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.


toxic houseplants for cats dogs and children lilies lilium


toxic houseplants to avoid indoor plant philodendron

Pothos/Devil’s Ivy

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

houseplants and indoor plants toxic aloe vera


toxic houseplants bulb amaryllis

Arrowhead Plant

houseplants and indoor plants toxic syngonium arrowhead plant

Chinese Evergreen

mildly toxic indoor houseplants chinese evergreen aglaonema


toxic houseplants pets and children diffenbachia


mildly toxic houseplants indoor plant dracaena

Fiddleleaf Fig
Ficus lyrata

top 20 toxic houseplants fiddleleaf fig ficus


mildly toxic houseplants kids pets dogs cats hedera ivy

Jade Plant

mildly toxic houseplants crassula jade plant


toxic houseplants kalanchoe

Peace Lily

houseplants and indoor plants toxic peace lily spathiphyllum


houseplants and indoor plants toxic poinsettia

Rubber Plant
Ficus elastica

top 20 toxic houseplants rubber plant ficus elastica

Snake Plant

find houseplants and indoor tropicals at johnson's gardens cedarburg snake plant sansevieria

Umbrella Plant

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

ZZ Plant

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 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.


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)