Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Poinsettias; are They Poisonous?

Dear WBAL TV Noon News Viewers,

I got in a lot of trouble and some unwanted attention today when I said on WBAL TV, our local NBC affiliate, that poinsettias are not poisonous. I have gathered research from both Ohio State and Cornell Universities citing poinsettias' non-toxicity, but I may not have said forcefully enough that pets should be kept away from all houseplants as we often don't know how they have been treated. The link presented here was published just yesterday by a scientist from Cornell University. 6 Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe This Holiday Season does mention holiday plants that may be harmful, including mistletoe and holly.  As I mentioned in passing during the segment, I personally got sap from a Euphorbia (a poinsettia relative) and suffered for some time with an irritated eye.

I apologize to everyone who found my response to the question to be lighter than it should have been. I have had dogs and cats and am very careful to keep them away from plants that I bring into my home. The Ohio State University also cited research providing answers as to whether poinsettias are poisonous. Some sites that I have since checked do say that poinsettias have a low toxicity, including the ASPCA website on toxic plants.

I'm hoping Dr. Kim Hammond addresses the question during his pet segment on WBAL. To any of you who have additional questions or concerns on what I presented during the noon show today, feel free to email me at carrie@valleyviewfarms.com, or call the store at 410-527-0700. I am generally in from 7-3 except on Wednesdays and Thursdays. I will respond to any emails in the next few days as soon as possible.

Again, I apologize for any concern my comments have caused. I am a pet and plant enthusiast and would never place my animal's or anyone else's purposely in harm's way. We had agreed as a company at one point to not discuss plant toxicity as each situation is different, and some pets may have allergies that we are unaware of. I answered this question, often asked during my work as a garden center employee, thousands of times. Please feel free to send me any information from reputable sources that I may learn more.


Carrie Engel

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