Are Snake Plants Toxic? What You Need To Know Before Buying One

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It’s crucial to know about the good and harmful signs of snake plants before you consider buying one. Otherwise, mistakenly, it can be harmful to you.

The most asked question about snake plants is, are snake plants toxic?

Are Snake Plants Toxic

Snake Plants Toxic

While snake plants are relatively safe, they are mildly toxic to humans and pets. Their leaves contain a chemical called saponin. Ingesting the leaves can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal irritation, and numbness in the tongue and throat.

So, you can say snake plants are not totally safe for humans and animals. But they are popular and beautiful indoor plants. 

Then the query is, how can you reduce their toxicity and place them your indoors? After reading the article, you will know how to treat your snake plant indoors.  

Main Factors:

  • Snake plants are mildly toxic to humans and pets. 
  • Sansevieria trifasciata (Mother-in-law’s Tongue) is the most widely cultivated snake plant.
  • Though snake plant toxicity is generally low, it can be harmful for babies.

Types Of Snake Plants

Snake plants are a type of succulent plant. They have stiff, sword-like leaves with green and yellow stripes. They are native to tropical West Africa. 

But they are also popular as houseplants because they are easy to care for. They can also filter your indoor air. 

There are over 70 species of snake plants. Within these species, there are numerous cultivars and hybrids. 

Now I will explore most popular types of indoor snake plants: 

  • Sansevieria trifasciata (Mother-in-law’s Tongue): This is the most widely cultivated snake plant. It has flat, dark green leaves with lighter green stripes and yellow edges.
  • Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’: This is a variegated variety of the Dracaena trifasciata. It has narrow, dark green leaves with white vertical stripes and yellow margins.
  • Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Black Coral‘: This captivating variety is known for its distinct characteristics. The dark green, almost black, glossy leaves give it a sophisticated and elegant appearance.
  • Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Moonshine’: ‘Moonshine’ is a unique and attractive cultivar. The silvery-green leaves of ‘Moonshine’ set it apart from the traditional green varieties.
  • Sansevieria cylindrica (African Spear): This lush variety is also known as the African Spear or Cylindrical Snake Plant. They have cylindrical leaves that grow in a unique fan shape, while other snake plants have flat leaves. 
  • Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Hahnii’ (Bird’s Nest): This is a dwarf variety of the Dracaena trifasciata and they are also known as the bird’s nest snake plant. It has short, dark green leaves with white stripes that form a rosette shape.
  • Sansevieria masoniana (Whale Fin): People called this plant Whale Fin or Mason’s Congo. The most striking feature of this plant is its broad, paddle-shaped leaves. Their closely resembling fin gives it an uncommon and captivating appearance.
  • Sansevieria kirkii ‘Silver Blue’: Sansevieria kirkii ‘Silver Blue’ is a relatively compact variety. This cultivar typically has an upright growth habit, with the arching leaves giving it an elegant and graceful appearance.
  • Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Golden Hahnii’: The ‘Golden Hahnii’ is a smaller and more compact version of the standard snake plant. It can be a great choice for you tabletop. 
  • Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Futura Superba’: The ‘Futura Superba’ snake plant is appreciated not only for its ornamental qualities but also for its resilience and ease of care. Like other members of the Sansevieria trifasciata family, it can thrive in various light conditions, including low light. They are also known for their air-purifying abilities.
  • Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Twist’: ‘Twist’ stands out due to its twisted or contorted leaves. This quality sets it apart from the typical upright growth of other snake plant varieties.
  • Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Black Gold’: This variety is recognized for its dark green leaves with stunning gold edges. 
  • Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Starfish’: Starfish is a distinctive and charming cultivar known for its unique growth pattern and appealing characteristics. It can grow up to 2 feet tall and has a slow growth rate. 
  • Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Hahnii Jade’: The Hahnii Jade snake plant is known for its small size, making it an ideal choice for tabletops, desks, or as a decorative accent in smaller spaces. 
  • Sansevieria trifasciata ‘White Snake’: White Snake is a cultivar of the snake plant. It is a common houseplant that is native to tropical western Africa. It has narrow, dark green leaves with white vertical stripes.

These 15 are the most popular varieties of snake plants. You can choose any of these snake plant to decorate yourr room or office. 

Are Snake Plants Toxic?

Generally snake plants are comparatively safe. But their leaves contain a toxic chemical named saponin. And this chemical is mildly poisonous. 

Are Snake Plants Toxic

So it’s confirmed that snake plants are mildly toxic. 

Let’s see if snake plants are toxic to humans and animals or not:

Are snake plants toxic to humans

The shocking truth about snake plants is, they are somewhat toxic to humans. 

Their leaves have a toxic substance called saponin. If someone were to eat parts of a snake plant, like the leaves, it might lead to severe symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea as well as gastrointestinal irritation and abdominal pain. 

Are snake plants toxic to humans

Also, snake plants can be allergic to many people

So, it’s better to keep your distance from snake plants. 

Well then, are Snake Plants Toxic To Babies?

While snake plants are beautiful tropical plants that can absorb carbon dioxide and other harmful elements from the air indoors. They are toxic to babies. 

You need to keep them out of reach of babies and kids. 

Well then, are Snake Plants Toxic To Babies

Though snake plant toxicity is generally low, it can be harmful to babies. 

As snake plants contain poisonous chemical compounds, it can be a cause of skin irritation and abdominal pain.

If you have snake plants in your home, you should keep them away from babies who might nibble on them.

Are snake plants toxic to pets?

Some people become worried about their pets. They want to know, are snake plants toxic to cats? They also ask, are snake plants toxic to dogs?

Yes, snake plants are considered mildly toxic to pets, including cats and dogs. 

If your pet ingests any part of this plant, then they can suffer from various health issues. 

If you have snake plants at your home, you need to be aware of the potential risks.

Who Or What Snake Plants Are Toxic To?

Snake plants are toxic to humans and animals. Let’s see in the table who or what plants are toxic to:

OrganismToxicityPotential Symptoms
HumansMild to moderateNausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and numbness in the mouth and throat
BabiesMild to moderateSkin Irritation, Nausea and Vomiting, abdominal pain
DogsMild to moderateNausea, vomiting, and numbness in the mouth and throat
CatsMidGastrointestinal Upset, Mouth Irritation, Excessive Salivation,

There is a myth that  snakes plants attract snakes. Don’t believe that. Cause the answer is no. Despite their name, snake plants are not related to actual snakes, and they do not emit any substances or scents that would attract snakes.

Parts Of Snake Plant Which Is Toxic 

As I told you before, snake plants are toxic, but all parts of plants are not same toxic. 

Let’s see which parts are toxic of snake plants: 

  • Leaves: The leaves are the most visible and accessible part of the snake plant. Due to the presence of saponin, the leaves become toxic. Leaves contain the highest amount of saponin. 
  • Stem: The stem is the part of the snake plant that connects the leaves to the roots. The stem also contains saponin in its tissues, which is harmful for health. 
  • Flowers:  The flowers are the reproductive part of the snake plant. These flower can be white or cream-colored and have a sweet fragrance. The interesting part is flowers also contain saponin in their petals. So flowers are also harmful when ingested by someone. 
  • Berries: The berries are the fruit of the snake plant. They are small, round, and orange-red in color. They are produced rarely after the flowers are pollinated. Snake plants barriers also toxic because in their pulp and seed they contain saponin. 

Sometimes I laugh at the thought that even these poisonous plants could be harmed by something else, like spider mites on snake plants.

Sign That Your Pet Has Get Poisoned From Snake Plant

If you suspect that your pet has been poisoned by a snake plant, it’s essential to be vigilant for signs of toxicity. 

If your pets eat any part of the snake plant, they will show the following signs: 

  • Vomiting: Persistent or severe vomiting can indicate ingestion of toxic substances.
  • Diarrhoea: Diarrhoea is a common symptom of snake plant poisoning. 
  • Excessive Salivation: If your pet has been poisoned by snake plants, then their salivation will increase. 
  • Lethargy: Unusual tiredness or lethargy can be an indicator of snake plant poisoning of your pets.
  • Decreased Appetite: A sudden lack of interest in eating can suggest gastrointestinal upset of your pets.
  • Gastrointestinal Discomfort: Signs of abdominal discomfort, such as whining or discomfort when touched, is another sign of snake plant poisoning. 

If you observe any of these symptoms your pet has ingested a significant amount of a snake plant. 

What To Do If Your Pet Eat Snake Plants?

If you suspect that your pet has eaten snake plants, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. 

Then provide him details about the plant, the amount ingested, and any observed symptoms. 

Let’s know about what should you do for different pets:

Bird

If you are worried about snake plants being toxic to birds, then you should be. Cause that is surely true. If you notice your birds have eaten snake plants, first monitor for unusual behaviour. 

Remember, snake plants are not too harmful to birds. So you do not need to worry if your bird nibbles on them. 

If you see any unusual symptoms, then you can remove plant access and provide a varied diet.

Cats

Snake plants are toxic to cats because they contain saponins. This chemical compound can cause gastrointestinal irritation and hemolysis. 

If your cat eats a snake plant, you can do the following steps primarily: 

  • Firstly, make sure your cats drink a lot of water to prevent dehydration.
  • Then you have to remove any leftover bits of plant from your cat’s mouth and teeth. 
  • Finally, contact your veterinarian to get advice and treatment.

Dogs

If your dog ingests a piece of snake plant, he may develop symptoms of poisoning. 

If this happens, contact your veterinarian first. Onset of toxicity symptoms will vary depending on the amount your dog ingested. 

are snake plant toxic to dog

Drink your dong a lot of water to prevent dehydration and clean his mouth and teeth. 

Rabbit

So, Are snake plants toxic to rabbits? 

Yes.

Then use these steps to prevent their health issues:

  • Ensure your rabbit cannot access any remaining parts of the snake plant.
  • Keep a close eye on your rabbit for any signs of distress or abnormal behavior. 
  • You should call your veterinarian immediately and provide details about the situation.
  • Don’t use home remedies without veterinary guidance.

Tips To Reduce Toxicity Of Snake Plant

While snake plants are mildly toxic, there is no definitive way to reduce the toxicity of snake plants.

But you can follow some possible tips such as: 

  • Keep Out of Reach: Place your snake plants in areas that are out of reach of children and pets. 
  • Choose Pet-Friendly Alternatives: If you have pets, consider opting for indoor plants that are known to be non-toxic to animals.
  • Observe Pets and Children: Supervise pets and children around indoor plants. Discourage them from chewing or playing with the plants.
  • Use Hanging Planters: You can consider using hanging planters. This helps keep the foliage away from curious pets and small children.
  • Promptly Clean Up Fallen Leaves: If leaves from the snake plant fall, promptly clean them up to prevent accidental ingestion by your pets or children.
  • Consult with a Plant Expert: If you have concerns about the toxicity of snake plants and their impact on your household, consult with a plant expert or horticulturist for guidance.

Note: while these tips can help reduce the risk of toxicity, no plant can be considered completely non-toxic.

Tricks To Keep Pets Away From Snake Plant

Are snake plants toxic to animals?

Yes, snake plants are harmful for animals. So you should keep them away from this plant. 

In this part of article I will tell you about some tips to keep your pets away from plants such as:

  • Choose a Safe Location: Place your snake plant in an area that is less accessible to your pets. You can place them on elevated surfaces or shelves where your pets cannot easily reach.
  • Use Pet Deterrent Sprays: There are pet-safe deterrent sprays available that have a taste or smell that animals find unpleasant. So you can use this spray to keep away your pets from this poisonous plants.
  • Create Physical Barriers: You can use barriers like pet fences to keep your pets away from specific areas where your snake plants are located.
  • Training and Positive Reinforcement: You can train your pets to stay away from the snake plant by using positive reinforcement.
  • Use Pet-Friendly Plant Varieties: You can consider replacing the snake plant with pet-friendly alternatives if the issue persists. Some pet-safe indoor plants include spider plants, Boston ferns, and Areca palms.

Remember, it’s crucial to ensure that any deterrents or alternatives used are safe for your pets. Always check with your veterinarian before using any products around your pets to avoid potential harm.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Are Some Other Plants That Are Toxic?

Snake plants are mildly toxic. You should know about all the toxic plants. Some other toxic plants are Lilies, Azalea, Oleander, Dieffenbachia, and Pothos.

Are Snake Plants Toxic To Humans?

Yes, snake plants are somewhat toxic to humans. Their leaves have a toxic substance called saponin. If someone were to eat parts of a snake plant, like the leaves, it might lead to severe symptoms such as nausea, vomiting.

Can Handling Snake Plants Cause Skin Irritation?

Yes, handling snake plants can potentially cause skin irritations for some individuals. The plant’s leaves contain compounds such as saponins and oxalates, which can lead to skin reactions in sensitive individuals. 

Can Snake Plants Be Kept In Homes With Children Or Pets?

Snake plants are beautiful and beneficial houseplants, but they are also toxic to children and pets. So you should not keep your snake plants in homes with children or pets. 

Do All Species And Varieties Of Snake Plants Have The Same Level Of Toxicity?

No, not all species and varieties of snake plants have the same level of toxicity.

Conclusion

While snake plants are one of the most popular indoor plants, these incredible plants are toxic to humans and pets. 

This plant contains a harmful chemical compound named saponin. If pets or babies nibble the plants, they might lead to severe symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea as well as gastrointestinal irritation and abdominal pain. 

By following the steps that I explore in the article you can minimize the toxicity of your snake plant.

Raina Trick

Written by

Raina Trick

Meet Rayna Trick: Your Indoor Plant Whisperer! With her roots in environmental science and a passion for exotic succulents, she’s the Green Thumb of the Year. Rayna’s here to be your plant companion, sharing her expertise and nurturing your green oasis at PlantTrick. Let’s make your indoor space bloom, one leaf at a time, together!

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