Everything You Need to Know About Peace Lily Plant Toxicity
Peace lilies are known for their large leaves, white spathe, tolerance to low light, rich symbolism, and ability to clean the air, these factors are some of the reasons peace lilies are such popular houseplants. However, if you have one of these plants in your home or are planning on purchasing one, you may be wondering about peace lily toxicity. This guide will cover everything you need to know about the toxicity of peace lilies to humans and pets.
- Are Peace Lily Plants Toxic or Poisonous? – The Essentials
- About Peace Lily Plants
- Are All Types of Peace Lily Plants Toxic?
- What Happens to Your Pets If They Chew or Ingest a Part of a Peace Lily Plant?
- What To Do If Your Pet Has Symptoms or Is Unwell?
- Tips to Keep Your Pets Away from Peace Lily Plants
- Tips and Considerations for Handling Peace Lily Plants
- 5 Alternative Pet-Friendly Houseplant Options
- Peace Lily Toxicity – The Final Word
Are Peace Lily Plants Toxic or Poisonous? – The Essentials
- Peace lilies contain compounds called insoluble calcium oxalates that can irritate tissue upon contact.
- Eating any part of the peace lily can harm humans, dogs, and cats.
- Symptoms of peace lily ingestion include an irritated mouth, drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.
About Peace Lily Plants
Peace lilies are a group of plants in the spathiphyllum genus. There are almost 50 species of peace lilies (including variegated varieties), but some are more popular than others as houseplants. The species Spathiphyllum cochlearispathum is the most popular.
All of these plants have many dark green leaves that appear atop long stems. Peace lilies also produce white flower spikes that are surrounded by modified bracts called spathes.
Most peace lilies grow between one and four feet tall and one and three feet wide.
These plants are popular houseplants due to their relatively easy-to-care-for nature. They can thrive in low light as well during periods of drought. However, they prefer moderate to high humidity.
Are All Types of Peace Lily Plants Toxic?
Yes, all peace lilies are toxic. All of these plants are members of the Araceae family, so they’re also known as arums. This plant family also includes anthuriums, elephant’s ears, calla lilies, monsteras, and philodendrons.
All arums, including all varieties of peace lilies, contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. All parts of a peace lily plant contain these crystals, so therefore, all parts of the plant are toxic.
What Happens to Your Pets If They Chew or Ingest a Part of a Peace Lily Plant?
If your pet chews on a peace lily plant, the insoluble calcium oxalate crystals will come into contact with their mouth. These crystals are akin to tiny shards of glass—since they aren’t insoluble, they can cause irritation.
If your pet chews on a peace lily, their mouth will become irritated. As this happens, their mouth or tongue may swell, and they may start drooling or have difficulty swallowing.
When your pet swallows the plant, it comes into contact with other parts of the body. This can cause vomiting. In rare cases, swelling becomes extreme enough to impact breathing.
It’s important to note that peace lilies are not true lilies and therefore impact pets differently than true lilies. While lilies can lead to kidney failure in cats, this is not a worry with peace lilies.
What To Do If Your Pet Has Symptoms or Is Unwell?
If you know your pet has chewed on a peace lily plant, monitor them closely and offer water to help flush the mouth. While symptoms like mouth irritation and drooling typically don’t warrant veterinarian care, you can always call the vet or poison control center if you are concerned.
Ingesting a peace lily can also lead to vomiting. If your pet continues to vomit, you should contact your veterinarian.
In extreme cases, the ingestion of peace lily can lead to trouble breathing. If you notice your pet is laboring to breathe, contact your vet ASAP.
If you notice your pet is unwell but you don’t know what they ate, make sure to monitor them closely. Look around your house for things like spilled liquids and disturbed plants. After you find out what your pet ate, contact the poison control center for the next steps.
Tips to Keep Your Pets Away from Peace Lily Plants
Many pets will leave peace lilies alone, but if you have a cat or dog who is known to nibble on plants, you should take steps to keep them away from your peace lily.
One option is to physically exclude your pets from the area where the peace lily is located. For example, if your plant is in a sunroom, you can close the door to keep your pets out.
If you have a dog at home, another option is to place the peace lily on a plant stand that places it out of your dog’s reach. This method typically doesn’t work for cats since they can jump up on planters.
Where you position a peace lily plant can also play a factor such as on a high side table, window ledge, or shelf (if it’s relatively modest in size).
Tips and Considerations for Handling Peace Lily Plants
Along with being potentially harmful to pets, peace lilies can also cause humans pain. While touching the plant’s leaves typically won’t cause harm, coming into contact with the plant’s sap can cause pain.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to wear gloves when handling a peace lily (particularly when pruning or repotting a peace lily). Your gloves will protect you from the calcium oxalate crystals in the plant’s sap.
Along with wearing gloves, remember to never touch your eyes or mouth after handling peace lilies. After you’re done working with your plant, throw away your gloves and then wash your hands.
5 Alternative Pet-Friendly Houseplant Options
If you’re looking for a pet-friendly alternative to a peace lily, you have plenty of plants to choose from. Consider these five.
These popular indoor palm trees sport crazy leaves that resemble a high ponytail. Indoors, these palm plants can grow up to eight feet tall, but they often remain smaller.
They are also great for forgetful people since they can tolerate periods of drought.
Also known as the sword fern, the Boston fern adds lush greenery to any space. Much like the peace lily, it doesn’t require much sun or care. However, it’s safe for both pets and humans.
These popular indoor ferns are also quite versatile in terms of where you put them. They work well on a plant stand, in a hanging basket, or on a table.
Another large plant that is pet-friendly is the spider plant. These plants work well in hanging baskets, but they can also be placed on plant stands.
Spider plants have long, thin leaves that may be sold colored or striped. The plants also form tiny planets on their leaf tips.
Consider the watermelon peperomia if you’re looking for a smaller plant that can sit on your office shelf or coffee table. These plants are safe for dogs and cats, and the striped leaves bring some fun to any space.
Peace Lily Toxicity – The Final Word
If you have a peace lily in your home, recognize that it can harm pets as well as humans. While the toxicity is generally mild, it’s a good idea to keep these plants out of your pet’s reach.