Children Pets and House Plants, Tips To Avoid A Toxic Mess
ShareTap Staff 11/23/2016
In the world of home decor, house plants have long been the natural accessory to spice up any space. With the variety of indoor plants, picking one can literally be like picking art work with the perfect color, size, and texture to fit the space. With the beauty of house plants also comes the added benefit of having a natural air purifier that doesn't resemble an ugly humming plastic box.
It's no doubt that houseplants can be beneficial to the home environment, but if you’re not careful they can also cause harm, especially in households with young children and common pets. Folks at Better Homes and Garden warn agains inquisitive children and pets who might chew or crush the plant, causing allergic skin irritations, stomach upsets, or worse ailments that might require a doctor's visit. Don't let this scare you from heading to your local garden store though; just take along this list of common indoor plants that can prove toxic in your home with furry and non furry animals.
One of the most common house plants, philodendron, comes in vining and non-vining varieties. What makes this beloved plant toxic to humans and animals is the presence of calcium oxalate crystals. In humans, mild side effects, including a dermatitis reaction and the swelling of the mouth and digestive tract can occur. The results are more harmful to pets like cats and dogs causing pain, spasms, seizures, and swelling.
Narcissus or Daffodils
A spring time favorite, daffodils bulbs are often forced for indoor blooms and can be toxic if eaten by humans or pets. The Poison Garden claims that accidental ingestion of the daffodil bulbs is not uncommon since they look so similar to shallots or onions. Symptoms of ingestion include high blood pressure, intense stomach problems, irregular heartbeat, and even death.
Dieffenbachia or Dumb Cane
This house plant earns its unscientific name, dumb cane, from the fact that if eaten, the sap causes the tongue to burn and swell, enough to block off air to the throat. In large quantities, it can be fatal to both humans and pets.
Zamioculcas zamiifolia or ZZ Plant
With fleshy dark foliage, the ZZ Plant is considered to be a great addition to any room that tends to have low light. It is drought resistant making it an even better choice for those lacking a green thumb. Beware though, House Plant Experts warn that all parts of the ZZ plant are poisonous if ingested by humans and pets alike.
Flickr/Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Related to the philodendron an arrowhead plant is bushy with heart-shaped leaves. As the plant gets older, it produces climbing stems and arrowhead-shaped leaves. Arrowhead leaves can be toxic to humans and pets causing stomach upset, irritated skin, and vomiting. This plant is also a big shedder so watch out for fallen leaves that can be easily ingested.
Who doesn't love a blooming and fragrant lily in the home, but some varieties of lilies such as Calla Lily, Day Lily, Easter Lily, Rubrum Lily, Tiger Lily, and Asian Lily can be very toxic. Humans ingesting the plant can cause stomach upset, headache, vomiting, blurred vision, and skin irritation. Cats, unlike dogs, are more susceptible to lily poisoning with symptoms include vomiting, lack of appetite, lethargy, and renal or liver failure if left untreated.
Pothos Ivy or Devil's Ivy
Touted for being one of the best air purifying plant out there, Pathos Ivy or Devil's Ivy is also one of the most common house plants since it can self propagate from cuttings and often makes for an easy and thoughtful housewarming gift. Pothos is considered mildly toxic when ingested. In humans it can cause burning of the mouth, swelling of lips, tongue, and throat, skin irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea. In cats and dogs it can cause drooling, difficulty breathing, choking, swelling of mouth and tongue, and stomach upset.
If you already have one of these plants in your home, worry not! An easy way to avoid some of the danger says Den Garden, is to simply hang or put the plants out of reach. Keeping the phone number for Poison Control in a visible space might not be a bad idea as well, just in case the children and pets are extra inquisitive and resourceful.
Having plants around the home can help to reduce stress, improve air quality, and provide a welcoming environment for all. Going green is definitely the right choice when you know what toxic plants to avoid.
Sources: Better Homes and Garden, Den Garden, The Poison Garden, House Plant Experts FB Image Credit: Flickr/madaise