Poisons in the garden - poisonous plants and garden dangers

Many of us turn towards the backyard and garden without realising it, we can unintentionally increase the risk of poisoning our companions.

The most commonly used lawn care products are of fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. When applied according to package instructions, fertilisers, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides are generally not harmful. Pets are primarily poisoned by contact with concentrated products. This may occur from inappropriate storage, failure to read package instructions, or by intentionally using more product than needed. Dogs are especially good at finding poorly stored containers, chewing them up and drinking the contents. Pet owners should be especially vigilant when using insecticides as these tend to have a higher degree of toxicity. Dogs may be exposed by digging up treated earth, chewing on pellets, or rooting around ant mounds shortly after insecticides are applied.

Snail pellets also require a special mention as we see several cases of snail pellet toxicity every year. Treatment is not pleasant, please be very careful when selecting and using snail pellets in your garden. If you suspect your cat or dog has eaten snail pellets they require immediate veterinary attention.

Many pets also have a habit of chewing on plants in the yard, particularly if you have been out in the garden pruning bushes and trees and have left branches and leaves laying around. This is a list of common plants that are dangerous to pets. For a detailed guide on toxic plants select this link.

Poisonious House Plants


Common Name

Botanical Name

Poisonous Part
Bird of Paradise Strelizia regirae Fruit, seeds
Boston Ivy Parthenocissus quinquefolia All parts
Caladium Caladium All parts
Creeping Charlie Glecoma hederacea All parts
Dumbcane Dieffenbachia All parts
Emerald Duke Philodendron hastatum All parts
Glacier Ivy Hedera glacier Leaves, berries
Heartleaf Philadendron cordatum All parts
English Ivy Hedera helix Leaves, berries
Lily/Liliaceae Family Lilium All parts
Marble Queen Scindapsus aureus All parts
Majesty Philodendron hastatum All parts
Nephthytis, Arrowhead Vine Synogonium podophyllum albolineatum All parts
Parlor Ivy Philodendron cordatum All parts
Pothos Scindapsus aureus All parts
Red Princess Philodendron hastatum All parts
Saddleleaf Philodendron selloum All parts
Split leaf Philodendron Monstera deliciosa All parts
Umbrella Plant Cyperus alternifolius All parts

Poisonous Outdoor Plants

Common Name Botanical Name Poisonous Part
Apricot Prunus ameniaca Stem, bark, seed pits
Azalea Rhododendron occidentale All parts
Baneberry Actaea Spicata Berries, roots, foliage
Buchberry Lantana All parts
Castor Bean Ricinus communis Seeds, if chewed
Choke Cherry Prunus virginica Leaves, seed pits, stems, bark
Daffodil Narcissus Bulbs
Daphne Daphne mezereum Berries, bark, leaves
Foxglove Digitalis purpura Leaves, seeds, flowers
Hemlock Conium maculatum All parts, root and root stalk
Hens-and-Chicks Lantana All parts
Hyacinth Hyacinthus orientalis Bulbs, leaves, flowers
Hydrangea Hydrangea macrophylla Leaves, buds
Jerusalem Cherry Solanim pseudocapscium All parts, unripe fruit
Jimson Weed Datura stramonium All parts
Jonquil Narcissus Bulbs
Lily-of-the-Valley Convallaria majalis All parts
Mandrake Podophyllum peltatum Roots, foliage, unripe fruit
Mistletoe Phoradendron Flavescens Berries
Morning Glory Ipomoea violaces Seeds
Nightshade Atropa belladonna All parts
Oleander Norium Oleander All parts, including dried leaves
Poinsettia Euphorbia pulcherrima Leaves, flowers
Pokeweed, Inkberry Phytolacca americana All parts
Red Sage Lantana camara Green berries
Rhododendron Rhododendron All parts
Rhubarb Rheum raponticum Leaves
Sweet Pea Lathyrus odoratus Seeds, pods
Tulip Tulipa Bulbs
Wisteria Wisteria Seeds, pods
Yew Taxus Needles, bark, seeds

When you are working in your garden, be sure to take an extra moment or two to protect your pets.

  • Always read the packet instructions before applying products to your lawn or garden. 
  • Check with your local garden centre about the safety of plants you are putting in your garden. 
  • Finally, remember to close the top tightly on all containers and put them in an area where your pets do not have access to them.
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Pet library topic(s): 
Pet safety - common problems and dangers

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