8 trendy houseplants that look so pretty – but they could put your child’s life at risk
A house full of plants can be the key to transforming a beautiful space into a beautiful space.
In fact, brightening your home with live plants is closely linked to improved mental and physical health, specifically helping to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and improve your state of mind. But you must choose carefully when choosing the plants you want to improve your home with.
Especially if you have babies or young children, there are a number of plants that you definitely want to avoid due to their tendency to cause illness or skin irritation if handled or consumed. This article compiles a list of plants to avoid when shopping — even if you like the look of them.
Guy Barter, chief horticulturist at the Royal Horticultural Society, said: “Houseplants are rarely implicated in harming people, and any potential risks are small compared to the proven benefits of houseplants in improving health and wellbeing. However, it is unwise to consume any plants indoors or out. “They are not grown specifically to eat.” According to the RHS, these are the plants to avoid when you next make a trip to the garden centre…
It is “poisonous if ingested”, the RHS says of the plant known as stupid reed or tiger lily. It is the leaves, stems and roots that are dangerous. But there’s another strange side effect to this plant, which is where it gets its name “dumb cane.”
If Dieffenbachia is chewed, it can leave a person unable to speak because it consists of oxalic acid – which causes swelling and burning in the mouth. If your child eats a piece of Dieffenbachia, you should wipe their mouth with a cool cloth and rinse their eyes – as well as any parts of the skin that have been in contact with the plant, the RHS said according to The Sun.
The full list of symptoms resulting from eating the plant includes:
The appearance of blisters in the mouth
Burning sensation in the mouth and throat
Increased saliva production, also known as drooling
Vomiting and nausea
Pain when swallowing
Swelling of the mouth and tongue
Experts say the plant can also irritate the skin and eyes, causing “potential damage to the cornea.”
Caladiums can be recognized by their pink, almost heart-shaped leaves. Also known as angel wings, caladium can be “harmful if ingested” due to the presence of the same oxalate crystals found in dumb cane. It can cause irritation in your eye with the following symptoms:
Burning sensation in the mouth or throat
Damage to the clear outer layer (cornea) of the eye
Hoarse voice and difficulty speaking
Increased saliva secretion
Nausea or vomiting
Swelling and ulcers in the mouth or tongue
Also known as flamingos, anthuriums are famous for their bright red leaves. But the RHS says anthurium can be “harmful if ingested” and can cause burning, swelling and blisters in the mouth – as well as being a “skin and eye irritant”.
4. Monstera is delicious
Monstera plants are often known as Swiss cheese plants due to their perforated leaves. It is one of the most popular houseplants when people want some foliage to brighten up their homes. But Monstera deliciosa plants contain the same oxalate crystals as the plants mentioned above, so they can be harmful if your child chews them.
5. Peace lily
These lilies are more commonly known as peace lilies and are loved for the beautiful white flowers they produce, and are a wonderful addition to your home. But eating them is bad – because they can cause coughing, nausea, vomiting and swollen lips, as well as mouth and throat irritation.
Philodendrons are often grown indoors – but should definitely be avoided if there are young ones. They can cause burning, swelling, ulcers in the mouth and throat, a hoarse voice, drooling, nausea, and vomiting. If someone eats this plant, you should not make them vomit — unless your health care provider tells you to.
This plant is eerily known as devil’s ivy, yet it grows a beautiful vine of light green leaves. But all the above symptoms can be caused by this particular plant, so it is best to keep it out of reach of children.
8. Zamioculcas zamiifolia
Also called ZZ plants or Zanzibar gems, they have oval-shaped, glossy green leaves. But according to the Queensland Health website, all parts of this plant are poisonous and will cause immediate pain if chewed or swallowed. It can also cause contact dermatitis in people with sensitive skin
My child ate one of these plants, what should I do?!
If nothing is seriously wrong, simply call 111 for advice and they will tell you what to do. But if they are sick, unconscious, or appear drowsy, take them to the emergency department.
The RHS says you should follow these steps if someone eats the plants:
If you think a child or adult has eaten part of a suspected plant, seek medical advice immediately from your hospital’s accident and emergency department
Take a sample of the plant with you
Don’t panic and don’t try to make the person sick