Houseplants are a widely popular way to add a pop of color and bring a sense of calm into any space. While they can help to improve air quality and even boost mental health, not every green beauty is totally safe for your home. If you live with a mischievous pet or curious child, there are some houseplants that could do more harm than good if they are ingested.

A number of factors impact the type of reaction caused by ingesting a toxic plant, including:

• The part of the plant that was eaten

• How much was consumed

• The size of the person or animal

If you think a toxic plant has been consumed, it is important to seek medical or veterinary attention immediately.


Many people love philodendrons because they are low maintenance and can withstand varying temperatures. However, you won’t love them so much when they cause your mouth and throat to burn and swell after tasting one.

Safe Alternative: Parlor Palm

Peace Lily

This hardy and forgiving plant is one of the most common plants Poison Control receives calls about. In addition to the plant itself, the pollen can also cause irritation and swelling of the mouth, tongue and lips in humans and pets.

Safe Alternative: African Violet

Weeping Fig

This slow-growing, small tree is almost perfect for every home; however, when eaten it can cause swelling and a burning sensation in the mouth and throat. The sap also causes itchy eyes, coughing and skin irritation.

Safe Alternative: Boston Fern

Snake Plant

The snake plant is a houseplant classic, but it happens to also be extremely toxic to pets if they eat it. Humans also experience mild reactions that include nausea and throat irritation from consuming the plant.

Safe Alternative: Cast-Iron Plant

Rubber Tree

Although it may be associated with wealth and abundance, the sap from the rubber tree will only leave you with an uncomfortable rash.

Safe Alternative: Baby Rubber Plant


Even with very little care, pothos grows stunning, bright green leaves. However, those same leaves will cause stinging, burning and sometimes swelling of the mouth and throat when eaten. In some cases, the sap can cause irritation on the skin.

Safe Alternative: Swedish Ivy

Dumb Cane

Known for its lush leaves, the dumb cane brings a little piece of the tropics into homes. Unfortunately, when ingested it causes pain in the mouth, swelling and numbing of the throat, which doesn’t sound like paradise.

Safe Alternative: Moth Orchid

Flamingo Flower (Anthurium)

The bright red leaves make this an enticing plant to have in homes, but if ingested it can lead to painful burning in the mouth, swelling and blisters.

Safe Alternative: Cattleya Orchid

If you have any of these plants already in your home, make sure they aren’t easily accessible to anyone who may want to investigate them a little too much.

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