Are you looking to add some gorgeous succulents to your home or garden? While these succulent plants can be a stunning addition to any space, it's essential to be aware of certain varieties that can be toxic to both pets and humans.
In this informative blog, we'll introduce you to 20 common toxic succulents, and provide you with the essential information you need to protect your loved ones from potential harm. We'll cover everything from toxicity levels to poisoning symptoms and tips on how to keep your family and pets safe. So let's dive in and learn how to create a beautiful, safe environment with succulents!
Succulents Toxic to Pets
1. Crassula Ovata (Jade Plant)
The Jade Plant, scientifically known as Crassula Ovata, is a well-liked succulent from the Crassulaceae plant family. Native to South Africa, this slow-growing succulent features thick, fleshy leaves in an oval shape, giving it a tree-like appearance. It is commonly cultivated as an indoor houseplant or used for ornamental purposes outdoors. Click here to learn how to care for jade plants.
The toxic substances in Crassula ovata can cause gastrointestinal upset, including symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. In more severe cases, ingestion of the plant may lead to lethargy, depression, and even more serious complications.
2. Crassula ovata 'Gollum'
Gollum Jade, scientifically known as Crassula ovata 'Gollum', is a succulent cultivated variety of the Crassula Ovata.
Gollum Jade, also commonly referred to as Finger Jade, is mildly toxic to pets such as cats and dogs. The toxic compounds found in this cultivar, similar to other Crassula succulents, primarily consist of glycosides and alkaloids. Pets may display symptoms after consuming Crassula ovata 'Gollum', including drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. It is crucial to closely observe pets and seek veterinary advice if any unusual symptoms arise.
3. Crassula Arborescens
Crassula arborescens is a well-liked succulent characterized by its silver-gray leaves and clusters of small white flowers. It originates from South Africa and is commonly cultivated as an attractive ornamental plant.
In terms of household companions such as cats and dogs, Crassula arborescens is mildly toxic. Ingesting any part of the plant, particularly the leaves, can result in gastrointestinal discomfort and digestive disturbances for animals.
4. Crassula 'Baby's Necklace'
Crassula 'Baby's Necklace', commonly known as the Rosary Vine or the Silver Jade Plant, is a succulent species. It is a low-growing succulent with trailing stems and fleshy, cylindrical leaves. It is native to South Africa and is often grown as a ground cover or in hanging baskets.
Crassula 'Baby's Necklace' is considered mildly toxic to pets, including cats and dogs. Ingesting the leaves or other parts of the plant can cause gastrointestinal discomfort and digestive upset in animals.
5. Kalanchoe Tomentosa (Panda Plant)
The Panda Plant or Pussy Ears, scientifically known as Kalanchoe tomentosa, is a well-liked succulent type. This compact succulent features fuzzy, silvery-green leaves with brownish-red tips. Originating from Madagascar, it is frequently cultivated as a houseplant or utilized in rock gardens. Click here to learn how to care for Kalanchoe Tomentosa.
The succulent contains primarily bufadienolides, which can have toxic effects on pets' hearts and other organs.
6. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is a widely recognized succulent plant renowned for its medicinal and cosmetic properties. Scientifically known as Aloe barbadensis, it is native to North Africa but is cultivated globally. This succulent is characterized by its thick, fleshy leaves containing a gel-like substance.
Large quantities of Aloe Vera can be toxic to pets if ingested. The plant contains compounds, including saponins, which can cause gastrointestinal irritation and upset. Pets may experience symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, abdominal discomfort, and tremors if they ingest Aloe Vera. Gastrointestinal distress, including vomiting and diarrhea, may occur if a pet consumes Aloe Vera. Some cases may present more severe symptoms like lethargy, muscle tremors, and changes in urine color.
Although topical use of Aloe Vera is generally safe, and the gel extracted from the inner leaf is commonly used in skincare products, caution is advised when ingesting Aloe Vera products or consuming latex. Large amounts or prolonged consumption of Aloe Vera latex can lead to adverse gastrointestinal effects.It is advisable to adhere to the instructions provided with Aloe Vera products and consult with a healthcare professional before using them orally, especially if you have underlying medical conditions or are currently taking other medications.
Succulents Toxic to Humans and Pets
7. Echeveria purpusorum
Echeveria purpusorum is a small succulent known for its rosette-shaped leaves adorned with noticeable dark patterns. Originating from Mexico, it is commonly cultivated as an ornamental plant in gardens and indoors. Click here to learn how to care for Echeveria succulents.
Ingesting Echeveria purpusorum can pose a toxic risk to both humans and pets. Symptoms such as feelings of sickness, throwing up, and an upset stomach may manifest. To ensure safety, it is advised to take necessary precautions and keep Echeveria purpusorum out of the reach of children and pets.
8. Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands)
Kalanchoe daigremontiana, also called Mother of Thousands or Devil's Backbone, is a succulent plant that reproduces by producing small leaflets along the edges of its leaves. It is indigenous to Madagascar and features lance-shaped leaves with serrated margins. This plant produces clusters of miniature flowers and is often cultivated for decorative purposes in gardens and as an indoor plant.
The plant contains cardiac glycosides, which can be harmful to the heart and other organs. Ingesting parts of the plant can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. It is crucial to handle Kalanchoe daigremontiana with caution and keep it out of reach of children and pets to prevent accidental ingestion.
9. Kalanchoe Delagoensis (Mother of Millions)
Kalanchoe daigremontiana, also referred to as Mother of Thousands or Devil's Backbone, is a type of succulent that propagates by generating small offshoots along the margins of its leaves. Originating from Madagascar, this succulent showcases lanceolate leaves with serrated borders and clusters of petite blooms. It is commonly grown for decorative purposes in gardens and as an indoor plant.
Kalanchoe daigremontiana is toxic to pets, including cats and dogs. Ingestion of any part of the plant, particularly the leaves, can lead to gastrointestinal distress and discomfort in animals. The plant contains primarily cardiac glycosides, which can toxic impact the heart and other organs of pets. Symptoms exhibited by pets that consume Kalanchoe daigremontiana may include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. It is essential to closely monitor pets and promptly seek veterinary attention if any unusual symptoms arise.
10. Agave Americana
Agave Americana, also called the Century Plant or American Aloe, is a sizable succulent native to the southwestern parts of the United States and Mexico. It features visually striking rosettes of thick, fleshy leaves adorned with sharp spines along the edges. This impressive succulent can grow to substantial sizes and is frequently cultivated as an ornamental plant in gardens or utilized in landscaping projects.
Pets, including cats and dogs, should avoid Agave Americana due to its toxicity. The sap of Agave Americana contains calcium oxalate crystals that can cause irritation and discomfort when ingested or when in contact with the skin or mucous membranes of animals. If pets encounter or consume Agave Americana, they may exhibit symptoms such as mouth irritation, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, vomiting, and diarrhea. In such cases, seeking prompt veterinary attention is crucial.
Agave Americana can also present a potential hazard to humans in terms of toxicity, especially if consumed or if the sap makes contact with the skin or eyes. The sap has the potential to cause skin irritation, manifesting as redness, itching, and a rash. The sap entering the eyes can cause severe irritation and discomfort. Therefore, handling Agave Americana with care is crucial, employing protective gloves when necessary and thoroughly washing hands after handling to prevent any potential irritation.
11. Agave Angustifolia
Agave Angustifolia, also recognized as Caribbean Agave or Narrow-Leaf Century Plant, is a succulent species native to Mexico and certain regions of Central America. It is a medium-sized succulent featuring rosettes of slender, lance-shaped leaves adorned with sharp spines along the edges. Its elongated and graceful leaves make it a popular choice for ornamental purposes in gardens and landscaping projects.
Agave Angustifolia is considered toxic to pets like cats and dogs. The plant's sap contains calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause irritation and discomfort if consumed or if it comes into contact with animals' skin or mucous membranes. Ingesting the leaves or other parts of the plant can result in gastrointestinal distress, including symptoms like drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea in pets.
Agave Angustifolia can also pose a toxicity risk to humans, particularly if ingested or if the plant's sap makes contact with the skin or eyes, it can cause irritation and discomfort. The sap has the potential to cause skin irritation, leading to redness, itching, and a rash. Contact with the sap can lead to considerable discomfort and irritation in the eyes. Therefore, handling Agave angustifolia with care, using protective gloves when necessary, and thoroughly washing hands after handling are essential measures to prevent any potential irritation.
12. Lophophora fricii
Lophophora fricii, also known as Fric's Peyote, is a small, spineless cactus species belonging to the Cactaceae family. This rare and endemic cactus species is native to Mexico and is characterized by its compact, ribbed structure and typical blue-green coloration. It shares a close genetic relationship with the more famous Peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii).
Lophophora fricii contains diverse alkaloids, including mescaline, which can be harmful to pets if ingested. Although the specific level of toxicity and potential effects on pets are not extensively documented, keeping all forms of Peyote away from pets is generally recommended. If a pet consumes Lophophora fricii or any other form of Peyote, it may display symptoms such as digestive discomfort, vomiting, diarrhea, or behavioral changes. In severe cases or when a significant quantity is ingested, pets may experience more serious symptoms such as tremors, seizures, or respiratory problems. It is essential to seek veterinary assistance if any of these symptoms occur promptly.
Similarly, Lophophora fricii, like other peyote species, is considered toxic to humans due to its psychoactive properties. The recreational or non-medicinal use of Lophophora fricii is generally discouraged and may even be illegal in many jurisdictions due to its hallucinogenic effects and potential health risks.
13. Lophophora williamsii
Lophophora williamsii, commonly known as Peyote, is a slow-growing cactus found in the Chihuahuan Desert in Mexico and parts of southern Texas. It has a rounded shape with distinct ribs and has been traditionally used by indigenous cultures for its psychoactive properties.
If consumed, Peyote, including Lophophora williamsii and other peyote species, is toxic to pets. While the specific level of toxicity and effects on pets may vary, it is generally advised to prevent pets from accessing any form of Peyote. Ingestion of Peyote can result in various symptoms in pets, such as digestive disturbances, vomiting, diarrhea, behavioral changes, and potential neurological impacts. If you suspect your pet has ingested Lophophora williamsii or any other form of Peyote, it is crucial to seek immediate veterinary assistance. Symptoms exhibited by pets who have consumed Lophophora Williamsii may include nausea, excessive drooling, lethargy, restlessness, dilated pupils, and disorientation. More severe cases may involve tremors, seizures, difficulty breathing, or coma. Timely veterinary care is vital in such situations.
Likewise, Lophophora williamsii and other peyote species are considered toxic to humans due to their psychoactive properties. The recreational or non-medicinal use of Lophophora williamsii is generally discouraged and may be prohibited by law in many areas due to its hallucinogenic effects and potential health risks.
14. Euphorbia tirucalli (Pencil Cactus)
Euphorbia tirucalli, also known as Firestick Plant or Pencil Cactus, is a succulent shrub from the Euphorbiaceae family. It features distinctive green, cylindrical branches resembling pencils or sticks. Indigenous to Africa, this succulent has gained popularity worldwide for its unique appearance and is often cultivated as an ornamental plant.
The milky sap of Euphorbia tirucalli can be toxic to pets if ingested or if it comes into contact with their skin or eyes. The sap contains irritants and toxins that can cause gastrointestinal issues, vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, and skin irritation in pets. Contact with the sap may result in skin irritation, redness, swelling, and itching. Ingestion of the plant can lead to symptoms such as gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive salivation in pets.
For humans, Euphorbia tirucalli is considered toxic primarily due to the irritant properties of its sap. Coming into contact with the sap can result in skin and eye irritation. Ingestion of the plant can result in gastrointestinal symptoms and, in rare instances, more severe systemic effects. Handling Euphorbia tirucalli should be done cautiously, using protective gloves when necessary, and avoiding contact with the sap. If any adverse reactions occur, seeking medical advice is recommended.
15. Euphorbia milii (Crown of Thorns)
Euphorbia milii, commonly called Crown of Thorns, is a succulent plant known for its thorny texture and colorful blossoms. Belonging to the Euphorbiaceae family, it is a popular choice for ornamental purposes due to its striking colors and thorny structure. While native to Madagascar, it is now cultivated globally as a houseplant or in gardens, particularly in regions with warm climates.
The milky sap of Euphorbia milii can be toxic to pets if ingested or if it comes into contact with their skin or eyes. This sap contains irritants and toxic substances, including phorbol esters, which may cause gastrointestinal issues, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin irritation in pets. Pets ' contact or ingestion of the sap can result in symptoms such as oral irritation, drooling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin redness or irritation. Consuming large quantities or prolonged exposure to the sap can lead to more severe symptoms, including abdominal pain, dehydration, and potentially serious systemic effects.
For humans, Euphorbia milii is considered toxic due to the irritant properties of its sap. Skin and eye irritation can occur when the sap comes into direct contact. Ingesting the plant or its sap can result in gastrointestinal symptoms and, although rare, more severe reactions. Handling Euphorbia milii should be done with care, wearing protective gloves when necessary, and avoiding contact with the sap. If any adverse reactions occur, seeking medical advice is recommended.
16. Cotyledon tomentosa (Bear's Claw)
Bear's Claw, scientifically referred to as Cotyledon tomentosa, is a member of the Crassulaceae family and is recognized as a succulent plant. Cotyledon tomentosa, or Bear's Claw, is a small, perennial succulent native to South Africa. It is a popular ornamental plant known for its fuzzy, silver-green leaves and compact growth habit. The plant derives its common name "Bear's Claw" from the unique shape and texture of its leaves, which resemble a bear's paw.
Cotyledon tomentosa is considered toxic to pets if ingested in large quantities. It contains compounds that can cause gastrointestinal upset and irritation.
Ingestion of this plant by pets may lead to symptoms such as drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and abdominal discomfort. If a pet ingests Cotyledon tomentosa, it may experience oral irritation, excessive drooling, and gastrointestinal upset. In some cases, more severe symptoms like lethargy, weakness, or changes in behavior may occur.
It is recommended to handle the plant cautiously to prevent any potential skin irritation or allergic responses. The milky sap found in the leaves can cause skin irritation or dermatitis in individuals who are sensitive. It is recommended to utilize protective gloves while handling the plant and to cleanse the hands thoroughly afterward.
17. Cotyledon orbiculata (Pig's Ear)
Cotyledon tomentosa, commonly known as Bear's Claw, is a succulent plant from the Crassulaceae family. Native to South Africa, this small, perennial succulent is a popular choice for ornamental purposes due to its compact growth habit and distinctive fuzzy, silver-green leaves. Its leaves resemble a bear's paw, giving it the common name "Bear's Claw."
When consumed in large amounts, Cotyledon tomentosa is considered toxic to pets. It contains compounds that can cause gastrointestinal distress and irritation. Ingesting this plant can result in symptoms such as drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and abdominal discomfort in pets. If a pet eats Cotyledon tomentosa, it may experience oral irritation, excessive drooling, and digestive issues. In some cases, more severe symptoms like lethargy, weakness, or changes in behavior might manifest.
While Cotyledon tomentosa is not typically highly toxic to humans, it is prudent to handle the plant cautiously to avoid potential skin irritation or allergic reactions. The milky sap found in the leaves can cause skin irritation or dermatitis, especially in individuals with sensitivities. Using protective gloves when handling the plant and ensuring proper hand hygiene by thoroughly washing afterwards is recommended.
18. Sansevieria Trifasciata (Snake Plant)
Sansevieria trifasciata, commonly referred to as Snake Plant or Mother-in-Law's Tongue, is a popular succulent known for its tall, vertical foliage. Native to West Africa, Sansevieria trifasciata is a resilient and low-maintenance succulent often grown indoors due to its distinctive appearance and ability to thrive in low light conditions. The plant derives its common names, Snake Plant and Mother-in-Law's Tongue, from its pointed, snake-like leaves.
If ingested, Sansevieria trifasciata is considered toxic to pets. It contains saponins, which can cause gastrointestinal irritation and discomfort in dogs, cats, and other pets. Consumption of this plant by pets may lead to symptoms such as drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. In the event that a pet ingests Sansevieria trifasciata, it may experience oral irritation, excessive drooling, and gastrointestinal upset. Rare cases may present more severe symptoms like lethargy, tremors, or changes in heart rate.
Although Sansevieria trifasciata is not highly toxic to humans, caution should still be exercised. Ingesting large amounts of the plant may result in gastrointestinal discomfort and symptoms. Therefore, it is recommended to keep it out of the reach of children and pets, who may accidentally ingest it. Some individuals may be more sensitive to the plant's sap and could experience skin irritation or allergic reactions upon contact. Wearing gloves when handling the plant and thoroughly washing the skin if any irritation occurs is advisable.
19. Senecio rowleyanus (String of Pearls)
Senecio rowleyanus, which is popularly referred to as String of Pearls, is a succulent plant with a distinct appearance, is a popular and distinctive trailing succulent plant characterized by its trailing stems adorned with small, bead-like leaves. String of Pearls is a succulent plant native to the southwestern parts of Africa, known for its trailing stems and spherical, bead-like leaves that bear a resemblance to a string of pearls, hence its common name. Click here to learn how to care for string of pearls.
If ingested, String of Pearls is considered toxic to pets. It contains compounds that can cause gastrointestinal irritation and potential toxicity. Ingestion of this plant by pets may result in symptoms such as drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. If pets ingest String of Pearls, they may experience oral irritation, excessive drooling, and gastrointestinal upset. In more severe cases, ingestion can lead to symptoms like weakness, lethargy, and changes in heart rate.
Although String of Pearls is generally considered to have low toxicity to humans, caution should still be exercised. It is advisable to keep the plant out of the reach of children and pets, who may accidentally ingest it. It is advisable to refrain from consuming significant quantities of the plant as it can lead to digestive disturbances. Some individuals may have a heightened sensitivity to the plant's sap and may experience skin irritation or allergic reactions upon contact. It is advised to use protective gloves when touching the plant and to cleanse the skin thoroughly if any irritation is experienced.
20. Blue Chalksticks (Curio repens)
Originating from South Africa, Blue Chalksticks is a succulent plant growing close to the ground, forming dense mats with distinctive blue foliage.
Blue Chalksticks are classified as having low toxicity to pets if consumed. Although not highly toxic, it can cause some animals mild gastrointestinal discomfort. Ingesting this plant may lead to symptoms like drooling, vomiting, or diarrhea, though such occurrences are uncommon. If a pet eats Blue Chalksticks, they may experience mild irritation and discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract. However, severe toxic reactions or systemic effects are rare with this plant.
When it comes to humans, Blue Chalksticks are generally regarded as having a low toxicity. It poses minimal harm when touched or consumed in small amounts. Nevertheless, as with any plant, individual sensitivity and allergies can vary. It is always prudent to handle plants carefully and thoroughly wash hands after handling them.
Safety Measures and Precautions
To work with toxic succulents safely, prioritizing safety is crucial.
1. The first step is to identify which plants in your collection are toxic and understand the specific risks associated with each.
2. Ensure these plants are kept out of children and pets' reach and securely placed. Always wear protective gloves while handling these plants to minimize direct contact.
3. Highlight the potential toxicity of these plants to your family and visitors, emphasizing the importance of avoiding contact or ingestion.
4. A visual warning can be created by using clear labels on containers holding toxic succulents. Follow proper guidelines when disposing of these plants to ensure safety.
5. To keep your pets safe, create pet-free zones and supervise them closely around the succulents. If there are any signs of adverse reactions or ingestion, seek immediate medical assistance.
By following these safety measures and precautions, you can enjoy your succulent collection while keeping yourself and others safe and healthy.