Many houseplants can be toxic if your pets or children ingest them. While most pets and children do not eat houseplants, if yours are inclined to do, use this resource to help identify them. There are several types of toxins that can be present in houseplants such as solanine, oxalates, and cardiac glycosides, which may cause nausea, vomiting, irriation, or worse. There are over 700 common houseplants that can contain toxins, but here is a list of the 20 common houseplants.

Keeping Toxic Houseplants Out of Reach

Growing houseplants on high surfaces, such as a trailing plant cascading down from atop a bookcase or hutch, will keep them safely out of reach of dogs. 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.

toxic houseplants to avoid pets cats dogs children

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 johnson's gardens cedarburg snake plant sansevieria

Umbrella Plant
Schefflera

find houseplants and indoor tropicals at johnson's gardens cedarburg umbrella plant schefflera

ZZ Plant
Zamioculcas

find houseplants and indoor tropicals at johnson'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)

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 oxolate 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.

by Zannah Crowe

non toxic houseplants johnson's gardens cedarburg aluminum plant pilea boston fern nephrolepis bostoniensis

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

non toxic houseplants johnson's gardens cedarburg christmas cactus schlumbergera hoya

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

non toxic houseplants johnson's gardens cedarburg norfolk pine araucaria prayer plant maranta calathea

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