Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

Guide to Poisonous and Nontoxic Houseplants

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Houseplants
Houseplants are great additions to your home, improving air quality while bring a little bit of nature indoors. However, if you have children or pets, it’s important to be careful when choosing houseplants, since some varieties can be poisonous. Here’s what you need to know about poisonous and nonpoisonous houseplants for your home.

Dangers of Poisonous Houseplants

The word “toxic” can have varying meanings – just because a plant is considered toxic doesn’t mean it’s necessarily deadly poisonous, it just means that the plants typically cause a harmful reaction if eaten or rubbed on the skin. The harmful effects of some houseplants can include:

    Philodendron

    Philodendron

  • Irritation: Causes burning or swelling of mouth and skin from irritating plant saps called oxalates.
  • Illness: Causes nausea, vomiting, convulsions, or other sickness if leaves or berries are ingested.
  • Severe Illness or Death: Causes dangerous, or even deadly, reactions if the plants are eaten.

Common Toxic Houseplants

The following houseplants are known for causing various harmful reactions if the leaves or berries are rubbed on the skin, chewed, or eaten. While not all of them are deadly, it’s a good idea to keep them out of reach of curious children or pets:

Plant Name Irritation or swelling Digestive reaction Can be deadly!
Aloe (Aloe sp.)
Amaryllis (Hippeastrum)
Anthurium (Anthurium sp.)
Arrowhead Vine (Nephthytis)
Asparagus Fern (Asparagus plumosus)
Azaleas (Rhododendron sp.)
Cactus (Cactaceae sp.)
Caladium (Caladium sp.)
Castor bean (Ricinus communis)
Century Plant (Agave americana)
Clivia (Clivia sp.)
Croton (Codiaeum variegatum)
Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii)
Cyclamen (Cyclamen sp.)
Daffodil (Narcissus sp.)
Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia sp.)
English Ivy (Hedera helix)
Ficus (Ficus sp.)
Fishtail Palm (Caryota sp.)
Jerusalem Cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum)
Mistletoe (Phoradendron sp.)
Oleander (Nerium oleander)
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
Philodendron (Philodendron sp.)
Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
Pothos (Scindapsus)
Schefflera (Schefflera sp.)
Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera deliciosa)

Nontoxic Houseplants

While it’s hard to predict whether a particular person will have a reaction in contact with a particular plant, the following houseplants are typically considered to be nontoxic:

    African Violet

    African Violet

  • African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha)
  • Aluminum Plant (Pilea sp.)
  • Baby Tears (Helxine soleirolii)
  • Bromeliads (Guzmania sp.)
  • Coleus (Coleus sp.)
  • Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans)
  • Creeping Charlie (Pilea nummularia)
  • Dracaena (Dracaena sp.)
  • Hens and Chickens (Sempervivum tectorum)
  • Holiday Cactus (Schlumbergera sp.)
  • Indoor Ferns
  • Jade Plant (Crassula argentea)
  • Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe sp.)
  • Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus lobbianus)
  • Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla)
  • English Ivy

    English Ivy

  • Orchids (Epiphyllum sp.)
  • Palms (except Fishtail)
  • Peperomia (Peperomia sp.)
  • Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)
  • Purple Passion Plant (Gynura aurantiaca)
  • Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)
  • Sensitive Plant (Mimosa pudica)
  • Snake Plant or Mother-In-Law’s Tongue (Sanseveria trifasciata)
  • Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
  • Swedish Ivy (Plectranthus australis)
  • Wandering Jew (Tradescantia sp.)
  • Wax Plant (Hoya carmosa)
  • Zebra Plant (Aphelandra squarrosa)

Printable Plant List

Further Information



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One Comment on “Guide to Poisonous and Nontoxic Houseplants”

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  1. MJ Potter Says:
    October 16th, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    I have been searching for comprehensive lists of toxic and non-toxic plants. The lists I find are usually short and contradictory with other lists. I do not understand why the lists are not consistent throughout information available.

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