The zebra plant is a popular houseplant native to the Brazilian tropics. It has oval leaves with pointy tips.
It also boasts of its bright, emerald green foliage adorned with striking white to cream-colored veins. The glossy texture of the zebra plant’s leaves makes it look even more appealing.
However, it seems that humans aren’t the only ones drawn to this radiant plant’s charm. The zebra plant is irresistible to curious pets as well. At times, they find munching the plant’s leaves quite satisfying.
So, are zebra plants toxic?
Thankfully, these plants are non-toxic for both humans and pets. Despite that, they can be a choking hazard and can trigger allergic reactions.
The answer is no. The zebra plant, also known as Aphelandra squarrosa, isn’t toxic to humans and pets, as confirmed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
This makes zebra plants perfect plants to keep in your home and around your pets, whether as decorative elements or mood boosters.
Apart from being pleasant and refreshing to the eyes, zebra plants also help purify indoor air.
Despite being non-poisonous, the zebra plant can be a choking hazard, especially to toddlers and small pets like cats.
Additionally, ingesting the plant’s leaves can induce vomiting or cause gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea, stomachache, and indigestion.
Follow these safe and effective techniques to keep your pets and small children away from your plant:
Putting your plants in a place that both pets and children can’t access is important. You can put your zebra plant in a hanging pot or display them in a higher place, like the top rack of a display shelf.
Pets hate citrus scents, so spraying your plant with a lemon juice solution can help deter them. You can also add citrus fruit peelings to your plant.
An over-the-counter pet spray is good if you don’t want to improvise with homemade solutions. Always opt for pet repellents with all-natural and safe ingredients.
Pets usually nibble your plants out of boredom, so keeping them entertained helps divert their attention. You can give pets chew toys or balls they can play with.
While it’s not poisonous to humans and pets, a zebra plant is a potential skin irritant. Coming into contact with its sap can cause redness or itchiness to the skin.
Given that fact, it’s essential to know how to handle this plant properly to prevent adverse skin reactions.
Pruning and propagating your zebra plants are two ways to come into contact with its sap. Follow these safety precautions to prevent skin irritation:
- Use disinfected pruning shears or scissors to cut plant stems or leaves.
- Wear gardening gloves to protect your skin.
- Avoid touching your face while trimming your plants.
- Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after handling plants.
Zebra plants are delicate houseplants that are safe for both humans and pets. Despite being non-poisonous, however, ingesting a zebra plant leaf causes adverse effects like vomiting and gastrointestinal problems.
Moreover, zebra plants can cause skin irritation through their sap, so it’s best to use gardening gloves to prevent skin contact when pruning.
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.