Pet-friendly plants can be challenging to come by. It seems almost every popular houseplant on the market can be damaging to your furry friends in some way. Can the same be said for the beloved Anthurium plant? In this article, we’ll discuss the toxicity of Anthurium plants to pets (and humans), with tips on how to keep your pets away and what alternatives you can choose instead.
- Everything You Need to Know About Toxicity Considerations with Anthurium Plants
- Are Anthurium Plants Toxic or Poisonous?
- About Anthurium Plants
- Are All Types of Anthurium Plants Toxic?
- What Happens to Your Pets If They Chew or Ingest a part of an Anthurium Plant?
- What To Do If Your Pet Has Symptoms or is Unwell?
- Tips to Keep Your Pets Away from Anthurium Plants
- Tips and Considerations for handling Anthurium Plants
- 5 Alternative Pet-Friendly Plant Options
- Anthurium Plant Toxicity – The Final Word
Are Anthurium Plants Toxic or Poisonous?
Anthuriums contain calcium oxalate crystals that are toxic when ingested and irritating to the skin. They are poisonous to pets, much like other Araceae plants. Symptoms of ingestion include mouth irritation, pawing at the face, drooling, and vomiting. Keeping the plant out of reach, using citrus, and training can deter your pets from these plants.
About Anthurium Plants
Anthuriums are traditional houseplant staples once again back in fashion. These symbolic and beneficial plants feature large glossy heart-shaped leaves that are great for foliage-lovers. However, they are prized for their exciting spadix flowers, surrounded by waxy modified leaves in a range of fascinating colors.
Anthuriums are part of the Araceae family, related to many other common houseplants like Peace Lilies and Philodendrons. They are native to Central and South America where they are found in warm, tropical rainforests.
While they are commonly known by their genus name, these plants also have a range of interesting common names. The Flamingo flower is the most popular, thanks to its waxy blooms, but you may also find them under the name laceleaf.
In general, Anthurium care at home is relatively straightforward with appropriate soil, light exposure, watering, temperature, fertilizing, repotting, pruning, and pest control. Keep an eye out for yellowing or brown anthurium foliage which can be a sign of care problems.
Are All Types of Anthurium Plants Toxic?
Anthuriums contain calcium oxalate crystals in their sap, present in all parts of the plant. These crystals are toxic when ingested and are also irritating to the skin. The crystals are incredibly sharp, causing damage to the mouth and digestive system. All members of the Araceae family contain these crystals, including Anthuriums.
What Happens to Your Pets If They Chew or Ingest a part of an Anthurium Plant?
Symptoms of Anthurium ingestion in cats and dogs are very similar.
The first problem you may notice is mouth irritation. Pawing at the mouth as well as drooling is common. Swelling is also possible around the mouth and tongue or, more rarely, the throat, causing difficulty breathing and swallowing. General mouth discomfort is one of the first signals that something is wrong.
Digestive problems also indicate calcium oxalate ingestion. Your pets may stop eating or indicate discomfort when doing so. Vomiting is also likely in both cats and dogs.
Ingestion is the more concerning problem, but skin contact can also cause discomfort for your pets. The sap can lead to eye irritation or blistering that is difficult to see beneath their fur. Cats and dogs are also likely to lick the sap to end the irritation, leading to problems with ingestion.
Even if you don’t notice symptoms in your pets, you can find evidence in the plants themselves. Bite marks or damaged leaves, along with dirt lying around, should prompt you to check on your pets. If the plant was pulled or knocked over, inspect the leaves for any signs of ingestion.
What To Do If Your Pet Has Symptoms or is Unwell?
If your pets only ingested a small amount of the plant and the discomfort subsides quickly, a trip to the vet may not be necessary. Keep an eye out for any concerning signs to see if they persist or worsen.
If a large amount of the plant has been ingested or your pet is unable to swallow or breathe, take them to the vet immediately. Once there, they can conduct tests to determine the severity of the issue and advise treatment.
Take note of how much of the plant was ingested before heading to the vet. This information will help them better understand your pet’s conditions, making treatment and resolution easier to determine.
Tips to Keep Your Pets Away from Anthurium Plants
Unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee your pets will stay away from your Anthurium plant. However, you can take steps to make contact and ingestion far less likely.
The first is to simply keep the plant out of reach. This is easier for dogs than it is for agile cats but is still the best way to keep pets safe. Even better, keep the plant in a different room that your pets don’t have access to. While accidents are possible, this lessens the chance of your pets coming into contact with the plants in the first place. For more, see our guide on where to position anthurium plants (factoring in care needs and feng shui benefits as well).
Citrus is also believed to deter some pets from plants. Cats and dogs generally don’t like the intense scent of citrus, keeping them away. Toss some citrus peels around the base of the plant or make use of citrus oils on the pot. Avoid getting any oils near the soil as this can damage to the roots. While some pets won’t be deterred from citrus, many are, so it’s worth a try.
Finally, you can attempt to train your pets to stay away from the plants. A spray bottle filled with water can be used to deter them whenever they go near this plant. Again, this won’t work for all pets, but does give you a chance of keeping them away.
Tips and Considerations for handling Anthurium Plants
Just as Anthuriums are toxic to pets, they are also toxic to humans. Whenever pruning, repotting, or propagating anthurium plants – any activity that can release sap from the plant – it’s best to wear gloves to avoid irritation. Also keep the plant away from children that may accidentally brush the plant or worse, bite it.
5 Alternative Pet-Friendly Plant Options
If you like the large and interesting leaves of the Anthurium, a great alternative is Calathea orbifolia. This species is known for its large, rounded leaves with stunning patterns that instantly catch the eye. You can also opt for other pet-friendly Calathea species to fill any leafy voids. They each have their own colors and characteristics, making them great for collectors.
For an easy-to-care-for option, you can’t go wrong with the Spider Plant. The strappy, cascading leaves of this beauty are great for hanging baskets. But, since they’re completely pet friendly, you can also keep them in pots and place them on any surface in your home. These plants are incredibly low-maintenance and great for beginner gardeners.
If flowers are what you’re after, opt for an African Violet instead. Very popular in the 70s houseplant era, African Violets are wonderful compact plants that are completely pet-friendly. Although the flowers aren’t quite as pointed and structural as Anthurium flowers, they do come in a stunning range of colors, including the ever-popular royal purple.
Watermelon Peperomias are another popular option for foliage lovers that prefer something a little more compact. These plants became a social media sensation thanks to the interesting patterns on the leaves. If the Watermelon version is not your favorite, you can choose from any members of the Peperomia genus as they are all pet friendly.
Bird’s Nest Fern
For those looking for glossy green leaves, you can’t go wrong choosing a Bird’s Nest Fern. One of the easier ferns to care for, this plant had gorgeous cascading fronds that look different from any other common houseplant fern. And, they are completely safe for your pets too.
Anthurium Plant Toxicity – The Final Word
Anthurium plants are best kept away from your cats and dogs, and any other pets in your home as they are considered toxic. Luckily, there are a few ways to keep them away from the plant or many stunning alternatives that you won’t need to worry about.
If you’re looking for your next Anthurium plant to add to your collection, see our in-depth guide to the best plant shops delivering Anthuriums nationwide.
Madison is a writer and editor with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science. She writes and photographs for various online and print publications in the gardening sphere and is the author of the book The Next-Generation Gardener.