Poisonous Plants to Avoid in Florida

Many types of plants and flowers thrive in our sub-tropical climate. If you are a gardener who loves to stock your yard and property with beautiful and exotic flora, you have a wide range of options to choose from.  However, some of the most popular plants which are found in Sarasota flower beds do harbor a bit of a dark side – they can be toxic to both humans and pets.

Here is a guide to some of the plants we love, but have to be wary of.

Poisonous Flowers

  • Oleander:This popular shrub can grow to an impressive size, spreading out up to 12 feet wide and reaching 20 feet tall. It’s smooth, skinny leaves may be white, pink, yellow and red, and add beautiful color to your flower bed. All parts of the oleander plant are toxic, although the worst poisoning is due to chewing on the leaves – so it is obviously a bigger threat to your pets. However, humans may experience skin irritation simply from touching the plant. Stomach cramps, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, seizures and a slow heart rate are signs of oleander poisoning.
  • Caladiums (shown in photo): These plants are very popular for both residential and commercial foliage plants. They exhibit large, colorful leaves which are often more than a foot in length. The leaves, stems and roots of the plant are toxic, and can cause immediate pain and burning on the lips, mouth or throat. Some people also experience slurring of speech.
  • Lantana: This evergreen shrub showcases smal.l bunches of vibrant flowers, usually in red, orange or yellow shades. The bush will grow to about 5 foot tall and blooms throughout the summer and autumn months. Much like the oleander plant, ingesting any part of the lantana plant can cause labored breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, fever and seizures.<li?
  • Poinsettia: This popular Christmas plant can also be a beautiful accent plant. Although you may be used to seeing these shrubs in pots, when grown outdoors they can reach over 10 feet tall. The brightly colored “flowers” are actually leaves (known as bracts) which can cause skin irritation, nausea and diarrhea. These plants are also notoriously dangerous for pets.

Poisonous Weeds and Fungus

While plenty of flowers are toxic, there are also poisonous native weeds and fungus which you should be aware of in order to keep your yard safe. Some of the more prolific plants include:

  • Poison Ivy: The quintessential poisonous plant, this shrub warns you about the danger t poses right in its name. The trailing vines are identified with its clusters of three leaves, usually with a reddish tinge and oily looking surface. Most people are aware of the miserable rash, itching, swelling and blisters which poison ivy initiates; te plant is also poisonous if swallowed. Some people are so allergic to this plant that walking too close to it can cause irritation.
  • Wild Mushrooms: It is nearly impossible for the typical Florida homeowner to distinguish between safe mushrooms and toxic mushrooms – therefore it is best to avoid all of them. The worst of these mushrooms can cause hallucinations, renal failure or death. Although most people won’t eat mushrooms out of their yard. your pets might – and could suffer nausea or vomiting even in mild cases.

If you or your pet mistakenly ingest any of these plants, or are experiencing an adverse reaction to skin contact, call poison control immediately.

If you are looking at landscaping your yard,  Big Earth Landscape Supply has the mulch, fertilizers, and even decorative pots which will make it easy. Stop by one of our 4 locations, or shop online. We’ll hep you make your yard the envy of the neighborhood.