Zinnias are gorgeous annuals that create a heartwarming display of exquisite, colorful flowers. However, even the most beautiful flowers can potentially be toxic or deadly to humans and pets. So before you add them to your garden, it’s important to know whether zinnias are safe for you and your pets. In this article, we’ll run through everything you need to know about zinnia flower toxicity to humans, pets, and other animals.
Are Zinnias Toxic or Poisonous – The Essentials
Zinnias are not considered to be toxic or poisonous to humans, pets, or other animals. In fact, zinnias are actually edible flowers. However, zinnias do have a slightly bitter taste, so they are more suitable as garnishes. Even though zinnias aren’t toxic, it’s best to wear gloves when handling them.
Are Zinnias Toxic to Humans, Pets, and Other Animals?
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), zinnias are not toxic to pets. This means that zinnias can be grown safely around pets like cats and dogs. If your cat or dog happens to eat zinnia flowers or leaves, they shouldn’t suffer any adverse effects.
Zinnias are also not toxic or poisonous to humans. In fact, zinnia flowers are actually considered edible for humans. That said, the flowers have a slightly bitter taste that may be off-putting. Zinnia flowers are best used as cake decorations or salad garnishes.
Although zinnias are non-toxic to humans, getting the sap on your skin may cause a minor rash. Always wear gloves when you’re handling zinnias, especially if you’re pruning or deadheading them.
Zinnias also have slightly hairy leaves and stems, which may cause minor irritation if they touch your skin. Due to these hairs, don’t eat zinnia leaves or stems as they may irritate your mouth or throat. While the leaves and stems aren’t poisonous, only the flowers of a zinnia plant are edible.
For more, see our in-depth guide to popular flowers that are toxic to cats, dogs, and other pets.
Do Zinnias Cause Allergies?
While zinnias may not be poisonous, that doesn’t mean that they don’t cause any health problems at all. If you suffer from allergies like hay fever, zinnias aren’t the best addition to your garden because they produce pollen.
Although this pollen is great for beneficial insects like bees and hoverflies, it’s not ideal for anyone suffering from allergies. Zinnias flower from early summer until the first frosts arrive in fall, so avoid adding them to your garden if you suffer badly from hay fever.
What Happens to Pets If They Ingest Part of a Zinnia
Zinnias aren’t believed to be toxic to pets like dogs and cats. Your furry friends should be able to eat the odd zinnia and not suffer from any problems. However, they may still experience a bad reaction that leads to minor stomach issues.
Zinnias have fine hairs on their leaves and stems, which may irritate your pet’s mouth or throat. This may cause stomach aches, vomiting, or diarrhea but shouldn’t cause any severe or long-term health problems. Regardless, it’s best to keep your pets from eating zinnias wherever possible, just in case.
What to Do If Your Pet Becomes Unwell
If your pets have an unusual reaction after eating a zinnia, keep a close eye on them. Provide plenty of water to stop them from getting dehydrated until their reaction is over. Call your vet and follow their advice if they experience several hours of diarrhea or vomiting. If necessary, make an appointment if your pet’s condition worsens.
Tips and Considerations When Handling Zinnias
While zinnias may not be toxic or poisonous to humans, they have hairy leaves and stems that may cause skin irritation. Thankfully, there are some precautions that you can take to protect yourself.
Always wear gardening gloves when handling zinnias, especially if you’re deadheading them. This prevents the sap or hairs from coming into direct contact with your skin. If your zinnias are pretty bushy, wear long-sleeved clothing to protect your arms from leaf hairs or sap.
Once you’ve finished handling zinnias, it’s always best to thoroughly wash your hands – even if you are wearing gloves. This reduces the risk of any residual sap or hairs coming into contact with your skin. If you do handle zinnias with bare hands, don’t touch your face or eyes until you’ve thoroughly washed your hands.
Few plants brighten up a garden as effectively as zinnias. Thankfully, you can enjoy these cheerful annuals without worrying about them being toxic. Zinnias are not poisonous or toxic to humans, pets, or other animals. However, they may exacerbate allergies like hay fever, and their sap and hairy leaves may cause skin irritation. Always protect yourself by wearing gloves whenever you handle zinnias.
For more, see our in-depth guide on how to grow zinnias in pots and containers.