Are Orchids Poisonous?

Orchids are beautiful and add a touch of elegance to any room. People love to have them in the home and grow them in the garden. Orchids are one of the largest families of flowering plants, and they come in many different colors and sizes. They are fragrant and long-lasting. However, people want to know if they are poisonous. 

Most orchids are not poisonous, but they can cause an upset stomach if they are eaten. There are more than 30,000 different hybrid varieties of this plant, and it is safe to have any that have been studied. The most common varieties are considered not to be poisonous or toxic to people or their pets. 

Related: When Are Orchids In Season?

Are Orchids Poisonous to People?

Orchids are not poisonous to people. Many orchid varieties have been studied and shown to be safe, including the most commonly available ones. Phalaenopsis orchids are one of the favorites, and they have been tested and found not to contain any toxins or poisons. Another variety, Dendrobiums, are thought to have medicinal properties and are served as a garnish with Hawaiian and Thai foods. 

Most of the common orchids are not harmful if you eat them, but the slipper orchid has been shown to cause stomach pain, headaches, and vomiting if someone eats a large amount of it. If you have a small child and they eat this type of orchid, you should call your pediatrician to ask for advice. That said, it takes a significant amount of the orchid to cause this reaction unless the child has an allergy. 

Are Orchids Poisonous to Dogs and Cats?

Orchids are not poisonous to dogs or to cats. In fact, the ASPCA has declared that they are not toxic to dogs or cats, and they are considered a safe houseplant to have. The danger can come if the orchid has been sprayed with pesticides, as they can have a toxic effect on pets. In addition, be careful about the potting soil and fertilizers you are using, as they can be toxic. 

Purple orchids
Yay Purple orchids

Although most orchids are safe, the lady slipper orchid can cause skin irritation or a rash that is similar to poison ivy. Blue orchids can pose a threat to your dog because they are dyed blue, and the dye is mildly toxic. 

You should avoid using Redwood in your potting mix because it is considered to be an irritant that can cause lung and eye allergies. Fertilizers and pesticides that are made with chemicals can also be harmful to your pets, so make sure that you only use petsafe products and materials in your home. 

If your dog or cat ingests fertilizer, signs of poisoning include the following:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain

Are Orchids Poisonous to Livestock?

The ASPCA has declared that orchids are not poisonous to horses, to goats, to sheep, or to chickens. Even if these animals eat a few leaves or a flower, they will be okay. The roots, leaves, and flowers are considered edible and nontoxic. If you have orchids growing in your yard, these animals can live safely with them. 

As is true of small pets, you need to make sure that you aren’t using toxic pesticides or chemical-based fertilizers. These types of gardening products are toxic and unsafe for animals. If your livestock eats plants covered in pesticides, they can have symptoms, such as increased salivation, drooling, lack of coordination, and muscle tremors. 

As long as you use fertilizers without chemicals in them, they won’t harm your animals. However, some fertilizers contain ammonium nitrate, which can be toxic. It causes irritation to the lungs and skin. If you use pesticides or chemical fertilizers in your garden, you should make sure that your livestock and poultry are unable to access it. 

Are Orchids Poisonous to Wild Animals?

Orchids are not poisonous to deer. They are not toxic to any wild animals, but you rarely have to worry because most wild animals have good instincts about what is safe to eat. They normally won’t eat something toxic unless they are starving. 

Orchids are considered resistant to deer, so they will rarely choose to eat them unless they have no other options. However, any deer that is hungry enough will eat anything. Wild rabbits will eat your orchids, but they won’t be harmed by it. However, you may want to use deterrents to keep rabbits out of your garden. 

What to Do If Your Pets Eat an Orchid Plant

Although orchids aren’t poisonous to people or animals, it isn’t a good idea to eat them. There are some edible variations, but pets can have a reaction if they ingest too much. Dogs and cats are carnivores, and they also eat some plants. However, it is a very small part of their diet. Eating too many orchids can cause symptoms. 

If you are concerned about your pet, look for the following symptoms:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy

You should contact your vet if any animal is showing these signs. It may not have been the orchid, especially if you have used chemical fertilizer or pesticides. Wild animals are safer because they have pretty good instincts about what is safe to eat. Your domesticated animals don’t have the same instincts, so it is best to be cautious.

How to Prevent Pets From Eating Orchids

You may want to prevent your pets from eating your orchids so that you can enjoy them. If you sprinkle cinnamon or cayenne pepper over the leaves, your pets will reconsider. These herbs have a bitter taste, and your cat or dog will back away once they smell it. You can also place your orchids in places where your pets are less likely to come in contact with them. 

When your pets eat your plants, they are usually curious. If it doesn’t taste bad, they can make a habit out of it. The best deterrent is misting your orchids and other houseplants with something that tastes bitter and encourages your pets to find something else.