly)

Milkweed is great for butterflies, but terrible for cats and dogs.  Not usually found in parks or neighborhood gardens, it can sometimes be found in fields.  This stuff is REALLY REALLY BAD for cats and dogs.  This cannot be overstated.
• Symptoms:  Vomiting, profound depression, weakness, anorexia, and diarrhea are common; may be followed by seizures, difficulty breathing, rapid/weak pulse, dilated pupils, kidney or liver failure, coma, respiratory paralysis and death.


7. Morning Glory

Morning Glory can be a hallucinogen, and this does double duty for dogs and cats.  Only the dogs and cats don’t really enjoy it the way some folks do.  In fact, they really don’t enjoy it at all.
• Symptoms:  Gastrointestinal upset, agitation, tremors, disorientation, ataxia, anorexia, hallucinations.


8. Oleander (Potentially deadly)

Oleander is gorgeous and is often used as decoration for all sorts of situations.  But like the Lillie, it’s super bad for cats and dogs and can cause all sorts of severe issues even if only a small portion is eaten.  Horses are also at risk of having issues from ingesting Oleander.

• Symptoms:  Colic, diarrhea (possibly bloody), sweating, incoordination, shallow/difficult breathing, muscle tremors, recumbency, and possibly death from cardiac failure.


9. Poinsettia

These are a favorite for the holiday season.  Lots of folks have also already been warned off about Poinsettia, but it’s actually not as bad as some might think.  Sure, it’s leaves are toxic to dogs and cats who eat them, but not nearly as bad as the Oleander or the Lillie. Mostly only mild inflammation and stomach issues, but it’s still something to keep an eye out for.
• Symptoms:  Irritating to the mouth and stomach, sometimes causing mild vomiting.


10. Sago Palm (Potentially deadly)


Sago Palms are a common sight in warmer climes, but can sometimes be found further north as bonsai trees or other types of decorative houseplant arrangement.  They are delicious (apparently) and also VERY toxic to animals.  Nothing about this is not toxic.  The seeds are especially nasty.

• Symptoms:  Vomiting, increased thirst, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, bruising, liver damage, liver failure, death


11. Tomato Plant

Tomato plants are everywhere these days, and we think that’s awesome.  Growing your own veggies is the way to go.  Just make sure that they are kept out of reach of the animals.  They aren’t usually fatal, but they will make the following several days pretty terrible for you, your pet, and your carpets.
• Symptoms:  excessive drooling, severe gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, drowsiness, CNS depression, confusion, behavioral change, weakness, dilated pupils, slow heart rate.


12. Tulip/Narcissus

Purple tulip flowers. (2)
Unfortunately, it’s the colorful parts at the bulb that are the most toxic, so pretty much the best part of the tulip is the worst part.  This is another one that isn’t typically fatal, it’s just something that you ought to keep an eye on if you have pets running around.
• Symptoms:  Intense gastrointestinal irritation, drooling, loss of appetite, convulsions and cardiac difficulties.


13. Yew (Potentially deadly)

This image was acquired from Jerry Pavia

This one is unusual in that it’s not typically gnawed on by animals intentionally.  The Yew is very common just about everywhere for its resilience and consistently green coloring.  We even use parts of it to make some drugs that treat symptoms related to cancer (specifically, Paclitaxel).  If any part of the Yew is ingested, it can be bad news.  In severe cases, it can be fatal.

• Symptoms:  Central nervous system effects such as trembling, incoordination, and difficulty breathing. It can also cause significant gastrointestinal irritation and cardiac failure, which can result in death.



(All photos used in this article have been obtained through internet searches and are assumed to be in the public domain.  If you have ownership of any of these pictures, please contact the author,, and we will be happy to comply with your wishes.)