Polka dot plants (Hypoestes) are neat little leafy plants; many people plant them as annuals in pots indoors and their gardens outside.
They get their name from the brightly-colored dots that adorn their leaves, but is the polka dot plant poisonous?
With any plant, you should know whether or not it’s dangerous in any way, so you know how to protect yourself, your family, and your pets against its potential danger.
Is the Polka Dot Plant Poisonous?
In general, the polka dot plant is not poisonous. It’s safe for humans, dogs, cats, horses, and even wild animals.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise care around it, though. Children and pets like to put things in their mouths, and plants are no exception to that.
While they may not experience poisoning symptoms, they may still get a bit sick if they eat any part of the polka dot plant.
On the other hand, you don’t have to worry about washing your hands or clothes or taking a full shower after handling a polka dot plant.
You also don’t have to take extra care to keep it out of children and pets’ reach.
What Parts of the Polka Dot Plant Are Poisonous?
No parts of the polka dot plant are poisonous, even mildly so. Because of that, you can quickly grow it in pots or your garden without fear of poisoning.
That makes it easy to care for, trim, and replant. One of the easiest ways to grow a new polka dot plant is to take cuttings from the top of an existing plant and put them in fresh soil during the spring and summer.
While you can do this with some toxic plants, you may have to take precautions while doing so depending on which parts of the plants are poisonous and how the poison behaves.
Because of this, the polka dot plant is an excellent alternative to plants that may seriously sicken your family or pets if they ingest them.
Related: What Plants are Toxic to Cats?
What Are the Symptoms of Poisoning?
Even though it’s non-toxic and thus, shouldn’t result in symptoms requiring medical attention, you, your children, and your pets can still experience symptoms if you ingest part of a polka dot plant.
Cats and dogs often experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea when ingesting plants. If they eat any part of the polka dot plant, they may experience these symptoms.
If you notice that your plants look chewed, keep an eye on your pets to ensure they don’t get seriously ill.
The same can happen if you or your children ingest any part of the plant. You may have to take them to the doctor (or the vet if they’re an animal) should their symptoms persist or get worse.
Finally, keep allergies in mind. If you notice a rash, itching, or swelling, or itching in the mouth or throat, get to a doctor immediately.
These are symptoms of a severe allergic reaction and require medical attention.
How to Protect Yourself While Handling the Polka Dot Plant
Since the polka dot plant is non-toxic, you want to look out for allergy symptoms, avoid ingesting any part of the plant, and wear your usual gardening gear while planting and tending it.
You should wear gloves, especially if you’re handling fertilizer as well as the plant. Avoid touching your face and eyes with your gloves on, and wash your hands and arms when you’re finished.
That way, you don’t have to worry about spreading potential allergens around or accidentally swallowing any chemicals you used to plant it.
You can feel pretty safe with a polka dot plant in your house or garden. Just follow basic safe gardening techniques, and you and your family will be fine.