Are Succulents Poisonous?
Please keep in mind, not all succulents are poisonous or dangerous. But you should be aware of those few types of succulents that may harm you or your pets.
In the first days when I learned about succulents, I thought that all of these are healthy plants. Like Aloe Vera, which can be used for strength and skincare. But not all of them are like Aloe Vera.
Those succulents which have spines or prickles (like spines on cacti) are, obviously, dangerous as it hurts. You probably have already felt it somehow. But most of them are harmless to humans and animals.
Although there are a few which can be potentially dangerous to you or your pets. Most of them have spines or prickles, but very few may a little bit toxic as well.
If your child consumed any succulent, you should call for poison control asap. It won’t do serious harm but it may sick your child.
Pets are generally smart enough to avoid such plants but if somehow they are roaming around your succulents garden, then you should know the potential threats and toxicity of your types of succulents.
This is the well known toxic and poisonous succulents family you may find. Although there is some discrepancy about if it is a succulent or not, but you should be aware of its toxicity.
You should always wear gloves when handling Euphorbias. Because it contains a white milky sap in its leaves, which irritates the skin when comes in contact. This milky sap will cause rashes on your skin wherever it touches.
If you consumed Euphorbias sap, it causes blistering of the mouth. If you consumed in excess, it causes vomiting.
This milky substance of Euphorbias is also known as latex. They had been used in medicines. They had also been used as a laxative for a long time, and to treat intestinal parasites, tumors, and warts. (source)
Types of Poisonous Euphorbias.
- Marginata (Snow on the Mountain)
- Cotinifolia (Caribbean Copper Plant)
- Alluaudii (Cat Tails Euphorbia)
- Enopla (Pincushion Euphorbia)
- Lactea or ‘White Ghost’ (White Ghost Candelabra Spurge)
- Mammillaris (Corn Cob Euphorbia)
- Tithymaloides ‘Variegatus’ – Variegated Devil’s Backbone
- Milii var. roseana (Crown of Thorns).
Kalanchoes contains cardiac glycoside. Experiments show that cardiac glycoside has been found to do serious harm (even death) to chicks and mice. It has caused illness in other pets like sheep, rabbits, cats, and dogs as well. It is also strongly advised to keep your children away from these. Although it is not dangerous to humans. (source).
Although all members of the Kalanchoes family exhibit poisonousness to your animals, but Mother of Millions, Devil’s backbone, and Blossfeldiana are some of the well-known types that may pose threats to your pets. So be careful with them.
The Jade Plant is a little bit toxic to humans. It can cause diarrhea or upset stomach if digested. This effect may increase in kids or grand-kids. If your pets (like cats and dogs) eat, it can cause vomiting, loss of appetite, acting lethargy, slow heartbeats, and lack of muscle coordination. (source)
Jade plant (Crassula ovata or Crassula argentea) is the most toxic of the Crassula family. Touching Jade plant sap, juice or thorns can also cause itching and burning skin. So keep your jade plant as away from your pets and children as possible.
Are succulents poisonous to humans?
The short answer is “No”. Almost none of the succulents are poisonous to humans. There are only some of them that may pose dangerousness but they have medicinal benefits. Like, as discussed, the Euphorbia family.
Those succulents that have spines or thorns should be handled with care, as it hurts when stubs. You should always keep away your children away from these plants.
Some people may be allergic to some plants, which should always be discussed with your physician in the beginning.
Overall, succulents are healthy and beneficial for humans and the environment.
Are succulents poisonous to cats, dogs, birds, and other pets
As discussed above, some succulent types can produce a mildly toxic effect on your pets. This includes digestive problems and slow heartbeats. But most succulents are completely harmless to your pets.
Generally, animals are smart enough to not touch succulents that have spines and thorns. They even would not try to eat them as it does not taste or smell pleasing.
The Euphorbias, Kalanchoes, and Jade Plant are the ones that you should take some extra precautions for and keep them away from your pets and children. You won’t like your succulents to be destroyed either.
Cacti and Succulent Safety
Only the above succulents are listed frequently as dangerous to humans and pets. However, they are less poisonous. But as a general rule always keep away your succulents and cacti out of the reach of your children and pets.
You should always keep your sharp succulents and cacti away from your children and pets, especially when you decorate them indoors.
Those that have sharp spines can harm you easily, so be careful when handling them. You should always wear gloves, or hold sharp succulents in a towel or some other rigid paper while handling or potting them.
Some cacti like Opuntia microdasys, i.e. the worst little guys, have a lot of sharp spines on them. If you put your hand accidentally on one of them, you may spend that day pulling off those spines from your hand, not to mention pain accompanying them.
If you are going to pot cacti and succulents outdoor, always keep your sharp succulents away from those places where your children and pets can easily roam around.
If you know something that you think should be mentioned in this article, please feel free to comment.
… and, don’t forget to share with your succulents lover friends.