Houseplants add color, beauty, and life to our homes, but some plants should be grown with a little extra caution. If you're aware of your plant's toxicity, you can make sure they're in a safe spot in your home. Here are 10 common houseplants that are both beautiful and poisonous.

By Deb Wiley

There are dozens of gorgeous houseplants that you can grow. As a plant parent, it's important to know as much as you can about each plant so you can care for them in the best way possible. It's also important to know if the plants are toxic. Just because they are poisonous doesn't mean you can't grow them. But if you have inquisitive children and pets who may want to chew or crush plants, you need to take special care to put them in a safe place where they won't be disturbed.

Some plants are more toxic than others. Poisonous houseplants can cause skin irritations, stomach upsets, and burning of the mouth and throat. The good news is that most must be consumed in large quantities to cause any real damage. Often the bitter taste repels a child or pet and stops them from ingesting much of the plant. If you suspect that a child or pet has been poisoned by eating or touching a houseplant, call your doctor or veterinarian, go to an emergency room, or call the 24-hour National Capital Poison Center at 800-222-1222.

Use care when growing and displaying these common poisonous plants in your home. Native poisonous plants vary by geographic location; contact your local extension service for more specific information.

Bob Greenspan


Planning on forcing bulbs indoors? Many spring bulbs, including hyacinths and daffodils forced for indoor blooms, are toxic if eaten by humans or pets. Eating the bulbs (which can be mistaken for shallots or onions) can cause intense stomach problems, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and even death. Make sure you keep daffodils up on a counter or shelf where they won't be disturbed or try growing them in a terrarium.

Jacob Fox

Dumb Cane

Dieffenbachia selections grow in low-light conditions and add a tropical vibe to decor. It's earned one of its common names, dumb cane, because of the symptoms that occur when it's eaten. The sap causes the tongue to burn and swell, enough to block off air to the throat. It can be fatal to both humans and pets if ingested in large amounts. There are tons of cool plant stands available in stores that will help you keep this plant off the ground.

Easter Lily

This flower's scent is unmistakable and the pure white blooms are eye-catching. Although they're beautiful, cats have been known to suffer serious damage after eating Easter lilies. Eating small amounts of any part of the plant can lead to a cat's death from kidney failure if not treated by a veterinarian within 18 hours. The plant is not poisonous to children, but they can choke on pieces of it.

English Ivy

These plants are the perfect go-to vine to have draping from a bookshelf or indoor container garden. Large quantities of English ivy must be ingested to cause serious problems, but all parts of English ivy can cause symptoms that include skin irritation, burning throat after eating the berries, fever, and rash. Since ivy tends to trail, set it somewhere high off the ground, out of reach of children and pets.

Bill Holt


All parts of oleander, a popular indoor flowering shrub, are extremely poisonous. Although they have risks, their delicate blooms and unique foliage make growing them well worth in. Wear gloves and wash your hands when pruning and taking cuttings to be sure you don't accidentally ingest the sap. It can be fatal if eaten.

Blaine Moats

Peace Lily

A popular low-light houseplant, the peace lily is toxic only if large quantities of the leaves are eaten. Enjoy the dark green leaves and white flowers from afar, like atop a bookshelf, if you have pets or young children. As it ages, a peace lily's green foliage deepens in color.


No other group of plants is as widely used indoors as philodendrons, but they are poisonous to humans and pets. Eating them can cause burning and swelling of lips, tongue, and throat; vomiting; and diarrhea. Like ivy, philodendrons have a trailing habit, so keep far from the floor.


Pothos, a close relative of philodendron, pothos is just as easy to grow, but unfortunately causes the same symptoms of philodendron if ingested. Can't stay away from this heart-leaved beauty? Try the easy-care vining plant in a hanging basket or on a plant pole.

Sago Palm

Make your home feel like a tropical oasis with this miniature palm. One of the oldest living plants on earth, sago palm may have survived so long because animals don't eat it. All parts of the plants, including the seeds and roots, are poisonous. Ingesting sago palm causes vomiting and diarrhea, and may lead to liver failure.

Indestructible Houseplant

ZZ Plant

The drought-tolerant ZZ plant is a wonderful addition to low-light situations in homes and offices, but all parts of this plant are poisonous. Keep it away from children and pets, and wash your hands or wear gloves if you need to handle it. Otherwise, this plant tolerates neglect.

Comments (1)

February 1, 2019
As an RN I have found that all plants that are considered poisonous to animals and humans are not consumed in the amount that would do harm. Poor old Poinsetta gets such a bad rap at Christmas---POISON POISON--yep, it is going to give you 1 hellava bellyache if you eat a cup or 3 of the leaves--but kill you ??? Nah.