Cyclamen flowers are delicate indoor plants that can make your home a little more merry. Yet, you’ve probably heard that these colorful, fascinating flowers might be toxic to humans and pets.
So, you’re probably wondering if that’s true and whether or not you can safely grow cyclamen inside your house.
Don’t fret! I’ll answer all your questions in this article, so keep reading to find out if these flowers are showing their true color.
All parts of cyclamen are toxic to humans. Not only that, but ingesting small doses as low as 300 mg can cause stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting.
Additionally, it causes diarrhea and excessive loss of fluids.
Sadly, higher doses can be more serious, causing spasms and breathing problems.
Of course, adults won’t go for plants as a dinner meal. However, cyclamen might pose a problem if you have young children at home.
Children at a young age use their mouths as a way of exploring and making sense of the world around them. Whatever they can grab, they’ll want to taste.
So, having a toxic plant in your house is a bad idea. Besides, there are tons of safe plants you can go for, and many of them are as beautiful as cyclamen.
Although cyclamen flowers are incredibly beautiful, you shouldn’t let their beauty fool you. These plants contain triterpenoid saponins, which are poisonous to humans, cats, and dogs.
The way these compounds work is by acting as cytotoxic agents. In simpler terms, they directly kill body cells by preventing their proliferation.
For this reason, you should reconsider growing this flower if you have kids or pets in your house. Alternatively, you might want to keep your cyclamen flowers out of reach, as they’re only toxic when ingested.
So, putting your cyclamen in a closed room that your pets or children can’t open is a good idea.
Unfortunately, all parts of cyclamen flowers contain triterpenoid saponins. So, ingesting any part of the plant will be harmful.
In addition, the tubers, which are underground parts, contain the largest amount of the toxin. On the bright side, your pet has to eat a lot of tubers to be in a life-threatening situation.
In most cases, cats and dogs only chew the flowers and leaves.
This doesn’t mean you should let your pets or children munch on the aerial parts of the plan, though! Even a small amount of the saponins can result in unwanted adverse effects.
Clinical symptoms of cyclamen toxicity in pets can vary depending on the ingested dose. Here are some of the symptoms associated with low-dose toxicity:
- Reduced Appetite
Sadly, with higher doses of triterpenoid saponins, the symptoms get worse, especially in cases of tuber ingestion. High doses of the toxin can lead to arrhythmias, abnormal heartbeats, seizures, and death.
All cyclamen species are toxic to rabbits. In fact, these flowers are life-threatening to rabbits.
That’s because these fuzzy animals won’t be able to get rid of the toxin through regular methods. Generally, rabbits are physically incapable of vomiting.
So, not only won’t you be able to tell if they’re sick, but you also can’t induce vomiting to clear out the toxin from their digestive system.
Accordingly, if your rabbit ingests a small amount of cyclamen, you should take your furry friend to the vet as soon as possible.
Yes. Cyclamen is extremely toxic to horses, but it’s not a particularly high threat. This plant is generally used indoors and in gardens, so it’s unlikely that your horse will come into contact with it.
On top of that, cyclamen isn’t appealing to equines, which means you have nothing to worry about.
Still, you know your animal best, so if your horse is curious and loves exploring, it’s best to avoid growing this plant.
Unfortunately, your pet might eat cyclamen without you noticing. In addition, if you have more than one plant, you probably won’t be able to spot eaten parts.
Of course, the safest thing is to avoid growing cyclamen. However, in case you didn’t know it’s a toxic plant, here’s how to tell if your pet needs help:
The problem with cats is that they tend to hide signs of pain, even if the condition is severe. Still, they won’t be able to hide symptoms like drooling and vomiting.
You might also notice that your cat has some mouth irritation. In that case, contact your vet as soon as possible to determine if the situation calls for a visit.
Some dogs drool a lot, which means you won’t be able to rely on this symptom to confirm the ingestion. Alternatively, you can tell when your dog isn’t feeling okay when he’s being vocal.
Your dog might also vomit and have diarrhea as a result of eating cyclamen.
If your cat or dog ate any parts of a cyclamen plant, you should immediately contact a vet. Your vet will give your little friend activated charcoal, which binds to the toxin to make it easier for the body to get rid of it.
The medication also helps protect your pet’s GI tract from the direct effects of cyclamen.
The vet might give your pet some medications to ease the rough symptoms of toxicity. If your pup or kittie is seriously dehydrated from diarrhea and vomiting, the vet will provide them with IV fluids to rehydrate them.
Generally, if they eat a small amount of flowers or leaves, they’ll end up with an upset stomach and mouth irritation. So, it won’t be life-threatening, and they typically recover within 24 hours.
Until you visit a vet, you can rinse your pet’s mouth with water to reduce the irritation. It’s also best to remove any food or water from your pet’s plate to allow the stomach to settle down.
After visiting your vet, they’ll probably recommend giving your pet small amounts of food and water for a day to avoid excessive vomiting. You can go back to normal meals once your little friend has fully recovered and is no longer vomiting.
Although it comes with many safety concerns, some people administer cyclamen to treat digestion problems. Additionally, some women take cyclamen for menstrual disorders.
However, even at small doses, cyclamen is unsafe for use by mouth.
On the other hand, cyclamen in the form of nose spray is possibly safe to treat a condition called rhinosinusitis. Still, you should never administer cyclamen without consulting your doctor.
For some people, touching cyclamen sap is enough to trigger a skin rash and allergic reaction.
For others, touching any part of the plant can lead to dermatitis and various skin reactions. So, if you have a baby who loves exploring and touching everything, growing cyclamen is a bad idea.
So, is cyclamen toxic to cats, dogs, and humans?
The answer is yes. Cyclamen contains triterpenoid saponins, which are toxic to pets and humans.
At low doses, your pet might suffer from symptoms like drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea. At high doses, the toxins cause more severe symptoms, like spasms and difficulty breathing.
Unfortunately, ingesting a high dose of cyclamen might be life-threatening for pets. That’s why you should reconsider growing this plant if you have any pets, especially curious ones who love exploring.
The same thing applies if you have kids. Although cyclamen is only toxic to humans at high doses, you shouldn’t grow one while having a baby roaming around the house.
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.