Understanding Poisonous Plants: Is Your Garden Safe?


Gardening can be quite simple and complicated at the same time. You can grow the usual veggies beds with broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, and more. On the other hand, you can also poison yourself if you forage through your ornamental garden. Either way, for growing those plants you need garden beds and those need topsoil. You can search for “topsoil near me” and buy some from the nearest store. For now, let’s broaden your horizon about poisonous plants.

The Details

  1. Castor Bean – Castor Bean is a popular toxic plant that many experienced gardeners like to grow during the summer season. If the name wasn’t a giveaway, castor oil is extracted from the seeds of this plant. The oil isn’t toxic if you extract it properly and is easily found in drug stores and often used for home remedies.

Many kids have awful memories of being force-fed castor oil while growing up. However, you can kill a child by feeding him or her just one unprocessed seed from this plant. The toxic protein in unprocessed seeds of this plant is so strong that it can cause extreme dehydration.

  1. Lily of the valley – Lily of the valley is another common garden plant that’s poisonous. The plant looks amazing and is characterized by its charming bell-shaped flowers that are quite fragrant. However, you’ll be in for a nasty surprise if you get too close to the plant or allow your children or pets to get close to it.

If ingested, the lily of the valley can be fatal to both pets and children. From its flowers and leaves to its stem, every part of the plant is toxic. It contains tens of cardiac glycosides that affect the pumping activity of the heart. While it’s fatal to kids and pets, it can also be very harmful to adults. Either way, it’s best to keep this plant out of your garden if you own any pets or have children.

  1. Nightshades – Nightshade doesn’t refer to a single type of plant. You’d be surprised to know that the most common garden veggies are part of the nightshade family. Everything from peppers and potatoes to eggplants and tomatoes is in the nightshade family.

That’s why those plants have certain poisonous properties. While it’s evidently safe to consume the veggies, the foliage can be toxic to both pets and humans. That’s why you shouldn’t bring the stalks and leaves of nightshade plants into the kitchen. They go straight to the compost bin.

  1. Rhubarb – Rhubarb is well-known for its thick stalks and sour taste and that’s why it’s usually cooked with sugar. However, the common garden vegetable has some poisonous properties. While the stalks are safe for consumption and add excellent flavor to sauces and pies, the leaves are highly toxic.

The leaves contain oxalic acid and some anthraquinone glycosides. Ingesting the leaves can cause blisters, respiratory issues, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and in severe cases it can also cause coma. If you’re not an expert gardener, it’s best to buy the delicious veggies from the supermarket and keep those poisonous leaves as far away as possible.

  1. Foxglove – Foxglove is a lovely plant. It grows beautiful purple, red, yellow, white, lavender, or pink flowers laterally on the stems and the stems can reach as high as 6 feet. This creates an incredible spectacle. However, they hide a lot of poison behind that pleasant appearance.

Even if you just nibble a stem or a twig, it can cause severe cases of diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and other such symptoms. Moreover, consuming large amounts of the plant can slow down your heartbeat or make it irregular. If you don’t rush to the hospital, it can be fatal.

  1. Larkspur – Larkspur is another poisonous plant that’s very famous among gardeners for its enthralling beauty. Planting this one in your garden along with other plants can help you deter rabbits, groundhogs, deer, and other such animals. Unfortunately, it is part of the Ranunculaceae family that contains diterpene alkaloids, a poisonous compound.

Just trace amounts of that substance can lead to irregular heartbeat, organ damage, and other severe symptoms. Moreover, each and every part of the plant is poisonous. However, the seeds and saplings contain the highest amount of toxins. If you consume just around 2 grams of a young larkspur plant, it will definitely kill you. That’s why they are a great deterrent to pests since animals instinctively know not to eat them and stay away from your garden.

  1. Hydrangeas, rhododendron, and azaleas – Hydrangeas and azaleas pop up in so many gardening lists that you may not be surprised they are on this list too. The leaves and flowers of hydrangea contain cyanide. Yes, you read that right, cyanide! Fortunately, it’s in extremely small amounts. You or your innocent pets need to ingest an abnormally large amount of those plants before it becomes fatal.

On the other hand, both rhododendrons and azaleas are extremely toxic. Ingesting any part of these plants can lead to breathing difficulties, abdominal pain, coma, or even death. If you are a beekeeper, make sure to not grow rhododendrons. Certain types of rhododendrons create very toxic nectar. It is so toxic that even the honey made at nearby beehives from the nectar becomes poisonous.

  1. Oleander – Oleanders are common garden plants that can be deadly and very toxic. Many parts of the plant contain oleandrin, oleondroside, and digitoxigenin. This includes twigs, stems, flowers, and leaves. Ingesting those parts can cause blurred vision, low blood pressure, slow down the heartbeat, fainting, and even death.


Depending on the poisonous plant, its toxicity can vary anywhere from mild to extreme. Some can kill your pets while others can kill humans. That’s why you should thoroughly research and ask a lot of questions instead of randomly picking a plant from the nursery. On the other hand, if you need topsoil for your garden, you can search for “topsoil near me” and buy some from a store nearby.

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