If you wonder: are African violets poisonous? The answer is no.
Your exquisite African violets aren’t poisonous plants for humans or pets. So, you can safely touch and smell them.
However, it’s not to say African violets are safe to eat, as munching on them could lead to digestive upset.
In this post, we’ll delve into all the details you need to know about the toxicity of African violets. So, let’s get to it!
African violets aren’t poisonous to humans, whether adults or children. That said, letting your child touch or eat any houseplant is never a good idea.
This is because some people have a sensitivity to the plant’s hairy leaves or sap. Worse still, children can choke when chowing down on some plant parts, especially the leaves.
In addition, a lot of fuzz-covered plants may cause skin irritation.
Moreover, using high amounts of insecticide or concentrated fertilizers on your African violets can change their docile nature entirely.
If your violets fall into that category, they can definitely be poisonous after all. As a result, keeping these plants out of your curious children’s reach is necessary.
If you suffer from allergies or asthma, it might be best to avoid keeping African violets at home. These plants have feathery leaves that can attract dust and pollen more than glossy leaves.
For this reason, these violets can be problematic for people with allergies or asthma.
This is because exposure to pollen and dust can cause unpleasant symptoms like sneezing, watery eyes, and runny noses.
There is a long list of edible violet plants like white, blue, and purple ones. However, African violets aren’t on this list.
The reason might be surprising: African violets don’t belong to the Violaceae family despite their name and look.
Instead, they’re a part of the Gesneriaceae family.
So, these violets aren’t considered edible, either for humans or pets. Although their leaves aren’t toxic, they aren’t intended for consumption as a food source.
The digestive system of a human and most pets will react to them defensively. This is because they’re strange substances to the stomach.
After eating them, it’s highly probable to experience digestive upset or other health issues. This is especially true if you consume them in large quantities.
According to the ASPCA, African violets aren’t toxic to cats. If a cat touches, smells, or even ingests them in small quantities, they shouldn’t cause any harm.
However, an African violet can turn into a poisonous plant for cats with the overuse of pesticide sprays or systemic insecticides. So, it’s essential to keep the use of these additives to a minimum.
Seeing that, if a cat decides to snack on an African violet and it happens to contain a lot of insecticides or artificial fertilizers, she might get poisoned.
So, you should carefully monitor your feline for any strange symptoms.
If you notice one or more unusual signs, you should urgently contact your vet or the Animal Poison Control center. The symptoms include:
- Lethargic behavior
- Loss of appetite
- Pawing at the mouth or nose
Even without insecticides, a cat may experience health issues when eating African violets. Since cats are carnivores, their digestive system has a hard time processing these plants.
Due to eating such food in large quantities, a cat may suffer from digestive issues. Such problems may include drooling, diarrhea, and vomiting.
In most cases, African violets don’t cause any allergies to cats.
Still, sometimes when a cat tries to eat the plant, the fuzzy prickles on the stem might irritate the soft tissues of the cat’s mouth and throat.
Cats might eat plants like African violets out of curiosity but usually don’t do it repetitively.
However, if your cat keeps eating plants, she might have a condition called PICA. When a cat experiences PICA, she’ll have the tendency to consume a variety of non-edible items, not just plants.
This may extend from clothes and shoes to plastic bags and empty water bottles.
Deficiencies in dietary requirements or psychological factors like stress can cause this condition. If your kitty shows signs of suffering from PICA, it’s crucial to visit your vet to start treatment.
Here are a few tips to keep your feline friend away from your plants:
One solution is keeping the cat out of any rooms that house your African violets.
To do this, you can create a designated closed area for the plants. This way, you can have a plant zone that’s unreachable by your cats.
You can place the plant pot on a high shelf to prevent your cat from reaching it.
Still, you should remember that kitties are talented climbers. So, It’s important to ensure that your cat doesn’t have access to any nearby furniture that she could use to climb and reach her target.
An excellent strategy to keep the cat away from your violets is to distract her using other plants. To do that, place a group of cat-safe plants around the violets.
The best choice for this mission is cat grass. This grass is a highly safe option if your cat wants to satisfy her desire to chew on plants.
Other alternatives are catnip, silver vine, and cat thyme.
Cats hate the sound, feel, and texture of aluminum foil. So, an area protected with this material is an undesirable space for them.
Thus, you can keep your kitty far from the plants by wrapping their pots with aluminum foil.
Cats have a strong sense of smell. Considering that, you may use a cat-safe repellent spray like Nature’s Mace to prevent them from approaching an indoor plant.
Spray this non-toxic product on the plants and their surrounding area to create an unpleasant smell for your cat.
Further, if you keep your African violets outdoors, a product like Bonide outdoor repellent can be a better choice. Similar to Nature’s Mace usage, sprinkle Bonide on the plant and the area around it to prevent your cat from reaching it.
Alternatively, you can spread citrus peels, cayenne pepper, or diluted citrus oil around the plant to get the same result.
Just make sure to avoid using citrus extracts, as they aren’t safe for your feline.
African violets aren’t poisonous to dogs. So, neither touching these plants nor smelling them will harm your pup.
This is true if you haven’t exposed your houseplants to fertilizers and insecticides. However, if your dog gets enticed by the plants’ pretty colors and decides to have a taste, things can go wrong.
If consumed in large amounts, the sap of African violets could cause your dog a temporary upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, or cramping. More importantly, fertilizers and insecticides on these plants may cause severe health issues.
As a result, if you notice any unusual symptoms in your dog after approaching, eating, or touching an African violet, keep an eye on him.
Contact your vet instantly if the dog is suffering from diarrhea, vomiting, excessive salivation, tiredness, or panting.
When it’s time to visit the vet, it would be helpful to take a sample of both the plant and the soil it was grown in. This can help the vet determine the best way to treat your dog.
Plus, if you’re aware of any fertilizers used on the plants, letting the vet know about them will be helpful, too.
Here are some suggestions to help keep your dog safe from any potential harm that African violets might cause:
You can use training, especially positive reinforcement, to teach the dog that the area around the plants is off-limits.
To do this, say “No” to your pup when he gets close to your houseplants. When he performs your command and gets away from them, reward him with treats, praise words, or a walk.
Gradually, your dog will link the behavior of approaching the plants with negative feelings. That way, he’ll soon start to avoid going there.
Place your plants on a high stand or put them on hanging planters to keep them away from your dog.
That way, your pup won’t be able to munch on the plants.
To deter your doggo from eating your plants, try spraying diluted lemon juice or vinegar on them.
Dogs dislike the taste of lemon, so they stay away from it. Still, if your pet is an exception, you may need to try vinegar instead.
Be sure to pick the white type when using vinegar, as other types may negatively affect the plant’s health.
African violets aren’t safe for rabbits to eat. Similar to humans, rabbits can only safely eat violets that belong to the Violaceae family.
Plus, African violets’ fuzzy leaves may cause abdominal discomfort and gassiness in rabbits.
So, again, it’s necessary to keep your violets out of these pets’ reach. It’s worth mentioning that if your rabbit consumes these plants, he might not show any severe symptoms right away.
However, you may notice some unusual behavior a few hours later, like:
- Loss of appetite
- Unusual postures
Here are a few suggestions to help you keep your rabbit away from the plants:
- Place the plants on high shelves or tables that your rabbit can’t access.
- Encircle the plants with a physical barrier, such as a fence.
- Surround the plants with onions, as the smell of onions is known to be unpleasant to rabbits.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of Lysol and 1 gallon of water and spray your African violets with this mixture.
- Sprinkle dried sulfur around the plants.
Are African violets poisonous?
No, African violets aren’t toxic to humans or pets, including cats, dogs, and rabbits.
While it’s generally safe to touch or smell the plant, consuming large quantities of African violets can lead to trouble in the digestive system. In addition, if you’ve treated the plant with fertilizers or insecticides, eating it can cause severe illness symptoms.
That said, it’s important to take precautions to keep children and pets safe.
Further, If you notice any unusual symptoms in your pet after approaching African violets, you have to contact a vet. You may also reach the Animal Poison Control center for guidance.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.