Everything You Need to Know About Toxicity Considerations with Monstera Plants
With gorgeous leaves covered in intriguing holes, monstera plants have become some of the most popular houseplants. While there’s no denying these plants are stunning and offer lots of benefits, it’s important to recognize they do have a bit of a dangerous side. We’re going to cover the toxicity of monstera plants, possible symptoms, and steps you can take to keep pets and children safe.
- Are Monstera Plants Toxic to Pets – The Essentials
- About Monstera Plants
- Are All Types of Common Monstera Houseplants Toxic?
- What Happens to Your Pets If They Chew or Ingest a Part of a Monstera Plant?
- What To Do If Your Pet Has Symptoms or Is Unwell?
- Tips to Keep Your Pets Away from Monstera Plants
- Are Monstera Plants Also Toxic to Humans?
- 5 Alternative Pet-Friendly Houseplant Options
- Wrapping Up
Are Monstera Plants Toxic to Pets – The Essentials
- Monstera plants are considered toxic to dogs, cats, and humans according to the ACPA if consumed.
- Their sap contains calcium oxalate crystals that can cause irritation and swelling of the mouth as well as diarrhea, vomiting, and other signs of intestinal distress.
- Keep these plants out of reach from pets and children where possible.
About Monstera Plants
Monstera refers to a genus of plants that contains 49 species. The monstera genus is a member of the araceae family.
While individual monstera species vary in appearance, all are herbaceous plants or climbing vines. Many of these plants are known for the natural holes that cover their leaves.
Some of the most popular monstera houseplants include Monstera deliciosa (the swiss cheese plant) and Monstera adansonii.
While people keep these plants as houseplants due to their exotic foliage, the plants can produce flowers and fruits under the right conditions. When grown outdoors in tropical regions, Monstera deliciosa plants will produce delicious fruit. While this fruit is scrumptious when ripe, it can cause irritation if consumed unripe.
When it comes to toxicity, almost all parts of monstera plants are toxic. Both the leaves and stems contain irritating calcium oxalate crystals. While touching the leaves is unlikely to cause irritation, touching the plant sap can cause burning skin.
Are All Types of Common Monstera Houseplants Toxic?
Yes, all types of monstera plants contain calcium oxalate crystals. These microscopic crystals can irritate soft tissue, causing both pain and swelling.
The following types of monstera plants are toxic to pets and humans.
- Monstera deliciosa
- Monstera adansonii
- Monstera siltepecana
- Monstera dubia
What Happens to Your Pets If They Chew or Ingest a Part of a Monstera Plant?
While the following information may help you determine what to expect if your pet eats a monstera, it should not be substituted for expert advice. You should always contact a veterinarian or poison control center if you think your pet has ingested something toxic.
With that said, all parts of monstera plants (excluding ripe fruit) are toxic due to calcium oxalate crystals. While these crystals are invisible to the naked eye, they can cause intense irritation if they contact the skin.
If your pet chews on a monstera plant, their mouth will come into contact with these crystals. According to the ASPCA, pets may experience pain as well as swelling and drooling. They may also experience trouble swallowing.
If they ingest the plant, the calcium oxalate may irritate their intestinal tract. Therefore, vomiting and/or diarrhea may occur.
Generally, consuming a monstera plant is not fatal. However, it can lead to quite an unpleasant experience.
What To Do If Your Pet Has Symptoms or Is Unwell?
If you notice your pet is acting unusual or sick, it’s best to call your vet. They will be able to offer professional guidance regarding whether or not you need to bring your pet into a clinic.
Even if you didn’t see your pet ingest something, do some investigating. Do you see anything out of the ordinary? Are any of your potted plants disturbed?
If you did see your cat, dog, or other pet ingesting something, do your best to identify the substance.
Even if you can’t figure out what your pet ate, you can contact the poison control center. They will be able to offer advice about the toxicity of the substance as well as the next steps.
If you don’t take your pet to see a vet, it’s best to monitor them until their symptoms subside.
Tips to Keep Your Pets Away from Monstera Plants
The best way to prevent your plant from eating monstera plants is by limiting access.
If you have dogs at home, consider placing your monstera plants somewhere elevated. You can put them on a high side table or plant stand to keep them out of reach. Whilst most monstera plants aren’t rapid growers indoors they can reach expansive sizes once they mature.
Due to cats’ jumping abilities, it’s a bit harder to keep plants out of their reach. However, it can be done!
One option is to place your plant in a room your pets don’t have access to. For example, you can position your monstera plants in a sunroom and then keep the door closed so your pets cannot enter.
Another option is to use baby gates or furniture to limit access to your plants.
Finally, you can experiment with repelling your plants by spraying your plants with citronella, citrus, or other substances.
Are Monstera Plants Also Toxic to Humans?
Yes, monstera plants are also toxic to humans. Just like pets, humans are also affected by the calcium oxalate crystals.
According to the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, consuming calcium oxalate crystals feels a bit similar to biting into small shards of glass. That means you should definitely make sure children don’t munch on your monsteras!
While this sensation is unpleasant, it may help out in the long run. Since eating the plant is so painful, children rarely eat much of the plant. That means internal poisoning is rare.
Touching the plant’s sap can also cause irritation.
5 Alternative Pet-Friendly Houseplant Options
If you’re looking for a pet-friendly houseplant, you’re in luck. While the monstera isn’t the best choice, there are plenty of other houseplants that are safe for your furry friends.
Also known as Chlorophytum comosum, spider plants are easy-to-care-for houseplants that are non-toxic to pets. With a cascading form, they work well in hanging baskets or on top of tall plant stands.
As long as you provide these plants with bright light, warm temperatures, and the correct amount of water, they are likely to thrive. Plus, they will produce little spiderettes, which you can use to propagate new plants.
While these plants are non-toxic to dogs, cats, and humans, they can have a slight hallucinogenic impact on cats. This won’t harm your feline friends, but it may have them acting a bit strange.
Since it’s a diverse genus, the calathea group offers something for everyone. All of these plants are members of the Marantaceae family.
Many types of Calathea plants sport intricately patterned foliage. Some popular houseplant options include the rattlesnake calathea (Calathea lancifolia), pinstripe calathea (Calathea ornata), and rose-painted calathea (Calathea roseopicta).
Not only do these leaves have stunning patterns and colors, but they also move up and down in response to light.
If you choose to keep a calathea plant in your home, be aware that they thrive in high humidity. Therefore, you may need to invest in a humidifier if your home is dry.
If you’re looking for a non-toxic plant that can take up a large space, the ponytail palm may fit the bill. With the proper care, these plants can grow over five feet tall indoors.
Their swollen trunk-like base gives way to a collection of thin leaves that resemble a ponytail.
While these plants look and sound like palms, they are actually closely related to agave plants. That means they prefer moderately dry soils and bright light.
Also known as the sword fern, this plant is a popular fern both inside and out. Although its name alludes to New England, the Boston fern is actually native to tropical regions in Central and South America.
With that said, these ferns are happiest when kept in warm and humid areas. Like many other houseplants, they prefer bright yet indirect light.
Not only are Boston ferns great statement plants, but they are also non-toxic to both humans and pets.
Although the peperomia genus contains around 1,500 species, not all of these are kept as houseplants. However, once you start exploring this group of plants, you’ll quickly fall in love with their thick, waxy leaves and various colors.
Some popular types of peperomia plants include the baby rubber plant (Peperomia obtusifolia), trailing jade plant (Peperomia rotundifolia), and watermelon peperomia (Peperomia argyreia). No matter what species you choose, you can rest assured that your plant is non-toxic to your pets.
While there are some differences between species, many types of peperomia can handle moderate humidity and slight drought. That means they may be the perfect plant for a dry house or forgetful plant parent.
While it’s easy to love monstera plants, you should be aware of their toxic qualities. The calcium oxalate crystals present in their plant sap can cause pain and swelling if ingested. Therefore, you should keep your monstera plants out of the reach of curious children and pets.
Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.