Guide to Toxic Spring Plants

Birds are chirping, butterflies are fluttering, flowers are blooming – Springtime is here! This time of year is known for its symbolism of rebirth and new life, but this season can also become a time of loss if you are not aware of the toxic plants growing in your backyard. Especially if you’re using this time to plant your dream garden or spruce up your outdoor space, as a pet owner it’s important to know which plants could potentially harm your companion. Here’s your quick guide to toxic spring plants:


This flowering plant is commonly pink, red or white and has burgundy markings. It is known by many other names, such as Belladonna lily, Saint Joseph lily, Cape Belladonna and Naked Lady. It is toxic to both dogs and cats. Signs that your pet has consumed an Amaryllis plant are depression, abdominal pain, vomiting, tremors, hypersalivation and diarrhea.


There are many varieties of daylilies with colors ranging from yellow to purple to pink, but all are toxic to cats. Oddly enough, day lilies are not toxic to dogs. All parts of this plant are toxic to cats, even small portions. If your cat has consumed a daylily, it can result in kidney failure.


This plant, also known as monkey grass, looks a lot like long grass and is found in many southern yards. Though it is part of the lily family, monkey grass is toxic to both cats and dogs. However, symptoms are minor and include stomachache and nausea/vomiting.

Asparagus Fern

Asparagus ferns are evergreen herbs that contain red berries and are often hung on porches in baskets. This plant has many other common names: Emerald Feather, Sprengeri Fern, Asparagus, Emerald Fern, Lace Fern, Shatavari, Plumosa Fern, Racemose Asparagus. Asparagus is toxic to both dogs and cats. Symptoms include gastric upset (stomachache, diarrhea, vomiting) with berry ingestion.

Sago Palms

Sago Palms, also known as cycads, Coontie Palm, Cardboard Palm and zamias, are year-round plants. This plant is toxic to dogs and cats. Symptoms of toxic consumption include hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, increased thirst, vomiting, icterus, melena, liver damage, coagulopathy, bruising, liver failure and even death.


These white or yellow six-petal flowers are also known as Jonquil, Paper White and Daffodil. This plant is toxic to both cats and dogs. The bulbs of these plants are the most poisonous parts to pets. Clinical signs of poisoning are diarrhea, vomiting and salvation. If a large amount is consumed, low blood pressure, convulsions, cardiac arrhythmias and tremors can occur.


Tulips are six-petaled flowers that have colors ranging from peach to lavender to yellow. These plants are poisonous to dogs and cats with the most toxic part being the blub. Symptoms include depression, hypersalivation, vomiting and diarrhea. Since tulips are grown both indoors and outdoors, it is important to keep these potted plants out of reach of your pets.

Elephant Ears

As suggested by the name, elephant ears are huge, elephant ear-like leaves that can grow up to 6 feet long. Elephant ears, also known as Pai, Via, Caladium, Taro, Ape, Via sori, Cape and Malanga, are toxic to dogs and cats. If consumed, intense burning and oral irritation, excessive drooling, difficulty in swallowing and vomiting may occur.

Whether your pets are outdoors or indoors, it is advised to keep them away from plants and place potted, indoor plants out of reach to avoid possible poisoning. If you suspect your pet has consumed a toxic plant, please contact your local emergency vet or the ASPCA 24-hour poison hotline at 1-888-426-4435.

Augusta Animal Emergency: (706) 733-7458

South Carolina Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Care: (803) 561-0015

Disclaimer: The SPCA Albrecht Center is not an emergency Veterinary Care Center.

An Aiken native and self-proclaimed cat lady, Claire Grimes is the SPCA Albrecht Center’s Communications Director. She attended College of Charleston, where she graduated with a degree in Nonprofit Business and interned with Charleston Animal Society, the leader in No-Kill South Carolina. Her family includes her husband, Logan, adopted black lab Ozzy, and two always-hungry kitties, Anakin and Luna (plus, in spirit, her late pup Sophie).

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