So, I did a little bit of research on poisonous succulents to find out if any of the ones in my house are poisonous. Toxic flowers can make our beloved pets sick and you might feel concerned especially when you see a pet chew on some leaves.
As a flower and dog lover, I can’t risk one being a danger to the other. This post will hopefully help you if you are on the verge of getting some succulents or you already own some.
Few of the succulents are poisonous to humans, however, a good number are poisonous to your pets. The level of toxicity of the succulent is different depending on the variety. Some of the toxic varieties include Jade Plant, Snake Plant, Panda Plant, kalanchoe, and Aloe Vera. Some of the nontoxic succulents include Christmas cactus, Burro’s Tail, and Hens-and-Chicks.
In the rest of this article, I will give more info on varieties of poisonous succulents and nonpoisonous succulents for both humans and pets. I will also look at some actions you can take to keep your pets and toddlers away from your succulents.
Jade Plant is also known as the money plant or lucky plant. The plant is native to Mozambique and South Africa but has been adopted as a houseplant all over the world. The plant has thick branches with rich green jade leaves and produces small white or pink flowers.
The plant is preferred because it is easy to propagate as well as to maintain. Propagation can be done by placing severed leaves in or on the soil. It requires little tending and can survive in almost all indoor conditions.
The plant is poisonous to both cats and dogs. Although the succulent is nontoxic to humans, its sap can cause dermatitis. Ingestion of the plant can cause vomiting, incoordination, low heart rate, lethargy and even depression for your pet.
Panda Plant (Kalanchoe Tomentosa)
Panda plant is a common succulent preferred because it is easy to care for. The plant is also known as Pussy ears. It is loved for its velvet and furry looking leaves that resemble cat ears. The leaves are oval-shaped and are covered in tiny hairs and have a grayish green color with brown tips. The plant is native to Madagascar and is grown both indoors and outdoors.
The panda plant grows to approximately 1.5 ft. Furthermore, the plant hardly flowers when grown indoors and is only kept for its beautiful foliage. The plant loves bright light and sun, factors that should be considered when deciding where to place them in the house of office.
The plant is toxic to both dogs and cats. It causes vomiting and mouth irritation.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata)
The Snake Plant is also known as Mother-in-law’s tongue or Viper’s bowstring hemp. The evergreen perennial is native to tropical West Africa. The leaves are dark green when mature with light gray-green cross-banding. The ornamental plant is preferred because it can survive with irregular watering and high tolerance to low light levels.
The snake plant is poisonous to both dogs and cats. It contains saponins which can cause gastrointestinal upset and lead to vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.
On another note, NASA conducted a study that found out that the Snake Plant has air purification qualities. In fact, the plant is able to remove 4 of the 5 main toxins. In addition, the plant exchanges gases at night unlike other plants and therefore releases oxygen at night.
Euphorbia is a large genus comprising of about 2000 flowering plants. The genus is commonly known as spurge. The genus consists of a wide range of plants ranging from flowering trees, shrubs and succulents. Majority of the species are native to tropical and subtropical regions of America and Africa. The succulent species have thick and fleshy main stems and side arms, while the leaves are often small.
The euphorbia causes skin irritation. It secretes a milky-white, sticky fluid that contains latex that is transparent when dry. The latex consists of diterpenes, triterpenes, and esters which are skin-irritants.
When the latex comes into contact with mucous membranes such as the mouth, throat, nose, and eyes, it produces extremely painful inflammation. Exposure should not be ignored as it can be dangerous, eye exposure can cause severe eye damage including blindness.
The latex is toxic to humans, dogs, and cats. Any contact with the latex should be washed off ASAP. The latex is insoluble in water but can be easily washed with soap or milk.
The Aloe Vera is an evergreen perennial which originated from the Arabian Peninsula. The plant is cultivated for many purposes including medicinal, agricultural and ornamental. The plant has been used over the years in skin lotions, cosmetics, beverages as well as ointments.
The plant has a very short stem with thick, fleshy, green to grey-green leaves depending on the variety. The margin of the leaves is serrated with white teeth. Aloe Vera is native to South-west Arabian Peninsula but has been adopted all over the world.
The plant is toxic to both humans and pets. The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has found that ingested non-decolorized liquid aloe vera is carcinogenic to animals and possibly in humans as well. Ingested aloe vera can also cause diarrhea and abdominal cramps.
After finishing the research on poisonous succulents, I also sort to find out which succulents are non-poisonous for both pets and children.
Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera)
The Christmas Cactus is also known as the Thanksgiving Cactus or Holiday (Easter) Cactus, named so because of the season they flower. The plant is native to South-eastern Brazil and produces orange, yellow, pink, white, purple, or red flowers.
There are different varieties of the Christmas cactus and the short and upright ones are often preferred when selecting houseplants.
Burro’s Tail (Sedum Morganiamum)
The Burro’s Tail is also known as the Donkey Tail. It’s a succulent perennial that is native to Honduras and Southern Mexico. It has trailing stems which can be up to 60 cm long, with fleshy blue-greenish leaves. The perennial flowers in summer and produces tiny red-pink flowers at the ends of the stems.
The plant is easily propagated through the leaf or stem cuttings. It also requires little tendering and can survive with infrequent watering. It does well both indoors and outdoors but loves the good lighting.
The plant is susceptible to overwatering and the excess water will easily kill the plant.
The Hens-and-chicks are also known as hen-widdies is a group of small-sized succulent plants. The plants are native to Southern Europe and Northern Africa. The plants grow close to the ground and spread their leaves in a rosette form. They have a main rosette (hen) and a flock of offsprings (chicks) that spread all around the main rosette.
The plants can be grown out in the garden or indoors as potted plants. They require little care but should not be overwatered as the outer leaves will start rotting.
Some of the succulent plants such as cacti and agave are not poisonous but have sharp spines that easily prick the skin of both pets and humans. Majority of the cacti have needles that penetrate the skin.
Actions you can take to protect your pets and children
If you have poisonous succelents or are planning to get some, you can take the following steps to protect yourself, your pets and your children.
- Keep the potted plants off the floor, you can hang them using baskets and pots instead of placing them on the floor. You could also use window-boxes or shelves and stands. This may only be helpful if you have small pets and young children.
- Shut the door to your plant room or garden. This is only feasible if the plants are kept in a separate place where the entry of pets and children can be controlled.
- Plant the poisonous and spiny succulents away from the sidewalks or places where the pets and the children frequently play.
- Pour red pepper around the base of the poisonous succulents, it acts as a deterrence to pets.
- When handling cactus use gloves, especially when potting them.
- Talk to your children and let them know which plants are safe to handle from an early age. For example, tell them that spikes of the cacti are very painful.
- Frequently pick up leaves and spikes that the plants shed as well as conducting regular trims. This is especially helpful with mature plants that shed almost every day. Shed spikes can be dangerous for pets and children who can step on them without knowing.
Some pets are just fascinated by plants and will often chew on them frequently, however, all pets sometimes eat leaves to aid in digestion. If your pet is unfortunate and ingests a succulent, it is good to identify the specific species. It is also important to monitor the animal for any symptoms.
If you need a consultation, you can reach a local veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline (855) 764-7661 or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888) 426-4435. You will get advice on whether to seek treatment for your pet or not.
I hope you found this post on poisonous succulents useful. Check this article on plants that are poisonous to cats.