Safe & Unsafe Plants

Plant List

NOTE: It’s the dose that makes the poison. Some plants one bite can be harmful, other plants may take eating the entire plant. The same plant in Florida may be less harmful in Washington, or more harmful. Call 1-800-222-1222 if you have questions about plant toxicity.

Lists of  safe vs unsafe plants are never complete and can be hard to understand. Some toxic planbts look like nontoxic plants when trying to name it by a photograph. It is best when buying a plant to check with the store clerk. For plants you currently have, bring them or clippings to your local garden store.


Common nontoxic (safe) plants

The following plants are known to be safe or nonpoisonous. It is important to remember though, that children and animals can choke on any plant. This is not a complete list:

African violet Donkey tail Peperomia
Air fern Dracaena Piggyback plant
Aluminum plant Fittonia, red Pilea
Aralia Fuchsia Polka dot plant
Areca palm Ferns (many are nontoxic Prayer plant
Baby tears Forsythia Pregnancy plant
Begonia (except sand begonia) Gardenia Primula
Birch berry Hibiscus Purple velvet
Bloodleaf plant Honeysuckle Rubber plant
Boston fern Impatiens Schefflera
Bromeliads Inch plant Snake plant
Butterfly Jade plant Snowball tree
Cactus, Christmas Japanese aralia Spider plant
Calathea, painted Kalanchoe Sumac
California poppy Lady’s slipper Swedish ivy
Camellia Lipstick plant Tiger lily (toxic to cats)
Coleus Manzanita Umbrella plant
Corn plant Marigold Velvet plant
Croton (most are nontoxic) Mountain ash Violets
Creeping Charlie Nasturtium Wandering Jew
Dandelion Palm Zebra plant
Dogwood Patient Lucy

Common toxic (unsafe) plants

Many toxic plants produce very minor symptoms, such as a stomach upset, mouth and throat pain or skin rash. If large quantities are swallwed, or if a person frequently takes smaller amounts of the plant, more serious symptoms could develop. Som people are more sensitive to the toxic effects of plants than are others. It is very rare for plants to cause life-threatening symptoms. This is not a complete list.

Amaryllis: 2 Firethorn: 2, 4 Philodendron: 3, 4
Azalea: 1 Foxglove: 1 Periwinkle: 1
Begonia: 2, 3 Glory lily: 1 Poinsettia: 2, 4
Bird of Paradise: 2 Goldenchain tree: 2 Poison ivy: 2, 4
Buttercup: 2, 4 Holly berry: 2 Poppy: 2, 4
Calla lilly: 3, 4 Horsechestnut: 2 Poison hemlock: 1
Camphor tree: 2 Hyacinth: 2, 4 Potato plant: 1
Carnation: 2, 4 Hyrangea blossom: 1, 4 Pothos: 3, 4
Castor bean: 1 Iris: 2, 4 Pyracantha: 2, 4
Chinese evergreen: 3, 4 Jack-in-the-pulpit: 3, 4 Rhododendron: 1
Chrysanthemum: 2, 4 Jequirity bean: 1 Rhubarb leaves: 3
Cotoneaster berry: 2 Jerusalem cherry: 1 Rosary bean: 1
Cyclamen: 2, 3 Jimson week: 1 Skunk cabbage: 2
Daffodil bulb: 2, 4 Juniper: 2 Snow-on-the-mountain: 2, 4
Daisy: 2, 4 Larkspur: 1 Spider lily: 2
Daphne: 1 Laurel cherry: 1 St Johnswort: 1, 4
Death camas: 1 Lily-of-the-valley: 1, 2 Tomato leaves: 1, 4
Dumbcane: 3 Mistletoe: 2, 4 Tulips: 2, 4
English laurel: 1 Morning glory seeds: 1 Virginia creeper: 3, 4
Elderberry: 1 Nightshade, Deadly: 1 Water hemlock: 1
Elephant ears: 3, 4 Oleander: 1, 4 Wintersweet: 1
Eucalyptus: 2, 4 Oak tree: 2, 4 Yew berry: 1

Toxicity Class

1. Major Toxicity

These plants may cause serious illness or death—if ingested, immediately call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.

2. Minor Toxicity

Ingestion of these plants may cause minor illnesses such as vomiting or diarrhea. If ingested, call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.

3. Oxalates

The juice or sap of these plants contains oxalate crystals. These needle-shaped crystals can irritate the skin, mouth, tongue, and throat, resulting in throat swelling, breathing difficulties, burning pain, and stomach upset. Call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 if any of these symptoms appear following ingestion of plants.

4. Dermatitis

The juice, sap, or thorns of these plants may cause a skin rash or irritation. Wash the affected area of skin with soap and water as soon as possible after contact. The rashes may be very serious and painful. Call the Poison Center 1-800-222-1222 if symptoms appear following contact with the plants.