Holiday Plants Could Kill Your Pet: Toxic Plants to Avoid and Safe Substitutes | Holiday Houseplants: Pet Friendly vs Toxic Plants - gardenstead Skip to content

Holiday Houseplants: Pet Friendly vs Toxic Plants

Cat in Christmas Tree - jessica lewis

Plants make a wonderful gift, especially around the holidays. Colorful poinsettias are a classic Christmas decoration and lilies are a fragrant household treat around Easter, BUT — you guessed it — they are highly toxic to cats and dogs. As it turns out, most holiday plants are.

Every year around the holidays vets witness a surge of cats and dogs coming in for emergency appointments because they munched on, licked, brushed against, or inhaled part of a toxic plant. Sometimes these emergencies prove fatal.

Read on to learn ten common holiday plants that are toxic to pets, and five safe substitutes.

cat under christmas tree
Ten Holiday Plants Toxic to Pets
  • Amaryllis
  • Christmas/Easter rose
  • Cyclamen
  • Easter lily
  • Holly
  • English ivy
  • Mistletoe (sorry you’ll need to find another excuse to kiss your beau!)
  • Paper white
  • Christmas tree — cedars,
  • pines and firs
    Poinsettia
Serious Symptoms

Common symptoms from ingesting toxic plants include: drooling, foaming, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, tremors, and pawing at the mouth. Sometimes, like in the case of lilies, ingestion can result in severe acute kidney failure within 24 to 72 hours of your fur baby ingesting the plant or inhaling the pollen.

This article from Forest Hill Animal Clinic explains in detail why these plants are toxic and describes specific symptoms for each plant.

Did we list some of your favorites? Don’t be completely bummed-out! There are a few festive non-toxic plants that make for perfect holiday gifts and decor.

Five Non-Toxic Holiday Plants

1. Christmas cactus/thanksgiving/easter cactus (Schlumbergera truncata). This classic holiday bloomer brightens up the room and comes in a wide range of colors from the softest pinks to rich reds. While the plant isn’t toxic, if you’ve got a pet that loves to munch greenery it could upset your pet’s stomach. 

Christmas Cactus - pixabay

2. Mini-rosemary topiaries (Rosmarinus officinalis). These mini christmas-tree shaped rosemary bushes smell great, last a long time, and you can dress them up with tiny decorations and small string or fairy lights.

Rosemary Christmas Tree - easytogrowbulbscom
Photo by easytogrowbulbs

3. Norfolk pine/australian pine (Araucaria heterophylla). If you love Charlie Brown, you’ll love this whimsical tree! Dress up the pot with a festive pot, burlap, a tree skirt, or a big bow for extra festive spirit.

simply decorated tree

4. Christmas orchid/mayflower (Cattleya trianae). The delicate blooms of this special orchid like to pop out around Christmas and Easter, hence the names. Also, fun fact: this is the national flower of Colombia! If you’re new to orchids, then check out our orchid care guide.

Christmas Orchid - Cattleya trianae

5. Easter lily cactus (Echinopsis multiplex). Cactus blooms are absolutely spectacular and this one is no exception. The best part – the blooms last just 24 hours in their full glory. Why’s that the best part? Well it makes them that much more special to see, doesn’t it? However, this cactus comes with a word of caution: while not poisonous, this cactus is best kept out of reach from adventurous pets because of its tiny spines.

Easter Lily Cactus Echinopsis multiplex

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