Avoid Using These Toxic
Garden Plants

What follows is a long list of toxic garden plants, ranging from bulbs to perennials to trees and shrubs.

If you like to garden, try to avoid using any from this list.

If you already have some of these poisonous garden plants, consider creating a fenced-in run to keep your dog away from your gardens.

Bulbs

If your dog loves to dig in your yard or garden, these toxic garden plants are particularly dangerous.

The bulb is the poisonous part of the plant. Also keep your dog out of any gardening or storage sheds, or your basement, if you overwinter these bulbs.

Some of these toxic garden plants, such as daffodils, are also offered as houseplants in the spring, sometimes by charities.

Place them where your dog can't get at them.

  • Amaryllis (Amaryllis spp) Family: Amaryllidaceae
    Causes vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, anorexia, depression, tremors.

  • Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale) Family: Liliaceae
    Causes irritation of the mouth parts, bloody vomiting, diarrhea, shock, multi-organ damage, bone marrow suppression.

  • Daffodil (Narcissus spp) Family: Amaryllidaceae
  • Causes severe gastrointestinal disorders, convulsions, shivering, dermatitis, muscular tremors, hypotension (low blood pressure), and cardiac arrhythmias.
  • Elephant Ears aka Caladium (Caladium hortulanum) Family: Araceae
    Causes irritation and intense burning of the mouth, lips and tongue, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing.

  • Gladiolas (Gladiolas spp) Family: Iridaceae
    Causes abdominal pain, vomiting (occasionally bloody), diarrhea (occasionally bloody), hypersalivation, depression.

  • Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis) Family: Liliaceae
    Causes intense vomiting, diarrhea (occasionally bloody), depression and tremors.

  • Iris (Iris spp) Family: Iridaceae
    Causes vomiting (occasionally bloody), diarrhea (occasionally bloody), abdominal pain, hypersalivation, depression.

  • Lily of the Valley (Convalaria majalis) Family: Liliaceae
    These are particularly toxic garden plants, and can result in death.
    Causes vomiting, ataxia (loss of muscle control), cardiac arrhythmias, death.

  • Narcissus (Narcissus spp) Family: Amaryllidaceae
    Causes severe gastrointestinal disorders, dermatitis, convulsions, muscular tremors, shivering, hypotension (low blood pressure), and cardiac arrhythmias.

  • Tulip (Tulip spp) Family: Liliaceae
    Causes intense vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, inappetence (loss of appetite), depression.

Ferns

Some of these ferns are generally grown in hanging pots, and so should be relatively safe if you have a dog.

Watch for berries falling to the ground from these toxic garden plants, though.

  • Asparagus Fern (Asparagus sprengeri) Family: Liliaceae
    Causes allergic dermatitis with repeated skin contact. Berry ingestion could result in vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain.

  • Emerald Feather aka Emerald Fern (Asparagus densiflorus) Family: Liliaceae
    Causes allergic dermatitis with repeated skin contact. Berry ingestion could result in vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain.

  • Lace Fern (Asparagus setaceus) Family: Liliaceae
    Causes allergic dermatitis with repeated skin contact. Berry ingestion could result in vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain.

  • Plumosa Fern (Asparagus plumosus) Family: Liliaceae
    Causes allergic dermatitis with repeated skin contact. Berry ingestion could result in vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain.

Flowering Plants

These toxic garden plants are very popular for their blooms. Cyclamens can lead to death.

  • Cyclamen (Cyclamen spp) Family: Primulaceae
    Causes vomiting, gastrointestinal inflammation, and death.

  • Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) Family: Saxifragaceae
    Causes vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, increase in heart rate, hyperthermia, depression.

  • Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe spp) Family: Crassulaceae
    Causes vomiting and diarrhea. The bufodienolides are cardiotoxic. These are the same type of toxin as found in poisonous toads.

Garden Perennials

These toxic garden plants are perennials in temperate climates; some are houseplants and/or annuals in colder climates.

  • Charming Dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia amoena) Family: Araceae
    Causes intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, vomiting.

  • Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger) Family: Fanunculaceae
    Causes vomiting, bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, convulsions, delirium.

  • Flamingo Plant (Anthurium spp) Family: Araceae
    Causes intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, vomiting.

  • Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) Family: Scrophalariaceae
    Foxgloves, from which digoxin and other heart medications have been developed, are particularly toxic garden plants.

    They are very beautiful, and many gardeners use them to add height to their gardens. If you want foxgloves in your garden, consider a fenced-in run for your dog.
    Causes vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac failure, death.


  • Marijuana (Cannabis sativa) Family: Cannabinaceae
    Causes prolonged central nervous system depression, respiratory depression, weakness, ataxia (loss of muscle control), sedation, sometimes hyperexcitation.

  • Morning Glory (Ipomoea spp) Family: Convolvulaceae
    The seeds may cause diarrhea, hallucinations.

  • Nightshade: there are several varieties; the most common are Deadly Nightshade, Black Nightshade, and Silverleaf Nightshade. (Solanum spp) Family: Solanaceae
    Causes diarrhea, hypersalivation, inappetence (loss of appetite), severe gastrointestinal upset, drowsiness, weakness, dilated pupils, slow heart rate, central nervous system depression, confusion, behavioural change.

  • Onion (Allium spp) Family: Liliaceae
    Causes gastrointestinal upset, hemolytic anemia, heinz body anemia, hemoglobinuria.

  • Tomato Plant (green parts only) (Lycopersicon spp) Family: Solanaceae
    Causes hypersalivation, inappetence (loss of appetite), severe gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, dilated pupils, slow heart rate, drowsiness, central nervous system depression, confusion, behavioural change, weakness.

  • Tropic Snow Dumbcane (Dieffenbachia amoena) Family: Araceae
    Causes intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.

Lilies

Most lilies are toxic garden plants to cats only.

  • Glory Lily (Gloriosa superba) Family: Liliaceae
    Causes irritation of the mouth parts, bloody vomiting, diarrhea, shock, kidney and liver damage, bone marrow suppression.

Shrubs

Of all the toxic garden plants, shrubs are some of the deadliest. Try to avoid all use of the ones listed here, or use a fenced-in run for your dog.

  • Cycads (Cycas spp and Zamia spp) Family: Cycadaceae
    Causes vomiting, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, melena (black, tarry stool or vomit, mostly blood that gastric juices have acted on, likely caused by gastroenteritis), icterus (jaundice), increased thirst, bruising, coagulopathy, liver damage, liver failure, death.

  • Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica) Family: Berberidaceae
    Causes vomiting, diarrhea, cyanosis, pale mucous membranes, slow heart rate, respiratory congestion, respiratory failure, seizures, semi-coma, death.

  • Holly (Ilex spp) Family: Aguifoliaceae
    Causes intense vomiting and diarrhea, depression.

  • Jerusalem Cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum) Family: Solanaceae
    Causes gastrointestinal problems, including possible ulceration of the system, depression, respiratory depression, seizures, shock.

  • Oleander (Nerium oleander) Family: Apocynaceae
    Causes vomiting, diarrhea, hypothermia (decreased body temperature), cardiac abnormalities, death.

  • Precatory Bean (Abrus precatorius) Family: Leguminosae
    These beans are very toxic, especially if chewed.
    Causes severe vomiting and diarrhea, hyperthermia (increased body temperature), incoordination, inappetence (loss of appetite), and death.

  • Rhododendron (Rhododendron spp) Family: Ericaceae
    Causes vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, weakness, hypotension (low blood pressure), central nervous system depression, cardiovascular collapse, coma, death.

  • Saddle Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron selloum) Family: Araceae
    Causes intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.

  • Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta king sago) (Cycas spp and Zamia spp) Family: Cycadaceae
    Causes vomiting, melena (tarry stool or vomit), icterus (jaundice), increased thirst, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, bruising, coagulopathy, liver damage, liver failure, death.

  • Yucca (Yucca spp) Family: Agavaceae
    Causes vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, seizures, depression.

  • Mistletoe "American" (Phoradendron spp)
    The mistletoe is not really a shrub. It is a parasite that lives off of trees and shrubs. It can often grow to the size of a shrub.toxic garden plants
    Causes gastrointestinal disorders, cardiovascular collapse, dyspnea (breathing difficulties), bradycardia, erratic behaviour.

Succulents

Although not very toxic to humans (there are health drinks, as well as ointments and salves), aloe is a toxic garden plant to dogs.

  • Aloe (Aloe vera) Family: Liliaceae
    Causes vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, tremors, change in urine colour, depression.

Trees

Like toxic garden plants, these trees are very toxic to dogs.

  • Avocado (Persea americana) Family: Lauraceae
    Causes vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory distress, generalized congestion, fluid accumulation around the heart, death.

  • Buddist Pine (Podocarpus macrophylla) Family: Araliaceae
    Causes severe vomiting and diarrhea.

  • Chinaberry Tree (Melia azedarach) Family: Meliaceae
    The berries are the most toxic of this plant. Causes vomiting, diarrhea, slow heart rate, depression, weakness, seizures, shock.

  • Japanese Yew aka Yew (Taxus spp) Family: Taxaceae
    Causes muscular tremors, dyspnea (difficulty breathing), seizures, sudden death from acute cardiac failure.

  • Lacy Tree (Philodendron selloum) Family: Araceae
    Causes intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, vomiting.

  • Macadamia Nut aka Queensland Nut, Australia Nut (Macadamia integrifolia smooth shelled, Macadamia tetraphylla rough shelled) Family: Proteaceae
    Causes vomiting, hyperthermia(overheating), weakness, muscular stiffness, tremors, increased heart rate, depression.

  • Madagascar Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata) Family: Agavaceae
    Causes vomiting, drooling, incoordination, and weakness, inappetence (loss of appetite), depression.

  • Schefflera (Schefflera actinophylla or Brassaia actinophylla) Family: Araliaceae
    Causes intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, vomiting.

Vines

Like toxic garden plants, all the ivies listed here from the Araliaceae family cause gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, breathing difficulty, fever, polydipsia (excessive or abnormal thirst), dilated pupils, muscular weakness and incoordination, hyperactivity, coma. The foliage is much more toxic than the berries, so trim the leaves of these toxic garden plants to above your dog's reach.

  • Branching Ivy (Hedera helix)

  • English Ivy (Hedera helix)

  • Glacier Ivy (Hedera helix)

  • Hahn's self branching English Ivy (Hedera helix)

  • Needlepoint Ivy (Hedera helix)

  • European Bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara) Family: Solanaceae
    Causes drooling, inappetence (loss of appetite), severe gastric upset, dilated pupils, slow heart rate, drowsiness, lethargy, weakness.

Other Plants

  • American Bittersweet (Celastrus scandens) Family: Celastraceae
    Causes weakness, convulsions, gastroenteritis (vomiting, diarrhea).

This is not a complete list of toxic garden plants. The term "spp" after a genus (for example, Amaryllis spp) indicates that all species of that genus are toxic garden plants. Other less popular, but still toxic garden plants, are not included here.


For an extensive list of farm crops with potential to cause harm to your dog and other animals, see Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine listing page.

When it comes to beautiful and safe gardens, there are many choices for nontoxic garden plants. Visit the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

site for a long list of nontoxic houseplants.

Safe gardening!



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To Dog-proof Your Home From Toxic Garden Plants