Pothos,(Epipremnum aureum) or Devil’s Ivy, is a popular houseplant and outdoor plant. When seen in person, you can understand why so many people choose to decorate their homes with it.
Pothos is a vine-like plant with thick, soft leaves and exciting light and dark green patterns. The duotone colors give pothos aesthetic versatility to fit into any room of the house or office.
Its easy-care, and fantastic decor potential, make people want to bring pothos into their homes.
But what may surprise you is that pothos is not only trendy – Pothos is poisonous.
Is Pothos Poisonous and a Toxic Plant?
According to the ASPCA Pothos can be poisonous to:
- Small animals such as cats and dogs
- Larger animals such as horses
- And poisonous to humans.
So, it’s crazy that so many people are decorating with it, right? Well, not necessarily.
“The degree of toxicity often depends on several factors, such as the type of animal (cat, dog, or other species) that ingested the item; the amount ingested; and, for plants, the part ingested (bulb, leaf, or flower).” [Source]
Pothos has the potential to be hazardous to our loved ones and pets. But, it must first be digested to start causing problems.
Plus, you would need to ingest a large quantity of the Devil’s Ivy before you would pose any risk to your life.
You should be cautious in planting or decorating with pothos. But, it is not a plant you should avoid altogether.
What Part of the Pothos Plant is Toxic?
Pothos comes in several varieties, including satin, silk, jade, and golden Pothos. You can spot the differences by the color, size, and texture of the leaves.
It’s a little ironic that the most appealing aspect of the plant – the leaves – is also the source of its danger.
The leaves of the pothos plant contain fine calcium oxalate crystals. When released from the leaf, these crystals can disperse through contact and cause irritation.
Even a touch can lead to mild skin irritation, especially for the allergy-sensitive.
What Are the Symptoms of Poisoning?
It is less common for calcium oxalate to agitate your skin. But, breaking, rubbing, and chewing will lead to unpleasant and unwanted reactions.
You will feel immediate symptoms of itching, scratching, and swelling of your lips, mouth, and tongue when eating the leaves of a pothos plant.
“Poison Symptoms: Oral irritation, pain and swelling of mouth, tongue, and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting (not horses), difficulty swallowing, skin irritation, diarrhea.” [Source]
If you fully ingest the leaf, the discomfort will spread further. Leading to an upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting.
As the ingested plant matter goes down your esophagus, it will continue to itch, scratch, and swell and lead to severe breathing difficulties, loss of consciousness, and even seizures.
How To Keep Your Dog Safe
Keep in mind that it takes quite many pothos’ to cause some of these more severe reactions.
At the same time, children and small pets are more at risk because of their size and their proclivity of putting things they shouldn’t in their mouths.
Make sure to keep the toxic pothos leaves out of the mouths of your dog or cat to keep them safe and in good health. A dog ingesting pothos will experience intense burning in the mouth.
Pothos isn’t a plant that should be avoided, but it should be monitored if you have any pets or kids in the home.
Keep it up high in a hanging pot, or at least out of reach for your four-legged friends, and you should be fine.
So, is Pothos poisonous to dogs, cats, and humans? Yes, but mainly when ingested.
Should you keep it away from your house?
Only if you are already allergy-sensitive. If not, then go ahead and hang that pothos plant up and enjoy its unique look.