Succulents are popular house plants because of their unique variety, and they are relatively easy to care for. But are succulents poisonous to humans? Luckily, the majority of succulents are not. There are two types of potentially toxic succulents when touched or eaten. These are Euphorbia succulents and Kalanchoe succulents.
ARE SUCCULENTS SAFE TO HAVE IN THE HOUSE?
Yes! Most succulents are safe to have in the house. They are natural humidifiers and can combat dryness within your home. Just remember to keep them out of reach from children and pets. Especially types that have thorns/spines on them that can cause injury to the skin.
ARE SUCCULENTS POISONOUS & WHICH ONES?
Kalanchoe and Euphorbia succulents are two succulents that can be toxic to humans. Still, as a general rule with all house plants, it’s important to keep even non-toxic succulents out of reach of children and pets.
Euphorbia succulents are plants that belong to the Euphorbiaceae family. They are a flowering plant primarily found in tropical and subtropical environments and are the fourth largest genus of flowering plants and are often called spurge plants. Out of the 2,000 plus species in this family, around 1,200 are succulents. These succulents are known for their wide and fleshy leaves, flowers and for looking similar to cacti.
SIDE EFFECTS FROM EUPHORBIA SAP
These plants secrete a milky sap that can be poisonous to humans and animals. The sap is usually found on the leaves of the succulent. If someone gets it on any exposed skin, it can cause a rash. If Euphorbia sap gets into the eyes, it can result in redness and pain. So, it’s important to wear gloves and eye protection when handling Euphorbia succulents.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET EUPHORBIA SAP ON YOUR SKIN OR EYES
If you touch or get Euphorbia sap on your skin, immediately wash the area well with lots of lukewarm water. The sap is sticky and may require additional water and soap. If Euphorbia sap gets in your eye, start rinsing eye(s) with lukewarm water. It is important to call the Poison Center for more instructions with any plant exposure.
Kalanchoe succulents are usually in florist shops or garden centers in cute pots. They produce a tiny cluster of flowers that usually have one large bloom above the stem. The large leaves on kalanchoe succulents are usually a vibrant dark green. As many as 125 different species of this type of plant are available.
SIDE EFFECTS FROM INGESTING KALANCHOE SUCCULENTS
Most varieties of the Kalanchoe plant cause only possible nausea and vomiting when eaten. There are a few varieties of Kalanchoe that have a naturally occurring poison that can affect the heart. This has been seen in grazing cattle and some animal research, but human poisoning is not expected.
WHAT TO DO IF SOMEONE EATS A PIECE OF KALANCHOE SUCCULENT
If you or someone else has ingested a piece of Kalanchoe succulent, wipe the mouth with a soft towel and drink some water. Give the Poison Center a call to talk with a specialist in poison information to discuss possible symptoms. If your pet has ingested a piece of a kalanchoe plant, call your veterinarian right away or seek assistance from an animal poison center.
MY CHILD ATE A PIECE OF SUCCULENT — NOW WHAT?
In most cases, succulents are low-risk plants to have in the home. But as with many plants, some cannot be digested well and can cause vomiting or stomach upset even if they are not considered poisonous. It is important to know if the succulent that your child ate or got sap on their skin is either a Euphorbia plant or a Kalanchoe plant. If they got sap on their skin, wash the area with soap and water right away, and watch for any sign of a rash. If they ate a piece of the plant, wipe out their mouth with a soft towel and give them a glass of water.
For any questions or concerns, you may have about someone getting sap on their skin or eating a piece of the flower or leaf from a succulent, call the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222. Specially trained nurses and pharmacists are available 24/7/365 to answer questions. The service is free and confidential.