10 Houseplants that Families Should Avoid

Having houseplants can really liven up your home, especially in the gray winter months but parents should be aware of these houseplants that families should avoid.

Plants are great for those who put the research and time into taking care of them — they can also be great to help teach kids responsibility before getting a pet and plants welcome green and nature into the home, which allows for better breathing and, depending on the plant, more homegrown meals.

However, parents should be cautious about bringing new plants into their home.

While many plants are safe around adults, some can be toxic, and since both pets and children have a funny habit of getting into what they’re not supposed to, there are some plants that parents might just want to skip over all together.

Here are a few common houseplants that contain toxins and poison that can be harmful to the ones we most want to keep safe.


Photo via Pexels

According to Hillspet.com, Lilies are an all-encompassing term for about 90 classifications of flowers including the Tiger Lily, Madonna Lily and Royal Lily — all are dangerous to cats.

When ingested, they immediately cause kidney failure. As beautiful as these flowers are, they are not worth the risk trying to hide from your cats. Humans experience mild symptoms if ingested such as upset stomach and headache, but cats are the most vulnerable.


Photo via TheBump.com

A Christmas favorite, the mistletoe can be poisonous to cats, dogs and babies, depending on how much they ingest, Pet Poison Helpline reports. Small amounts cause mild indigestion issues but large amounts can cause more serious issues of abnormal heart rate, hypotension and seizures.

Parents who insist on bringing in mistletoe should note that the American mistletoe is less dangerous than the European mistletoe.


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Toxic to cats, dogs and horses, eucalyptus — specifically eucalyptol — can cause vomiting, diarrhea and depression. The ASPCA warns that pet owners should be wary of their essential oils and plants within reach of these animals.

English Ivy

Photo via DenGarden.com

English Ivy is a beautiful centerpiece but can be harmful to younger children and house pets, DenGarden reports.

For adults, symptoms of rash and fever will only appear after eating a lot of the plant, but for babies it is best to be careful due to their small size. Burning of the throat and convulsions are more serious side effects. For cats and dogs, tremors vomiting and hyperactivity may occur.


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According to TheBump.com, Daffodils are not a poisonous plant but if your child happens to eat a lot of them, it can make them sick. Symptoms of nausea, irritated mouth and throat, and vomiting can occur.

Better safe than sorry, if you have daffodils in your home it’s best to hang or place them out of reach of children.


Photo via TheBump.com

TheBump.com reports that Azaleas are great and beautiful additions to homes and gardens. Adding a pop of color, they are meant to be displayed. However, even small amounts can cause mild symptoms of nausea, vomiting and irritation. Large amounts are more serious and can even be life threatening.


Photo via Pexels

Caladiums, also known as Elephant Ears, are another “mouth irritant” house plant, meaning that if too much is ingested, swelling around the mouth and throat will occur. This is due to the calcium oxalate that turns these plants from beautiful to harmful, according to ABC News.

Aloe Vera

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Aloe Vera is known for its soothing properties commonly seen in hand sanitizers and sunburn products. But while it’s softening for humans, Weddington Animal Hospital says that for cats and dogs it can be mildly toxic. It can cause indigestion issues, depression, tremors and changes in urine color.

Dumb Cane

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Dieffenbachia is also known as the Dumb Cane or Mother-In-Law plant. For humans, this is mildly poisonous but for cats and dogs can have more severe an impact, Paw Dog Daycare explains.

This vibrant and leafy plant can cause burning and swelling around the mouth and throat. These symptoms may be harder to pinpoint because they can happen up to two weeks after ingesting the plant.

Asparagus Fern

Photo via The Drake Center

While this plant is easy to grow and take care of, The Drake Center explains that repeated exposure can cause skin irritation in pets. The berries are poisonous to them and can cause vomiting and upset stomach.

Any other toxic plants you think that we should add to our list? Let us know about them in the comments.

This post was originally published in August 2020 and is updated regularly.


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