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

Which indoor plants are poisonous?

For Poison Control in St. Louis, call 314-772-5200

Although plants add beauty to your homes and landscapes, some plants are also poisonous. Here are some simple guidelines to follow regarding poisonous plants.

1. Do not eat any plant part you do not recognize as eatable.

2. Do not chew on items made from imported beans or seeds.

3. Do not make teas or brews from plants if you are not sure they are safe to use.

4. Make sure your children understand these rules. Teach young children not to put any plant parts in their mouths unless they are part of a meal.

5. Whenever someone does chew or swallow a known or suspected poisonous plant part, seek medical treatment immediately. Call the nearest poison control center. Check the inside cover of your telephone book under "emergency numbers". Look for the Mr. Yuck symbol. Have the poison control center phone number by your telephone. In St. Louis, the number is 314-772-5200. They will need to know the name of the plant that was eaten.

6. If you do have to go to the hospital, take the whole plant or as much as possible with you.

7. Always keep a bottle of ipecac syrup at home just in case someone ingests a poisonous substance including plants. Ipecac induces vomiting. Read and follow label directions. Remember dogs and cats are also sensitive to poisonous plants. If you suspect your pet has ingested part of a poisonous plant, call your veterinarian.

The most poisonous common indoor plant include dumb cane, also called dieffenbachia, snake plant which is also called mother-in-laws tongue, English ivy, philodendrons, and pothos or devil's ivy. Some poisonous flowering potted plants are azalea, amaryllis, daffodil, and hyacinths. Finally, a few Christmas plants are poisonous, namely, mistletoe and holly. Poinsettia although reputed to be very toxic is only slightly toxic and not considered dangerous.

Here is a good list of Safe and Poisonous Houseplants from the University of Connecticut.