10 of the Most Dangerous Houseplants

Houseplants represent one of the best ways of creating the feeling of a lively environment in your home. Beautiful and fairly easy-to-maintain, they are almost universally associated with healthy effects on the air we are breathing.

dangerous indoor plants

But, like with any field, it is best to gain more information before making a purchase. Houseplants can also contain toxic substances that can pose a danger to small children, older people, pets and persons suffering from some types of allergies. Reactions can appear from ingestion (special care in making the plant unreachable should be taken if you have children or pets) or from contact with your skin.

It is important to know that we are not advising you against buying or keeping these plants. Rather, we are making sure you take the right measures to ensure a safe environment.

Since shops do not usually warn you when buying them, we have decided to provide some information about the risks. Here are 10 of the most dangerous houseplants.

  • Peace lily

One of the most common and elegant indoor plants, it is especially dangerous for homes with children and pets, seeing how ingestion is the main concern. The plant contains calcium crystals known as raphides. Pets are very sensitive to these, some symptoms being excessive drooling, vomiting, pain in the oral cavity, swelling of the lips and tongue. The most severe cases lead to dehydration and kidney failure.

Humans are also vulnerable to this plant, mainly due to the alkaloid lycorine found in it. Symptoms include swollen lips and tongue, pain in the oral cavity, vomiting, nausea and diarrhea.

  • Oleander

A beautiful plant that can live in our homes just as well as outdoors. Its risks are related to ingestion, symptoms being nausea, vomiting, breathing problems, oral pain and heart problems, which can culminate in death. Avoid contact with the skin, as it can irritate it.

  • Philodendron

Another popular plant that contains raphides. While most people do not have serious reactions to them, there are exceptions. Pets are extremely vulnerable to them if ingested. Special care should be taken with children as well.

  • Arrowhead plant

Its content of raphides poses a serious risk for pets, but contact with the leaves or sap can irritate human skin as well.

  • Devil’s ivy

A common risk for children and pets, the symptoms following ingestion are the same mentioned for other plants containing raphides.

  • Dumb cane

When its popular name comes from the temporary inability to speak following ingestion, you know this plant has to be toxic.

  • Caladium

Besides raphides, this plant contains a toxic substance called asparagine to form something that you certainly wouldn’t want to ingest.

  • Crown of Thorns

This plant contains diterpene esters, a toxin in the sap that leads to symptoms similar to those given by raphides after ingestion.

  • Asparagus fern

What makes this substance toxic is sapogenin, a substance that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, skin irritation and abdominal pain when it comes to your pets.

  • Elephant ear

The oxalic acid and asparagine found in these plants make them extremely harmful when ingested.

These plants can still be an attractive part of your home, provided that you take the right measures. We advise keeping them out of reach if you have children or pets, not leaving fallen leaves around and avoiding skin contact by wearing gloves.

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