Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

Is this plant poisonous to humans, children, cats, dogs or other pets?

First, if you suspect someone has eaten a poisonous plant, identify the plant and determine (as best you can) what part(s) of the plant were ingested. Then, call the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222 - The American Association of Poison Control Centers. Their phone is answered 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

There is not one best way to determine if a plant is poisonous but there are some good websites that can help. Below are some excellent sites that have user-friendly lists of poisonous and non-poisonous plants. The ASPCA site is excellent for safe and poisonous plants of cats, dogs and horses. The other sites provide good lists of plants that are safe or poisonous for humans and children. Of course, all plants are not included in these lists but can use the list of poisonous plants to check on the most dangerous of common plants. Just because a plant is not listed on a “poisonous” list, however, doesn’t mean it may not be toxic to some degree.  It may just not have been included. If you want to select only plants that are known to be non-toxic, select from the extensive list in the “Safe and Poisonous Garden Plants” publication from the University of California.

ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

Excellent site for toxic and non-toxic plant of cats, dogs and horses

Government of Canada

An extensive list of poisonous plants. You can also search for plants that are just toxic to cats, dogs, humans, etc. on the “Interactive” page.

Safe and Poisonous Garden Plants - University of California, Davis

Excellent publication with both poisonous and safe garden plants.