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Top 8 Poisonous Plants to Avoid in Your Garden

Although there are some plants that we can distinguish as dangerous, others will not be easy to tell. They have beautiful scents and colorful flowers on them and produce attractive berries.

Such plants we tend to allow to grow in our gardens, not knowing they are poisonous.

Confusion is likely to happen in identifying the safe plant from the poisonous ones. In this article, we will talk about the top 8 poisonous plants to avoid in the garden.

So, without wasting any time, let’s get straight into it.

Poisonous Plants to Avoid in Your Garden

Here’s the list of 8 poisonous plants that (if you want) you can avoid planting in your garden.

1.      Poison Ivy

These plants are not that dangerous; you find them everywhere.

How to identify poison ivy is very simple; they have a sticky, long-lasting oil—generally referred to as the Urushiol.

“The oil is responsible for the itchiness and blistering rashes when the skin comes into contact with them. You will not experience the impacts immediately after you get brushed, but after 24–72 hours is when all the effects will start showing up.”

  • If you are handling Poison ivy and you know or suspect you are allergic, you should take a shower as soon as possible because the oil is readily transferred from clothing and other surfaces.
  • If you come into contact with the Poison ivy, immediately wash the site with lukewarm soapy water.
  • You can also use rubbing alcohol to remove the oil.

Once the oil is removed, the reaction will stop.

Poison ivy leaves—poisonous plants to avoid in your garden.
Poisonous plants to avoid in your garden—Poison Ivy—Image via JamesDeMers.

2.     Lily of the Valley

Lily of the valley is a common plant you will likely encounter in your garden.

It is very hard to tell if it’s a poisonous plant since it’s hard to get a poisonous plant with a sweet scent and delicate white bell flowers.

“Lily of the valley is a poisonous plant, and you should avoid it at any possible cost. The plant has toxic cardiac glycosides in its leaves, berries, stems, and flowers.”

The plant will not harm you when you get into contact, but things will go south if you accidentally eat it.

  • If you eat it, you will start experiencing vomiting, skin rashes, abnormal heart heartbeat, blurry vision, drowsiness, and disorientation.
  • The deadly plant generally likes to spread under trees and shrubs.
  • They grow well under damp and dry shade; such an environment makes them handy for ground cover.

After flowering, the plants produce attractive red seed pods.

Late spring is filled with the wonderful scent of lily of the valley—poisonous plants to avoid in your garden.
Poisonous plants to avoid in your garden—Lily of the Valley—Image via Jeffrey Hamilton.

3.     Foxglove

Foxgloves are lovely plants with flowers that look like gloves.

The plant is very beautiful, and that is the reason why it is grown as an ornamental plant. The plant blooms in the second year of planting and dies after that. The plant is poisonous, and you need to take care not to consume it.

  • Eating the plant can cause vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.
  • Also, it can disrupt the heart’s normal rhythm, which can be fatal.

It is advisable to take caution when handling the plant if you have any open wounds on your skin.

Purple flowers of Foxglove in tilt shift—poisonous plants to avoid in your garden.
Poisonous plants to avoid in your garden—FoxgloveImage via Joyce G.

4.     Oleander

It is a plant that thrives very well under the sun; the plant itself is very tough.

The plant contains a variety of beautiful flowers of every color. It doesn’t need fertile soil to grow, as it will thrive in poor soils, acidic soils, and even in the salty coastal environment.

Oleander is a poisonous plant; immediately after you get brushed by the foliage, you start experiencing the effects. Irritation is the common effect of these plants; try wearing gloves and long sleeves while pruning them to avoid contact with them.”

Additionally, you need to wash your hands immediately after the process carefully.

The plant is dangerous to humans and animals; eating even a small amount can lead to death. It would be best if you avoid keeping this plant in your garden.

Photograph of an Nerium oleander in an garden—poisonous plants to avoid in your garden.
Poisonous plants to avoid in your garden—OleanderImage via Alen Rojnic.

5.      Deadly Nightshade

Deadly nightshade is a plant that animals and birds can eat, but we cannot—as it is specifically poisonous to Homo sapiens.

The plant produces shiny black cherry-like berries, which are unsuitable for human consumption as they contain poison.

  • Once you’ve eaten the berries, pupil dilation, convulsions, increased heartbeats, paralysis of the gastrointestinal muscles, and the heart can occur.
  • Also, it is not all about consuming it, as even contact with the skin will lead to irritation.
  • Deadly nightshade is not cultivated in the garden, but you will likely see it in places where the soil has been dug or disturbed.

Removing the plant immediately after you see it in your garden is advisable.

Atropa belladonna aka deadly nightshade—poisonous plants to avoid in your garden.
Poisonous plants to avoid in your garden—Deadly NightshadeImage via Agnieszka Kwiecień.

6.     Rhododendron

Rhododendron is a popular ornamental shrub in the garden; it has a vast range of flowers, and its scents are lovely.

They grow very well in acidic soils. The plant can grow up to 20 m high, and they have leathery evergreen leaves.

  • The plant is poisonous, and eating any part of the plant can lead to vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea.
  • Chewing the leaves can numb the tongue and lips.

If you take a lot of it, it can result in a coma or even death.

Rhododendron bush—poisonous plants to avoid in your garden.
Poisonous plants to avoid in your garden—RhododendronImage via Yoksel Zok.

Related Article: Hydrangea vs Rhododendron – Two Breathtaking Bloomers of All the Times

7.      Azalea

Azalea is a beautiful shrub; it has gorgeous flowers and is very tough. It doesn’t need much to grow, and it can even grow in poor soils.

The plant is poisonous, and you need to take care not to consume it.

  • If you do, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain.
  • Also, it can disrupt the heart’s normal rhythm, which can be fatal.

It is advisable to take caution when handling the plant if you have any open wounds on your skin.

Pink azalea flowers—poisonous plants to avoid in your garden.
Poisonous plants to avoid in your garden—AzaleaImage via Tina Xinia.

8.     Laburnum

This plant is also known as the Golden rain tree; it is a stunning plant with beautiful yellow flowers.

The plant is poisonous, and you need to take care not to consume it. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain.

Laburnum can be found in many gardens as an ornamental plant. It is advisable to take caution when handling the plant if you have any open wounds on your skin.

Laburnum plant flowers—poisonous plants to avoid in your garden.
Poisonous plants to avoid in your garden—LaburnumImage via Manfred Richter.

That was all about the poisonous plants to avoid in your garden. On that note, let’s head towards the conclusion.


Conclusion

In a nutshell, not every plant that grows in your garden is good for you or your animals, be careful with what you allow animals to eat and what you touch and consume.

Some plants are poisonous; despite the irritation impacts on the skin, some can even cause death. Therefore, you should always refrain from planting these toxic plants in your garden.

Stay happy, stay safe.

Regards,
Happy planting.