20 Common Toxic Houseplants

Published On: September 10th, 2019


Many houseplants can be toxic if your pets or children ingest them. Most pets and children stay away, but if your’s are inclined to do, use this resource to help identify them. There are several types of toxins that can be present such as solanine, oxalates, and cardiac glycosides, which may cause nausea, vomiting, irritation, or worse. There are over 700 common houseplants that can contain toxins, but here is a list of the 20 most common.

toxic houseplants to avoid pets cats dogs children

Keeping Toxic Houseplants Out of Reach

Growing houseplants on high surfaces to keep them safely out of reach of dogs. For example, a trailing plant cascading down from a bookcase or hutch. Cats, however, are a bit more challenging as their agility allows them to scale seemingly even the most inaccessible locations.

Cats tend to be more attracted to plants with lacey or grass-like foliage so selecting plants with large, bold, or heavier leaves may discourage cat browsing.

Highly Toxic Houseplants

May be fatal if ingested.

Lilies

Lilium

toxic houseplants for cats dogs and children lilies lilium

Philodendron

Philodendron

toxic houseplants to avoid indoor plant philodendron

Pothos/Devil’s Ivy

Epipremnum

houseplants that may be toxic to pets and kids pothos

Sago Palm

Cycas revoluta

toxic houseplants sago palm cycas revoluta

Mildly Toxic Houseplants

May cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, irritation of mouth & throat.

Aloe Vera

Aloe

houseplants and indoor plants toxic aloe vera

Amaryllis

Amaryllis

toxic houseplants bulb amaryllis

Arrowhead Plant

Syngonium

houseplants and indoor plants toxic syngonium arrowhead plant

Chinese Evergreen

Aglaonema

mildly toxic indoor houseplants chinese evergreen aglaonema

Dieffenbachia

Diffenbachia

toxic houseplants pets and children diffenbachia

Dracaena

Dracaena

mildly toxic houseplants indoor plant dracaena

Fiddleleaf Fig

Ficus lyrata

top 20 toxic houseplants fiddleleaf fig ficus

Ivy

Hedera

mildly toxic houseplants kids pets dogs cats hedera ivy

Jade Plant

Crassula

mildly toxic houseplants crassula jade plant

Kalanchoe

Kalanchoe

toxic houseplants kalanchoe

Peace Lily

Spathiphyllum

houseplants and indoor plants toxic peace lily spathiphyllum

Poinsettia

Poinsettia

houseplants and indoor plants toxic poinsettia

Rubber Plant

Ficus elastica

top 20 toxic houseplants rubber plant ficus elastica

Snake Plant

Sansevieria

find houseplants and indoor tropicals at Heyden's Gardens cedarburg snake plant sansevieria

Umbrella Plant

Schefflera

find houseplants and indoor tropicals at Heyden's Gardens cedarburg umbrella plant schefflera

ZZ Plant

Zamioculcas

find houseplants and indoor tropicals at Heyden's Gardens cedarburg zz plant zamioculcas

Non-Toxic Houseplants

Even these can cause sickness when consumed in volume.

  • African Violet (Saintpaulia)
  • Aluminum Plant (Pilea)
  • Areca palm (Dypsis)
  • Asparagus Fern (Asparagus densiflorus)
  • Baby Tears (Soleirolia)
  • Bloodleaf (Iresene)
  • Boston Fern (Nephrolepis bostoniensis)
  • Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra)
  • Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera)
  • Figleaf Palm (Fatsia japonica)
  • Hoya (Hoya)
  • Norfolk Pine (Araucaria)
  • Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis)
  • Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea)
  • Peperomia (Peperomia)
  • Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes)
  • Ponytail Palm (Nolina tuberculate)
  • Prayer Plant/Maranta (Calathea)
  • Spider Plant (Chlorophytum)
  • Succulents (most – including Echeveria, Haworthia, Sedum, Sempervivum)
  • Swedish Ivy (Plectranthus)
  • Wandering Jew (Tradescantia)
non toxic houseplants Heyden's Gardens cedarburg aluminum plant pilea boston fern nephrolepis bostoniensis

Left: Pilea | Right: Boston Fern (Nephrolepis bostoniensis)

non toxic houseplants Heyden's Gardens cedarburg christmas cactus schlumbergera hoya

Left: Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera) | Right: Hoya (Hoya)

non toxic houseplants Heyden's Gardens cedarburg norfolk pine araucaria prayer plant maranta calathea

Left: Norfolk Pine (Araucaria) | Right: Prayer Plant/Maranta (Calathea)

Toxins in Houseplants

There are several types of toxins that can be present in houseplants and cause illness in pets:

Solanine

Solanine is produced by plants to act as a natural pesticide, protecting them from insects and animal browsing. When ingested it causes irritation and injury to the digestive tract, resulting in cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Oxalates

Some plants accumulate oxalate crystals in their tissues. When ingested these plants will cause irritation and swelling of the mouth and throat, which can – in severe cases – lead to suffocation.

Cardiac glycosides

Cardiac glycoside interferes with electrolyte balance in the heart muscle, causing irregular heartbeat, tremors, seizures, weakness, and collapse.