Special Pet Issue Tropical Gardener

Plants and Pets

Written by Agenda Florida

Chuck Nicolls

Unfortunately in South Florida. there are poisonous plants that may affect the health of your pet. When reviewing this list, it is important to know that all parts of a given plant may not be poisonous. For example, the stems of Rhubarb are a delicious food item; however, the leaves and roots are toxic to some individuals.  It may be the flowers, the foliage, roots or seeds that are toxic. The Poinsettia plant exudes a white liquid that can also prove toxic. It is also important to know that not all plants are toxic to all breeds of cats and dogs. Nevertheless, one should be aware that a plant or plant part may be toxic if ingested.


The ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has a list of over 1000 plants reported to having systemic effects on animals. Many of the plants listed as house plants are also plants that can be grown outdoors in this area. This list is not inclusive but rather a compilation of plants mostly encounter as reported to the organization. Some of the more common plants grown that may be toxic to your animals in South Florida: Azaleas, Kalanchoes, Oleander, Water Hyacinths, Warneckei Dracena, Wandering Jew, Diffenbachias. Ti Plant, Lantana, Jade plant, Gloriosa Lily and Poinsettias.  I will admit that I have grown many of these plants in the garden, and my two Boxer dogs have had no problem with them.

I would strongly suggest that as a pet owner, you check out the ASPCA website (http://www.aspca.org/apcc). If you have a pet emergency you can call the organization at any time as they are available 24 hours every day of the year (888-426-4435). Depending on the nature of the call there may be a consultation fee of $65.00.