Plants to Stay Away From

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It’s almost that time of year for gardeners! If you’re new to horticulture, we thought we’d share this list of plants you should stay away from if children or pets frequent your yard.


Rhododendron. Yes, the beautiful purple/pink flowering plant also known as both West Virginia and Washington’s state flower. Swallowing any part of this plant will cause you to drool, cause your eyes to water, and if that doesn’t get you feeling yucky enough, you’ll soon start to vomit. Stay away from this plant if you can.


Hydrangea. Similar to the rhododendron in its use, when swallowed, hydrangea’s poison will cause shortness of breath, fainting, and a rapid pulse. Along with a drop in blood pressure, the plant can cause convulsions and in some cases, death. 


Lily-of-the-Valley. This plant will make you sick and will even cause you to hallucinate with just one small bite. It has also been tied to cardiovascular issues that have, in some cases, lead to coma and death.


Foxglove. Often used to deter deer (because of its foul taste and adverse affects on the digestive system), the plant, obviously, will not sit will with your (or your pet’s) digestive system. If ingested in large amounts, the plant will lower your heart rate and/or cause an irregular rhythm. Sound fun? We didn’t think so.


Oleander. This pretty white flower has a beautiful scent, but is also extremely deadly, especially to infants and small children. One leaf contains enough toxins to be lethal, as the poison first affects the digestive system, then moves along to the central nervous system. Definitely stay away from this plant.


Mistletoe. While this plant is more common during the holidays, it’s still important to note that all parts of mistletoe are toxic. Not very romantic, indeed. Ingesting mistletoe will cause gastroenteritis and in some cases, cardiovascular collapse. The berries are particularly toxic to pets, so be mindful of fallen berries. 


Water Hemlock. Common all across Northern America in the wild, water hemlock’s poison is so deadly it can be fatal within the first 15 minutes of ingestion.


If you have questions about any flowers or shrubs you’d like to plant around your home, run a quick online search to make sure what you’re planting is safe. The helpful folks in any superstore garden section are also great resources.