57 Plants That Are Toxic to Animals, and 31 Safe Alternatives

Are you bringing home a new pet, and want to make sure that your garden is a safe place for them to explore? Even mature animals are known to nosh on a flower or two from time to time. In this article, gardening expert and pet owner Melissa Strauss will talk about common garden plants that are toxic to animals.

toxic plants for pets

Contents

Many common houseplants and landscape plants are toxic to pets, but it’s difficult to know which species pose legitimate harm. When my family brought home a new puppy, I discovered a lot of plants in and around my house that could potentially hurt him if he decided to take a nibble.

With kids around, I have always kept the extremely dangerous plants out of my yard. No hemlock or belladonna is growing in my garden. But, with the addition of a young pet, there are more plants than ever to worry about. If you’re in the same boat, I did the research for you to help keep your pets safe from toxic plants.

Wild animals tend to recognize which plants they should and should not eat. However, domesticated pets often lack the instincts to avoid troublesome plants. So it’s our duty to protect them from harm. Some of these plants you will probably recognize as toxic, and others may surprise you. Here are 57 plants that are toxic to pets, plus 31 safe alternatives.

Bulbous and Tuberous Perennials

Many bulbous plants pose the greatest threat to pets. The greatest concentration of toxins tends to be found in the bulbs themselves.

Amaryllis

Close-up of a flowering Amaryllis plant in the garden. Amaryllis is a bulbous flowering plant known for its large and showy flowers. Amaryllis leaves are long, tapered, glossy green. Amaryllis flowers are tubular and bright red in color.
This flower is beautiful but toxic to pets, causing vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and tremors.
botanical-name botanical name Amaryllis
plant-type plant type Bulbous Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-10
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals

Amaryllis makes a beautiful holiday gift and returns year after year if planted in the garden. However, these winter wonders are not pet friendly. Amaryllis contains lycorine which has painful effects on your furry friends. Side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, tremors, increased salivation, and abdominal pain.

Caladium

Close-up of a Caladium plant in the garden. Caladium is a tropical plant known for its bright and colorful foliage. The leaves of the Caladium plant are large, heart-shaped, with prominent veins. They are bright green in color with intricate white markings and pink veins. The leaves have a glossy surface.
While this colorful species is great for shaded areas, these plants are toxic to pets, causing drooling, mouth irritation, and vomiting.
botanical-name botanical name Caladium
plant-type plant type Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-12
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals

The colorful, heart-shaped leaves of the caladium genus are a wonderful way to add color to more shaded portions of the garden. With their splashy color combinations of red, pink, green, and white, these tropical perennials are certain to please.

Pets, however, should steer clear of these pretty plants. Ingesting Caladiums can cause excessive drooling, irritation of the mouth, difficulty swallowing, and vomiting in dogs and cats.

Calla Lily

Close-up of blooming Calla Lily in a sunny garden. Calla Lily is a graceful and elegant flowering plant known for its characteristic tubular flowers. The plant itself has long, lanceolate leaves that are green with silvery markings. The flowers of the Calla Lily are unique and striking, consisting of a large, funnel-shaped spathe surrounding a finger-like structure called the spadix. The spathe comes in white.
Calla lilies are beautiful flowers, but they can make pets quite sick.
botanical-name botanical name Zantedeschia
plant-type plant type Semi-evergreen Bulbous Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-10
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals

These popular cut flowers add elegance to the garden with their tropical leaves and classic trumpet-shaped flowers. Calla Lillies are a favorite among brides, but they will make your furry friend feel pretty miserable. Symptoms include depression, tremors, inability to eat, and gastrointestinal issues.

Crocus

Close-up of blooming crocuses in the garden. Crocus is a small perennial plant known for its bright and delicate flowers. The plant itself consists of a bulb with thin herbaceous leaves. These leaves are dark green in color. From the center of the bush rise thin stems with one flower on each. Crocus flowers are cup-shaped and bright purple in color. They have six petals and a contrasting orange central stigma.
Crocus, including autumn crocuses, are toxic to animals, causing severe gastrointestinal distress.
botanical-name botanical name Crocus
plant-type plant type Bulbous Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals

Crocus is the plant that produces the world’s most expensive spice, saffron. All crocus plants are toxic to animals, but autumn crocuses are particularly dangerous. Ingestion of this small plant can cause extreme gastrointestinal distress, including bleeding, vomiting, and diarrhea. In severe cases, it can cause respiratory failure, seizures, liver and kidney failure, and even death.

Cyclamen

Close-up of many blooming cyclamen in the garden. Cyclamen is a beautiful and popular flowering plant with heart-shaped leaves that are variegated with silvery patterns. The leaves emerge from the ground on long petioles and have a distinct spiral arrangement. Thin stems rise above the foliage, each of which has an inflorescence. Cyclamen flowers are bright pink and red. The flowers have five petals that are folded back, revealing a tubular structure in the center.
Nibbling on cyclamen flowers or leaves may cause illness, but eating the roots can be deadly.
botanical-name botanical name Cyclamen
plant-type plant type Tuberous Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-10
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals

Cyclamen is unlikely to do severe harm if an animal nibbles on the flowers or leaves. Slight stomach upset and mouth irritation can be a side effect of an animal eating the foliage, but it passes quickly. The real danger rests in the tubers. The high concentration of terpenoid saponins in the tubers can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms and abnormal heartbeat, seizures, and even death.

Daffodil

Close-up of blooming daffodils in a sunny garden. The plant produces large bright yellow flowers. The flowers have a tubular structure surrounded by six petals. Daffodil plants have long thin stems that come out of a bulbous underground structure. The leaves are long and narrow, resembling blades of grass, growing in bunches around the stem.
These bright flowers contain a poisonous alkaloid that can cause pet stomach issues.
botanical-name botanical name Narcissus
plant-type plant type Bulbous Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8
pet-toxic pet toxic Cats, Dogs, Horses

Daffodils are a cheerful spring favorite with bright yellow, orange, and white flowers. However, those flowers contain a poisonous alkaloid that can cause vomiting and stomach upset in pets. The bulbs are more dangerous than the foliage, as they contain crystal lycorine, which can cause serious heart irregularities, difficulty swallowing, and respiratory failure.

Dahlia

Close-up of blooming dahlias in the garden. Dahlias have large double flowers, similar to pompoms. The petals are creamy white, slightly striated, forming a cupped shape. The plants themselves have a robust and upright growth habit, with strong stems that support the flowers. Dahlia leaves are lush and green, and they are divided into several lobes or leaflets.
Although they have stunning flowers, dahlias can cause rash, blisters, itching, and gastrointestinal issues in dogs, cats, and horses.
botanical-name botanical name Dahlia
plant-type plant type Tuberous Annual or Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-12
pet-toxic pet toxic Dogs, Cats, Horses

If you’ve ever grown dahlias, you know how addictive these plants can be with their stunning and widely-varied flowers. While dahlias are not toxic to humans, they can cause some pretty nasty symptoms in dogs, cats, and horses. Signs of dahlia poisoning include rash, blisters, itching, and gastrointestinal issues.

Garlic

Close-up of rows of garlic plants in a garden. Allium sativum is a bulbous perennial plant. Garlic leaves grow straight from the bulb and are long, narrow, strap-shaped. They are bright green in color and have a smooth, waxy texture. Leaves emerge from the base of the plant and grow in a cluster to form a tuft of foliage.
Garlic benefits humans but can cause anemia and red blood cell damage in most animals, necessitating veterinary care.
botanical-name botanical name Allium sativum
plant-type plant type Bulbous Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9
pet-toxic pet toxic Dogs, Cats, Horses, Livestock Animals (cattle, goats, sheep), Birds, Reptiles

This one might come as a surprise because this plant is a culinary staple in many cuisines worldwide. Garlic is not just edible to humans but has many potential health benefits, and we use it commonly in much of our food as a result.

But for our animals, garlic is dangerous. Garlic contains thiosulphates and disulfides, which are not harmful to humans but can cause anemia (damage to red blood cells) in most animals. It is not typically fatal, but pets that have ingested it are likely to need veterinary care.

Gladiolus

Close-up of flowering Gladiolus plants in the garden. The plant consists of a tall, upright, strong stem adorned with long thin leaves. The leaves of the gladiolus are linear in shape, reminiscent of sword blades, and grow in a fan-like fashion along the stem. The leaves are green, smooth, with prominent parallel veins. The flowers bloom on long spikes called inflorescences that emerge from the top of the stem. Flowers are pale pink, orange, purple and lilac. They have six petals, the three lower petals forming a distinct lip. The top three petals are usually narrower and more upright.
This stunning cut flower lasts long in a vase but is toxic to animals, especially the buds.
botanical-name botanical name Gladiolus
plant-type plant type Bulbous Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-10
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals

If you want a spectacular cut flower, you should absolutely add gladiolus to your garden. These towering beauties bloom after cutting and last a long time in a vase.

Sadly, in terms of animals, all parts of the plant are toxic, with the buds having the highest concentration of toxic compounds. Pets that ingest gladiolus are known to experience increased salivation and vomiting, as well as general lethargy and other gastrointestinal troubles.

Iris

Close-up of blooming irises in a sunny garden. Iris leaves are long and xiphoid, emerging from a rhizome or bulb underground. The leaves are green in color and have a characteristic ribbed or folded texture. The flowers are characterized by their unique shape, which consists of three upright petals called standards and three drooping petals called falls. The petals are purple with intricate white and orange patterns on the lower petals.
Irises are beautiful summer flowers but toxic to people and animals, causing mouth and digestive irritation.
botanical-name botanical name Iris
plant-type plant type Bulbous Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals, Including Humans

Though they look like they would bloom with the other bulbous spring bloomers, irises are early summer flowers and more heat tolerant than many bulbous plants.

Their unique petal formation is instantly recognizable, and they look delicately beautiful in the flower garden. Iris contains compounds that make the entire plant toxic to people and pets and can cause irritation of the mouth, digestive issues, nausea, diarrhea, and dermatitis.

Lily

Close-up of blooming lilies in the garden. Lilies are tall perennials with long and lanceolate leaves, arranged in whorls or spirals along the stem. The color of the leaves is dark green. The flowers are large, showy, have six triangular petals. Petals are pale pink with dark pink dots.
Lilies have beautiful blooms and a heavenly scent, but all species in the Lilium genus are highly toxic to people and pets.
botanical-name botanical name Lilium
plant-type plant type Bulbous Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals, Including Humans, But Especially Cats

This cut flower favorite has a heavenly scent and spectacular blooms. Lilies are very popular in the garden and with florists for their long-lasting, fragrant flowers. Unfortunately, all flowering plants in the Lilium genus are highly toxic to people and animals.

An act as seemingly innocuous as licking pollen off the fur or having a sip of the water that lilies were in can cause severe and fatal liver damage to cats and, in severe cases, liver failure in humans and larger animals.

Lily of the Valley

Close-up of Lilies of the Valley flowering plant in the garden. The plant has glossy, lanceolate leaves that grow in pairs along the stem. They are dark green in color and have a smooth texture that gives the plant a lush and green appearance. Convallaria flowers are small, bell-shaped, hanging gracefully from the stems. The flowers are pale white.
Lilies of the Valley are beautiful but toxic to animals and humans, causing cardiac distress.
botanical-name botanical name Convallaria
plant-type plant type Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals, Including Humans

The favorite flower of Queen Elizabeth II of England, lilies of the valley are flowers of legend. Their delicate beauty is singular, with the flowers looking like they grew in a fairy’s garden.

In terms of toxicity, the plant is poisonous to animals and humans and can cause cardiac distress and even death. Some treatments have shown effectiveness, but there is no clear antidote for lily of the valley poisoning.

Onions

Close-up of a ripening onion in a garden bed. The plant itself consists of a bulbous underground structure from which emerge long, hollow and cylindrical leaves. They are green, tubular and grow in clumps. The bulbs are rounded, formed by layers of fleshy scales, covered with layers of thin pale orange husks.
Bulbous onions are safe for humans but toxic to many animals, causing anemia due to N-propyl disulfide.
botanical-name botanical name Allium cepa
plant-type plant type Biennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-12
pet-toxic pet toxic Cattle, Cats, Dogs, Horses, Birds

Onions are another edible plant for humans, but many animals cannot eat this plant due to the presence of N-propyl disulfide, which causes the breakdown of red blood cells in many animals leading to anemia.

All plant parts should be avoided for your pets, whether raw or cooked. Raw onions are the most toxic, and cattle and cats tend to be affected most adversely.

Potato

Close-up of dug up potato tubers on the soil in the garden, among the leaves of a potato plant. The tubers are rounded, covered with a thin and slightly rough skin of a light brown color. The plant produces large, alternate leaves that consist of several oval leaflets, giving them a palmate appearance.
Ripe potatoes are safe, but green ones and their leaves and stems contain toxic glycoalkaloids.
botanical-name botanical name Solanum tuberosum
plant-type plant type Tuberous Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals

It might be difficult to believe this since most of us have eaten potatoes for as long as we can remember. This vegetable garden staple is not toxic if you consume ripe, cooked roots. It is the presence of a glycoalkaloid poison, which forms only with the presence of chlorophyll when tubers are left exposed to the sunlight above the soil surface.

The leaves and stems, as well as any potatoes that are green or have new shoots attached, are toxic to pets and people and cause solanine poisoning. Death can result if large quantities are consumed, but the most common symptoms are gastrointestinal, headache, fever, nausea and vomiting, and breathing and vision changes.

Snowdrops

Close-up of blooming Galanthus, commonly known as snowdrops, are perennial plants that belong to the Amaryllidaceae family. They are small bulbous plants known for their early spring blooms. The snowdrop plant consists of basal leaves that emerge directly from the bulb. The leaves are thin, tapered, green. They grow in a cluster. The flowers are pendulous, bell-shaped and hang from a thin stem. Each flower consists of six petal-like tepals. The three outer tepals are larger and pure white, while the three inner ones are smaller and marked in green.
Snowdrops are toxic to animals and humans, with phenanthridine alkaloids in the bulbs, stems, and leaves.
botanical-name botanical name Galanthus
plant-type plant type Bulbous Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-7
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals, Including Humans

Lovely, little snowdrops are the birth flower of January babies and the first spring bulb flowers to pop their little heads above the blanket of winter snow. They are also toxic to pets and people.

The bulbs, stems, and leaves contain phenanthridine alkaloids, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, blood pressure drop, and coordination loss. Exposure to the bulbs is most dangerous, as these contain the highest concentration of alkaloids. 

Tulip

Close-up of many blooming tulips in a sunny garden. Tulips are bulbous plants with long, thin leaves and showy, cupped flowers. The flowers are bright red and bright yellow.
Tulips are toxic to animals and humans, with all parts containing the toxin tulipan.
botanical-name botanical name Tulipa
plant-type plant type Bulbous Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-7
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals

Tulips are another spring bulb flower that is dangerous for animals and humans to consume. All plant parts contain the toxin tulipan, with the highest concentration in the bulbs. Ingestion of any part of a tulip plant can cause skin and mouth irritation, dizziness, and gastrointestinal irritation.

Herbaceous Perennials and Annuals

Some perennial and annual ornamentals also pose a risk to your furry friends.

Begonia

Close-up of a flower bed with blooming begonias. Begonia leaves are wide, rounded, with slightly serrated edges. They are bright green in color with a waxy texture. The flowers are small, solitary, white with yellow centers.
While they have lovely leaves and flowers, ingesting begonias can cause intense mouth irritation and vomiting in pets.
botanical-name botanical name Begonia
plant-type plant type Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 6-9
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals, Especially Horses

Begonias have some of the loveliest leaves and sweetest flowers around. The many varieties of this genus make wonderful additions to the garden and are very popular houseplants.

While ingesting begonia is unlikely to cause death, it will cause intense burning and irritation in your dog or cat’s mouth and is especially dangerous for grazing horses. Symptoms also include excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, and vomiting.

Belladonna

Close-up of a flowering plant Atropa belladonna in the garden. The plant has large, ovate, dark green leaves that grow alternately along the stem and have a smooth texture. The flowers of Atropa belladonna are bell-shaped and hang down. They are dark purple.
Deadly nightshade is one of the deadliest plants, with toxins that can be absorbed through the skin.
botanical-name botanical name Atropa belladonna
plant-type plant type Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-12
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals, Including Humans

You may have heard of this plant or its nickname, “Deadly Nightshade.” The name alone is enough to keep most people at bay, although it has been used in some homeopathic remedies. Ironically, it is one of the deadliest toxic plants for humans and pets.

Even small amounts can cause death. The toxins in this plant can be absorbed through the skin, so steer clear.

Chrysanthemums

Top view, close-up of blooming Chrysanthemums in the garden. The plant has upright stems covered with dark green lobed leaves. The flowers consist of numerous small inflorescences that form a dense, round or daisy-like inflorescence. They have double or pom-pom-like flowers with layered petals. The petals are bright fiery orange.
Mums can cause digestive issues, loss of coordination, and dermatitis in pets.
botanical-name botanical name Chrysanthemum
plant-type plant type Annual or Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals

Mums are a fall favorite, with their many colored flowers beginning to bloom at the end of summer and peaking during the fall holidays.

These versatile flowering plants are perfect for the garden or container. These plants contain compounds that can cause digestive issues in pets, loss of coordination, and dermatitis.

Clematis

Close-up of blooming Clematis in a sunny garden, near a wooden fence. Clematis is a genus of flowering vines and shrubs in the Ranunculaceae family. Clematis have lignified stems that can climb or spread. Clematis leaves are opposite and compound, consisting of several leaflets arranged in a palmate or pinnate pattern. Leaflets are ovoid, bright green. The flowers are large, solitary, open, purple. They often have six petal-like sepals that surround a central cluster of stamens and pistils.
A beautiful vining plant loved by pollinators, clematis contains a glycoside causing digestive issues in dogs.
botanical-name botanical name Clematis
plant-type plant type Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals

Clematis is a beautiful vining plant that looks spectacular on an arch or trellis. Pollinators love these plants with their brightly colored flowers, but they aren’t good for mammals.

Clematis contains a glycoside that causes digestive irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea in humans and animals but has a bitter taste, so pets are unlikely to have more than a taste.

Dianthus

Close-up of flowering Dianthus plants in a sunny garden. Dianthus plants have slender stems and opposite, lanceolate green leaves. The flowers are bright pink in color, consist of five petals with fringed edges. The flowers are collected in semicircular dense inflorescences.
Plants in this genus, including carnations, have edible flowers for humans but can cause digestive issues in pets and animals.
botanical-name botanical name Dianthus
plant-type plant type Perennial or Annual
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals

The Dianthus genus of plants includes the ever-popular carnation, and their flowers are edible for humans, but pets and other animals should steer clear of these plants. Eating the leaves or stems can lead to digestive issues in animals. Fortunately, it is not typically fatal, and the bitter taste is a good deterrent for most animals.

Foxglove

Close-up of a blooming Foxglove in a garden against a blurred green background. Foxglove has upright stems and basal leaves that form a low clump. The flowers are bell-shaped, hanging down along tall peduncles. They are purple in color, and the inside of the flower is marked with white-purple speckles.
Though bumblebees adore them, foxgloves are lethal to all animals when consumed.
botanical-name botanical name Digitalis
plant-type plant type Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals, Including Humans

Foxgloves are very beautiful and beloved by bumblebees, the sole pollinators of these lovely flowers. Despite its attractive appearance, foxglove plants can be toxic and deadly to all mammals when any plant part is ingested. Symptoms include cardiac arrhythmia and failure, vomiting, diarrhea, and death.

Geraniums

Close-up of a blooming geranium in a sunny garden. The plant has rounded lobed green leaves with a slightly velvety texture. Flowers are bright pink. They are five-petalled, symmetrical in shape, with a central cluster of stamens and pistils.
While their flowers are edible for humans, geraniums are toxic to animals due to compounds like geraniol and linalool.
botanical-name botanical name Pelargonium
plant-type plant type Perennial or Annual
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-11
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals

Geraniums are another group of plant that bears flowers that are edible for humans. These pretty plants are toxic to animals, though.

They contain the compounds geraniol and linalool, which can cause a host of negative effects for pets, such as ataxia, depression, anorexia, digestive issues, dermatitis, and muscle weakness.

Hemlock

Close-up of a blooming Conium maculatum against a blurred green background. Hemlock is a tall biennial with a distinct appearance. It has smooth hollow stems. The leaves are alternate, fern-like, deeply divided into many small leaflets. The plant produces clusters of small white flowers that form umbellate inflorescences known as umbels. The flowers are small, white, have five petals and are arranged in the form of a complex umbrella.
A noxious weed, hemlock is highly toxic to people and animals, causing rapid and severe effects leading to death.
botanical-name botanical name Conium Maculatum
plant-type plant type Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals, Including Humans

It was the poison of choice for Socrates when he was handed a death sentence and an ominous plant, to say the least. Very few gardeners add this plant to the garden, but it proliferates quickly as a noxious weed throughout the United States (except for Alaska, Hawaii, Florida, and Mississippi).

It can pop up where you were not expecting, and all parts of these weedy plants are highly toxic to pets and people. The effects are rapid but weak pulse, neurological failure, respiratory paralysis, coma, and often, death.

Hydrangeas

Close-up of blooming hydrangeas in a sunny garden. Hydrangea is a deciduous shrub with broad, oval leaves with serrated edges. They are opposite along the stems and have a glossy dark green color. The flowers are blue, large, showy, consist of inflorescences of individual flowers forming round or cone-shaped inflorescences.
Beloved for their versatile flowers, hydrangeas contain cyanogenic glycoside that can cause severe digestive issues in pets.
botanical-name botanical name Hydrangea
plant-type plant type Deciduous Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals, Including Humans

Another highly popular plant for the cut flower garden is the illustrious hydrangea. These plants have fun, long-lasting, chameleon-like flowers that are simply wonderful in a floral arrangement or bouquet. However, you should keep an eye on your pets around this plant.

All plant parts produce cyanogenic glycoside, also known as cyanide. This plant can cause severe digestive and GI issues if consumed in large enough amounts.

Lantana

Close-up of a flowering Lantana plant against a blurred green background. It is a perennial shrub with lanceolate leaves arranged in pairs along the stem. The leaves are dark green with serrated edges and a slightly rough texture. The flowers are showy, consist of small tubular flowers collected in umbrella-shaped inflorescences. The flowers are bright red and bright orange.
This plant is poisonous to pets and humans because it contains triterpene acids that harm the gallbladder and liver.
botanical-name botanical name Lantana
plant-type plant type Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7-12
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals, Including Humans

Another pollinator favorite that shouldn’t be consumed by anything with fewer than 6 legs is lantana. Lantana plants are toxic to people and pets and contain triterpene acids which have harmful effects on the gallbladder and liver.

Your pet would have to consume 1% of its body weight in leaves or berries to experience poisoning, but ingesting any part of the plant can cause problems.

Larkspur

Close-up of blooming Larkspur in the garden, against a blurred green background. The plant forms erect stems with large flowers of a unique shape resembling a spur or helmet. The petals are bluish-purple.
This pretty but poisonous plant causes skin irritation and can be fatal to people and animals.
botanical-name botanical name Delphinium
plant-type plant type Perennial or Annual
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals, Including Humans

Larkspur is a delightful flowering plant that brings old-world charm to the garden in shades of blue, pink, purple, and white. It is very pretty to look at but be forewarned; even touching the leaves and seeds can cause skin irritation.

All parts of the plant are poisonous to humans and animals, with no known treatment. The seeds of these plants are the most toxic for pets. The effects are typically fatal, with as little as 2mg proving fatal to adult humans.

Lavender

Close-up of blooming lavender in a sunny garden. Lavender is a small bushy herbaceous plant with narrow linear leaves. Lavender flowers grow on long thin stems that rise above the foliage. Lavender flowers are small and densely clustered in spike-like clusters called inflorescences. Individual flowers are tubular with five purple petals. A bee collects nectar on one of the inflorescences.
While popular for its fragrance and healing properties, lavender it’s harmful to animals when consumed in large quantities.
botanical-name botanical name Lavandula
plant-type plant type Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9
pet-toxic pet toxic All Animals in Large Quantities

Lavender is an exceptionally popular plant for its soothing fragrance and healing properties. The plant and its flowers are edible for humans in small doses and add a delightful nuance to baked goods.

However, lavender plants contain linalool, a compound considered safe for humans but toxic to pets. It could cause uncomfortable symptoms in animals and small children, but only when ingested in large quantities. Just keep away from areas where your pets like to hang out.

Lobelia

Close-up of blooming Lobelia in the garden. The plant is stunted, forms compact mounds. Lobelia leaves are small, lanceolate, arranged alternately along the stems. They are bright green in color and are smooth. The flowers are purple, small, tubular, with two lips or petals.
This plant has medicinal uses but is toxic when ingested, causing serious symptoms and even death in large doses.
botanical-name botanical name Lobelia
plant-type plant type Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals, Including Humans

Lobelia has its uses in herbalism. However, modern medicine regards this plant as poisonous to humans and animals when ingested. Small amounts are unlikely to be fatal, but large doses can result in convulsions, increased heart rate, coma, and death.

Lupines

Close-up of blooming lupins in a sunny garden. Lupine leaves are palmate, that is, they are divided into several leaflets that radiate from a central point, like the fingers of a hand. The leaflets are elongated and lanceolate, giving the leaves an overall elegant and pinnate appearance. Lupine flowers are collected in groups at the tops of the stems, forming tall and dense peduncles. The individual flowers have a characteristic shape, with a broad banner petal at the top, two smaller wings on the sides, and a keel petal at the bottom. They are bright purple.
These are beautiful, rapidly-spreading flowers that are poisonous to humans and animals.
botanical-name botanical name Lupinus
plant-type plant type Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals

Lupines, commonly known as bluebonnets, are lovely, colorful, spectacular garden flowers. These can be controversial due to their habit of spreading and taking over a space. They are also poisonous to humans and pets, as they contain alkaloid chemicals.

The effect of ingestion is a disease called lupinosis, which is a liver disease. Fortunately, the seeds, which carry the greatest concentration of chemicals, are very bitter, so children and animals will typically spit them out, and exposure will be mild.

Milkweed

Close-up of a flowering Milkweed plant among green foliage. The plant has long thin stems with opposite leaves. The leaves are lanceolate, smooth, dark green. The flowers are made up of many small individual flowers that cluster together to form globular or flat inflorescences called umbels. The flowers have a unique structure, consisting of five fused petals, forming a corolla of a characteristic curved upward shape, resembling a crown. Flowers are bright orange.
This popular butterfly plant contains toxic substances harmful to animals and humans.
botanical-name botanical name Asclepias
plant-type plant type Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals, Including Humans

Milkweed is an essential species in just about every butterfly garden. Milkweeds are the primary host plant for the Monarch butterfly, as well as other butterfly species. All parts of the plant contain toxic cardiac glycosides. These are poisonous to all animals and humans, causing weakness, confusion, and stomach upset in small amounts and more serious issues like heart rate changes and seizures in larger amounts.

An interesting characteristic of the Monarch caterpillar is that it can store these glycosides in its body, making them toxic for other animals to eat and very bitter tasting.

Monkshood

Close-up of a flowering Monkshood plant, covered in raindrops, in a garden. The Aconite plant has strong stems with large, deeply divided leaves. The leaves are palmate or lobed, bright green in color. The flowers grow in dense inflorescences along the upper parts of the stems, forming vertical spikes. Each individual flower consists of five petal-shaped sepals, colored in shades of blue. The sepals are shaped like a hood or helmet.
Aconitum is a highly poisonous plant with toxins that can be absorbed through the skin, causing serious effects.
botanical-name botanical name Aconitum
plant-type plant type Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals, Including Humans

Aconitum has many names, including monkshood, wolf’s bane, leopard’s bane, devil’s helmet, and blue rocket. Whatever name you call it by, this one should be left alone.

If you’re going to plant it, make sure to wear gloves to handle the plant, as all parts are highly poisonous to humans and animals. The toxins can be absorbed through the skin, and it doesn’t take much to cause serious effects, including bradycardia.

Moss Rose

Close-up of blooming Moss Rose in a sunny garden. Moss Rose has a sprawling habit, forming a dense carpet of succulent stems and foliage. Moss rose leaves are small, cylindrical and succulent. They are arranged alternately along the stems and are bright green in color. The flowers are bright pink, small, double, and consist of ruffled petals arranged in a circle, forming a saucer-shaped flower.
A low-maintenance flowering annual, moss rose is edible for most humans but causes stomach upset in cats and dogs.
botanical-name botanical name Portulaca grandiflora
plant-type plant type Annual
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-12
pet-toxic pet toxic Toxic to Most Mammals

Moss Rose, also known as Portulaca or purslane, is a pretty, flowering annual with succulent characteristics making it very easy to care for. The plant is edible for most humans, except young children and the elderly, who may not tolerate the presence of oxalic acid.

When studied in rats, moss rose was not found to be harmful, but it could cause serious stomach upset for cats and dogs. It’s better not to risk letting pets eat this plant.

Oregano

Closeup of Origanum vulgare, commonly known as oregano,Origanum vulgare, commonly known as oregano, in the garden. The plant grows as a compact dense shrub. It has woody, square-shaped stems covered with small, opposite leaves. The leaves are spear-shaped, dark green in color, with a slightly hairy texture.
This herb has great culinary value but causes stomach upset in dogs and cats.
botanical-name botanical name Origanum vulgare
plant-type plant type Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-10
pet-toxic pet toxic Cats, Dogs in large amounts

Oregano has great culinary value for humans – after all, pizza wouldn’t be the same without it! It smells wonderful and tastes even better.

The plant is moderately troublesome for dogs if consumed in large amounts, leading to stomach upset. In cats, even a small amount can lead to gastrointestinal upset. This one is not fatal, but it can certainly make your kitty uncomfortable.

Peace Lilies

Close-up of blooming Peace Lillies in a sunny garden. It is a tropical evergreen with long, lanceolate leaves that emerge from the base of the plant to form an attractive rosette. The leaves are glossy, dark green, and have a smooth texture. The flowers consist of a large white or cream-colored modified leaf called a spathe that wraps around a central stalk called a spadix. The spadix is covered with tiny, densely packed individual flowers that are responsible for producing pollen and attracting pollinators.
These beautiful houseplants have mildly toxic properties, causing oral irritation and digestive issues.
botanical-name botanical name Spathiphyllum
plant-type plant type Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 11-12
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals

Peace lilies are beautiful plants commonly kept as houseplants in cooler climates but can be grown in the ground in zones 11-12.

These plants contain insoluble calcium oxalates, which are not highly toxic but can be very bothersome, causing oral irritation and inflammatory reactions in humans and animals if licked or consumed. Ingestion can also cause vomiting and diarrhea. Protect your pets from these and other toxic houseplants.

Pennyroyal

Close-up of a flowering Mentha pulegium plant against a blurred green background. The plant forms thin vertical stems of a reddish color. The leaves are small, oval in shape, located opposite each other along the stem. They are dark green in color and their surface is covered with fine hairs, giving them a slightly fluffy texture. The flowers are small, tubular, collected in dense inflorescences at the tops of the stems. They are bright lilac in color, have a distinct two-lipped structure, while the upper lip forms a hood, and the lower lip opens.
This mint family member is poisonous to humans and animals, causing liver damage and potentially fatal effects.
botanical-name botanical name Mentha pulegium
plant-type plant type Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 6-9
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals, Including Humans

This herb is a member of the mint family. While it has been used traditionally by humans, the oil is highly toxic to humans and animals.

The plant contains pulegone, which particularly damages the liver and can lead to other serious effects such as cardiopulmonary collapse, seizure, coma, and organ failure. This is one herb to steer clear of.

Peony

Close-up of blooming peonies in a sunny garden. Peony, scientifically known as Paeonia, is a herbaceous perennial plant that belongs to the Paeoniaceae family. They have a dense and upright growth habit. Peony leaves are dark green and compound, consisting of several leaflets arranged along a central stem. The leaves are ovate or lanceolate in shape, have a glossy appearance. The flowers are large, lush, double, composed of layers of petals, giving them a tousled or fringed appearance. Petals are soft pink.
Peonies are loved for their beauty, but caution is needed as they can cause adverse effects to animals if ingested.
botanical-name botanical name Paeonia
plant-type plant type Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals

Many gardeners love to grow peonies. They are simply stunning in bloom and make an amazing cut flower arrangement. Peonies contain paeonol, which can have anti-inflammatory effects on humans in small amounts.

It does not have the same effect on animals, which can suffer from depression, vomiting, and diarrhea if they ingest this plant. All parts of the plant contain paeonol, but the highest concentration is in the bark.

Philodendrons

Close-up of a growing Philodendron in the garden. the plant is large, forms large shiny leaves with a waxy texture. The shape of the leaves is heart-shaped. They are dark green in color with distinct veins.
These tropical vines contain calcium oxalate crystals linked to severe oral and digestive issues in humans and pets.
botanical-name botanical name Philodendron
plant-type plant type Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-12
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals

Philodendrons are a large genus of plants typically grown indoors in cooler climates but also have wide-reaching popularity as outdoor plants in tropical and subtropical climates. Elephant ears, for instance, fit into this category.

These plants contain calcium oxalate crystals, which could cause severe oral irritation if merely chewed on. If ingested by you or your pet, these plants can have severe digestive and respiratory effects, leading to death if left untreated.

Poinsettias

Close-up of a flowering Euphorbia pulcherrima plant in a garden. The plant has dark green leaves, elongated ovoid, with a pointed tip. The plant produces bright red bracts, which are modified leaves surrounding small, inconspicuous flowers in the center.
Famous for holiday gifts, these flowers are slightly toxic to animals but unlikely to cause serious harm unless consumed in large amounts.
botanical-name botanical name Euphorbia pulcherrima
plant-type plant type Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals

You may have heard that this winter-blooming holiday favorite is highly poisonous to animals. In reality, they are only slightly toxic and very unlikely to seriously harm an animal unless ingested in large quantities.

I can attest to this, as the squirrels love to munch on my poinsettias, and they keep coming back for more. Ingestion of poinsettia can irritate the mouth and stomach and occasionally cause vomiting, but it is usually not a cause to seek medical attention.

Sweet Pea

Close-up of a blooming Lathyrus in a sunny garden. They are climbing or climbing plants known for their beautiful and fragrant flowers. The leaves of Lathyrus consist of several leaflets arranged in pairs along a central stem. The leaves are oval or spear-shaped, smooth texture. The flowers are pea-shaped, with a distinctive banner petal at the top, two wing petals on the sides, and two fused petals forming a keel below. They are bright pink.
These flowers are ornamental plants with fragrant flowers, but consuming large quantities of their seeds can lead to paralysis.
botanical-name botanical name Lathyrus
plant-type plant type Annual or Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals, Including Humans

These sweet-smelling members of the legume (pea) family are not of the edible variety. Commonly grown as ornamentals and in cut flower gardens, Sweet Peas have pretty flowers that smell great.

While accidental ingestion of the leaves and flowers is unlikely to result in poisoning, consuming large quantities of the seeds can have disastrous effects for both humans and animals. Symptoms include paralysis, convulsions, and breathing difficulties.

Tarragon

Close-up of Artemisia dracunculus, commonly known as tarragon, is a perennial herb with distinct features in its plant and leaves. The plant is characterized by upright growth. The leaves are long and narrow, lanceolate or linear, with a smooth texture. They are dark green in color and are arranged alternately along the stems.
While tarragon is safe for humans to consume, it could cause stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea, and liver damage in animals.
botanical-name botanical name Artemisia dracunculus
plant-type plant type Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-9
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals Except Humans

Tarragon is a tasty herb with no known toxic effect on humans. It also produces pretty yellow flowers that are attractive to pollinators.

Tarragon can be dangerous for animals, though, as it contains estragole. This can upset their stomach or cause vomiting, diarrhea, and in extreme cases, liver damage in pets.

Tomato

Close-up of a tomato plant with ripe fruits in the garden. The plant has a branched growth habit with upright stems covered with fine hairs. The leaves of the tomato plant are medium to dark green in color and have a distinct feathery or compound structure. Each sheet consists of several elliptical leaflets. jagged edges. Fruits are oval, bright red.
The non-fruiting parts of this nightshade family member are toxic to people and pets.
botanical-name botanical name Solanum lycopersicum
plant-type plant type Annual or Perrenial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-12
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals

Tomato plants are classified as nightshades. You might recall that belladonna is a member of this family and is considered one of the deadliest plants to consume. The fruit of the tomato plant is entirely edible, even when it is unripe.

However, the non-fruiting parts of these plants (leaves, stems, and roots) are toxic to humans and pets. Consuming a few leaves is unlikely to have an effect. However, large quantities will cause gastrointestinal upset.

Vinca

Close-up of a flowering Vinca plant, also known as periwinkle, in a garden. It is a low growing perennial plant with attractive foliage and bright pink flowers. The plant has hanging stems that spread along the ground. The leaves of the periwinkle are opposite, that is, they are arranged in pairs along the stem. They are glossy, oval, dark green in color. Periwinkle flowers are small but abundant, forming inflorescences at the tips of the stems. Each flower has a five petal wheel shape with a contrasting dark pink center.
This plant contains alkaloids that can cause symptoms in pets when consumed in large amounts.
botanical-name botanical name Vinca
plant-type plant type Annual or Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals

Vinca, also known as Periwinkle, are pretty flowering plants typically grown as annuals, although they can be short-lived perennials in warmer climates.

Vinca alkaloids are found in all parts of the plant but are scarce in the flowers. Ingesting a small number of flowers is unlikely to cause problems in pets, but greater amounts can cause vomiting, lethargy, fever, nerve damage, hallucinations, and tremors.

Wisteria

Close-up of a flowering Wisteria plant in the garden. Wisteria is a woody climbing vine known for its elegant and fragrant flowers. It has climbing stems that wrap around structures for support. The leaves of wisteria are pinnately compound, they consist of several leaflets located along the central stem. Leaves lanceolate, glossy green. Flowers hang in long hanging clusters. The flowers are shades of purple and light lavender. Each individual flower has a distinctive pea-like shape with a banner petal at the top, two wing petals on the sides, and a keel petal at the bottom.
Loved by bees, wisteria is toxic to people and animals, especially the seeds and seed pods, which cause mouth burning.
botanical-name botanical name Wisteria
plant-type plant type Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals

Wisteria is a graceful vining plant that produces large clusters of fragrant purple flowers in spring and early summer. The bees love this plant, but it is toxic to pets and humans.

All plant parts are toxic, but the seeds and seed pods are particularly dangerous. The plant contains the glycoside Wisterin which can cause burning in the mouth, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain if ingested.

Yarrow

Close-up of a blooming Achillea millefolium, commonly known as yarrow, in a sunny garden. The plant is a perennial herbaceous plant with distinct leaves and flowers. The plant produces erect branching stems covered with finely cut and feathery leaves resembling a fern. They are arranged alternately along the stems and are grey-green in color. The flowers are small and arranged in flat clusters, known as umbels, at the tops of the stems. Flowers are bright red.
A spreading perennial with medicinal uses, yarrow can be toxic to people and animals in large amounts.
botanical-name botanical name Achillea millefolium
plant-type plant type Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals, Including Humans

Yarrow is a lovely perennial flowering plant that spreads quickly and has been used to make teas that aid digestion and relax muscles.

However, it can be toxic to people and animals in large amounts. In animals, it can cause hypersalivation, diarrhea, and depression. For humans, negative effects can include skin rashes and increased sensitivity to sunlight.

Evergreens

If those aren’t enough plants to warrant reassessing your collection, these evergreens may pose an issue to a curious kitten or puppy.

Aloe Vera

Close-up of Aloe Vera in the garden. Aloe vera is a succulent plant known for its fleshy and pointed leaves. Aloe vera leaves are thick and juicy, filled with a gel-like substance. They grow in the form of a rosette, forming a group of leaves extending from a central base. The leaves are long, lanceolate, with small teeth (thorns) on the sides. Leaves are pale green.
Famous for its healing and hydrating properties, aloe vera benefits humans but not all pets.
botanical-name botanical name Aloe vera
plant-type plant type Succulent Evergreen Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11
pet-toxic pet toxic Dogs, Cats, Horses

Best known for its skin hydrating and healing properties, aloe vera is a common succulent plant in many gardens. While it may be good for humans to rub on cuts and sunburns, it is not good for cats, dogs, or horses to ingest. Symptoms include lethargy, depression, vomiting, stomach upset, and tremors.

Andromedas

Close-up of Andromeda, also known as Pieris, in bloom in the garden. The plant has leathery, glossy elliptical leaves. They are dark green in color with slightly serrated edges. Andromeda produces clusters of small, bell-shaped flowers that hang gracefully from the branches. The flowers are white.
Pieris or Andromeda plants, with their beautiful flowers, are poisonous to humans and animals, causing vomiting and potential death.
botanical-name botanical name Pieris
plant-type plant type Evergreen
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9
pet-toxic pet toxic All Animals, Including Humans

Pieris or Andromeda plants are attractive evergreen shrubs that produce pannicles of flowers in shades of pink, red, and white. While they are lovely ornamental plants, they are also highly poisonous to people and pets.

The toxins in this plant can cause vomiting, cardiac failure, and ultimately death if consumed, even in small amounts.

Gardenia

Close-up of a blooming Gardenia in a sunny garden, against a blurred background. Gardenia is an evergreen shrub known for its beautiful and very fragrant flowers. Gardenia leaves are dark green, glossy, elliptical or lanceolate. They are arranged oppositely along the stems, creating dense and lush foliage. The flower is large, white, has a waxy texture. The flower has many overlapping petals forming a fine pinwheel-like structure.
These flowers have a beloved scent and are popular ornamental plants, but they are mildly toxic to pets.
botanical-name botanical name Gardenia
plant-type plant type Evergreen Perennial
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 6-11
pet-toxic pet toxic Dogs, Cats, Horses

The distinctive scent of the gardenia is beloved by gardeners and florists alike. To no one’s surprise, these exquisite evergreen shrubs are one of the most popular ornamental plants in their zones.

Gardenia flowers are mildly toxic to pets. Ingesting this plant can cause allergic reactions in some animals, such as hives and diarrhea.

Holly

Close-up of an Ilex plant, commonly known as Holly, in a garden. It is an evergreen shrub or tree. The leaves are glossy, dark green and have a leathery texture. They are oval in shape, with spiky jagged edges and a waxy appearance. Holly fruits are small, round, bright red berries.
Though holly boughs bring holiday cheer with colorful leaves and shiny red berries, the leaves and berries are toxic.
botanical-name botanical name Ilex
plant-type plant type Evergreen or Deciduous
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals, Including Humans

The sight of a holly bough evokes holiday cheer and winter pops of color. But even the texture of the leaves on this plant warns us to look but don’t touch. The leaves aren’t the only dangerous part of the plant. Holly berries are poisonous to people and animals and can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea if consumed.

Ivy

Close-up of the leaves of an Ivy plant. Hedera, commonly known as Ivy, is a genus of climbing or trailing evergreen plants. The leaves are glossy, dark green. They are alternate, simple, have a characteristic palmate or lobed shape, with three to five pointed lobes radiating from a central point.
This is a distinguished climbing vine that adds a classic vibe to the garden, but it contains saponins.
botanical-name botanical name Hedera
plant-type plant type Evergreen
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-11
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals, Including Humans

Ivy makes a distinguished climbing vine or ground cover. It adds a classic vibe to the garden, reminiscent of an English country garden. The downside is that ivy contains saponins that can cause serious abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting in people and animals. It also tends to be invasive in many parts of the United States.

Kalanchoe

Close-up of a flowering Kalanchoe plant against a blurred background. It is a succulent plant producing fleshy and thick, spoon-shaped leaves with a waxy coating. The leaves are bright green with serrated edges. The flowers are small, tubular, double, collected in racemes or corymbs on erect stems called inflorescences. The flowers are a delicate pink-peach shade.
These easy-to-care-for container plants produce beautiful flowers but are toxic to animals and humans.
botanical-name botanical name Kalanchoe
plant-type plant type Evergreen Succulent
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-12
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals, Especially Dogs

Kalanchoes are typically kept as container plants because they can become invasive in the ground. These succulent plants are typically very easy to care for and produce wonderful flowers during the cooler months.

Pollinators love them, but for people and animals, these are not for eating. Kalanchoe contains toxins that affect the heart and is especially toxic for dogs.

Laurel (Bay)

Close-up of the evergreen shrub Laurus nobilis. The leaves are large, glossy, dark green, lanceolate, with a leathery texture. The leaves have slightly wavy edges.
Bay Laurel leaves are popular for seasoning food, but their raw form contains a neurotoxin harmful to humans and animals.
botanical-name botanical name Laurus nobilis
plant-type plant type Evergreen
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7-10
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals (when raw)

The leaves of the bay laurel tree are commonly used as a seasoning in food preparation. The Mediterranean native has aromatic foliage and an attractive shape.

However, the raw leaves and flowers, especially their flowers, contain a neurotoxin that is dangerous to humans and animals in its uncooked state. Cats seem to be affected most severely.

Mistletoe

Close-up of Viscum in a sunny garden. Viscum is a small evergreen shrub that forms dense clumps on the branches of host trees. The plant has thick stems and leathery oval-shaped leaves of bright green color. The leaves are simple and opposite, meaning they grow in pairs along the stems. The fruits are small, rounded, white.
Mistletoe, a hemiparasitic plant, derives nutrients from its host and is famous for Christmas kisses.
botanical-name botanical name Viscum album
plant-type plant type Evergreen
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals, Including Humans

Best known for giving sweethearts a reason to smooch at Christmastime, mistletoe is a hemiparasitic plant that draws much of its nutrients and water from a host plant. The evergreen plant has small white berries.

The berries, leaves, and stems all contain phoratoxin and viscotoxin, both poisonous proteins. Ingestion typically presents as gastrointestinal upset, but large amounts can cause heart problems and hallucinations.

Oleander

Close-up of Nerium oleander in bloom in the garden. It is an evergreen shrub with dark green, leathery, lanceolate leaves arranged in whorls along the stems. They have a glossy texture and a smooth edge. The flowers are bright pink, collected in large showy inflorescences at the ends of the branches. The flowers are funnel-shaped and have five petals with fringed edges.
A stunning low-maintenance plant with beautiful flowers, oleander is highly toxic to all animals and humans.
botanical-name botanical name Nerium oleander
plant-type plant type Evergreen
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-10
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals, Including Humans

Oleander is a beautiful, low-maintenance plant that produces wonderful flowers in shades of pink and white. It is evergreen and grows quite large with very little attention. It is also highly poisonous to all animals and humans.

Avoid touching the plant with bare hands or inhaling smoke from burning foliage, as this can cause toxic effects. Ingesting a single leaf can kill an adult!

Sago Palm

Cycas revoluta grows in a sunny garden. Cycas revoluta, commonly known as the Sago palm or King Sago palm, is a slow-growing cycad plant with distinctive foliage. The plant has large, feather-like leaves that emerge from the central canopy. The leaves are pinnate, which means they are divided into several leaflets arranged along a central axis. Leaflets are glossy, hard, dark green. They are lanceolate or oblong in shape with a pointed tip and a folded (curved down) edge.
These palms are popular in landscaping for their tropical appearance but are highly toxic to humans and animals.
botanical-name botanical name Cycas revoluta
plant-type plant type Evergreen
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-10
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals, Including Humans

Sago palms are commonly used in landscaping for their ease of care and interesting appearance. They require very little care and have a tropical look to them.

However, sago palm is highly toxic to humans and animals, with an estimated 35%-50% mortality rate in dogs from consumption. All plant parts contain cycasin which is a carcinogen and neurotoxin.

Rhododendrons

Close-up of a flowering Rhododendron in the garden. Rhododendron is an evergreen shrub with thick leathery leaves with a glossy texture. The shape of the leaves is elongated, lanceolate, with smooth edges. Purple flowers, large, showy, tubular. They are formed by brushes at the ends of the branches.
Rhodies are popular flowering shrubs with toxic parts, including flowers, leaves, and fruits.
botanical-name botanical name Rhododendron
plant-type plant type Evergreen or Deciduous
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals, Including Humans

Rhododendrons are common ornamental shrubs that flower prolifically in the spring, summer, or fall. The flowers, leaves, fruits, and other plant parts contain toxic diterpenes. Small amounts can cause hallucinations and light-headedness.

The most common way humans are affected is by consuming honey produced by bees that feed on these plants, called “mad honey.” Ingestion of a few leaves can cause serious illness and even death in dogs.

Yew

Close-up of Taxus baccata in the garden. Taxus baccata, commonly known as English yew, is an evergreen coniferous tree. The plant has a compact and symmetrical growth, with a straight trunk and horizontally spreading branches. The leaves are dark green, glossy, needle-shaped. The fruits are small and fleshy, called stalks. They are bright red berry-like structures.
This plant is highly toxic to humans and animals due to taxines that are present in all parts except the seed casings.
botanical-name botanical name Taxus baccata
plant-type plant type Evergreen
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8
pet-toxic pet toxic All Mammals, Including Humans

This long-lived evergreen is typically grown for the use of its wood in making furniture and flooring. It also happens to be highly poisonous to humans and animals. All plant parts, except seed casings, contain alkaloids called taxines. Ingestion of even a small amount can result in death in a matter of hours.

Pet Safe Plants

Here is a list of plants considered safe for people and pets. I know how difficult it can be to part with plants that you have grown to love. Fortunately, there are plenty of beautiful plants that are entirely safe for animals and humans alike!

Here are 31 of the best safe alternatives (with links to my favorite seeds!):

Final Thoughts

Some organizations may encourage you to modify your garden to make it entirely safe for a new pet, or even an existing pet, if you are concerned that they may still munch on your plants. But this may not be necessary.

Ultimately, only you know how much time your pet will spend unattended in certain parts of the yard. Steering clear of the most dangerous plants is always a good idea, as mere contact with the foliage of some plants can cause unpleasant effects.

SHARE THIS POST
critter cages

Gardening Tips

How to Use Cloches and Critter Cages to Protect Young Plants

You just transplanted some tender young plants into your garden plot, and by the following day, they have already been eaten to the ground. What can you do to protect young plants from hungry herbivores? And what can help protect new transplants from a springtime cold snap? In this article, gardening enthusiast Liessa Bowen will discuss how to use both cloches and cages to protect your valuable young plants during their most vulnerable stages.

native plants for hummingbirds

Flowers

27 Native Plants That Attract Hummingbirds

Do you love watching hummingbirds flitting from flower to flower, or have you always wondered how you can attract these beautiful birds to your landscape? If you live in a location with hummingbirds, you can easily create an environment to entice these little birds to visit your yard. In this article, gardening enthusiast and wildlife biologist Liessa Bowen will share 27 favorite native plants to attract hummingbirds.