Are peace lilies toxic to babies?
The peace lily, a common household plant, contains small, insoluble calcium oxalate crystals that can cause immediate mouth and throat irritation if chewed or swallowed, as described in Poison Control.
What are peace lilies?
The peace lily (Spathiphyllum) is a popular household plant that is characterized by glossy, dark green, oval leaves, and a prominent large white spathe surrounding miniature flowers. In North America, the most common species include:
- Spathiphyllum wallesii (Mauna Loa peace lily)
- Spathiphyllum commutatum(Bischerad)
- Spathiphyllum clevelandii (white Anthurium)
- Spathiphyllum floribundum(snow flower)
Is the peace lily plant toxic to humans?
Peace lily contains small, insoluble calcium oxalate crystals in its flowers, leaves, and stems. Ingestion of this part can cause discomfort, mouth and throat irritation, lip swelling, coughing, nausea, and vomiting. Most minor ingestions can be managed at home, but exploratory or minor ingestions can cause immediate discomfort.
What should I do if someone eats part of a peace lily?
If someone has chewed or swallowed part of a peace lily plant, you can try some of these tips:
- Gently wipe out their mouth.
- Help them to rinse and spit with water to remove any remaining pieces from their mouth.
- If there is any mouth irritation present, try offering ice chips to suck on or frozen treats to help relieve the pain.
- Hold off on giving large volumes of fluids if the person is having excessive drooling, severe mouth swelling, or difficulty swallowing.
A mother called Poison Control after she noticed her 4-year-old son had chewed on a piece of a peace lily leaf. The boy was fussy and acting like his mouth was bothering him, but he did not show any signs of swelling or breathing difficulty. Poison Control advised the mother to offer small sips of milk or (if available) ice cream or popsicles and to watch for any persistent vomiting, swelling of the mouth, or respiratory symptoms. Two hours later, Poison Control called the mother, and she reported that her son was doing much better after drinking some milk.
Tips: Have a knowledgeable expert identify the plants and trees growing in your home, backyard and neighborhood, so you know which ones are harmful and which ones are OK for children and pets.
Reasons to Grow a Peace Lily
Despite of the potential danger a peace lily poses, it’s still a good choice as a houseplant. Peace lily is considered one of the top 10 houseplants for cleaning the air, and it is simple to grow and maintain.
If you keep the plant out of the reach of children and pets, or only grow it after the child is old enough to avoid eating the leaves, a peace lily makes a fine addition to a houseplant collection. However, if you have young children or pets, it may be safer to select non-toxic plants to grow in your home.
Best Growing Conditions
The University of Florida IFAS Extension recommends that most store-bought peace lily varieties are hybrids, like the dwarf peace lily, which is hardy in USDA zones 10B and 11. To grow a peace lily, use a general-purpose potting mix and a pot with drainage holes, and choose a shaded location with fertile soil.
A peace lily thrives in temperatures between 68-85 degrees Fahrenheit, with a drop of 10 F at night. It prefers bright, filtered light, as direct sun will burn its leaves.
Caring for a Peace Lily
A peace lily is sensitive to salinity, so use fresh water. For indoor plants, let the potting mix dry between watering to maintain moist soil without soggyness, using room temperature water.
A peace lily doesn’t require much fertilizer, so use liquid houseplant food at half the usual strength. For an all-purpose concentrated fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 12-4-8, mix 1/2 teaspoon in 1 gallon of water and apply every seven to 14 days.
Handle peace lily with gloves, especially for sensitive skin. If juice gets on skin, wash multiple times with soap and warm water.
With dark green leaves and simple white flowers, the peace lily is one of the most common houseplants due to its durability, tolerance for under watering, and low to medium light requirements. However, in 2005, more individuals called poison control centers about possible poisonings following the ingestion of peace lilies than any other plant. Containing calcium oxalates, the peace lily, if ingested by adults, can bring on skin irritation, burning of the mouth, difficulty swallowing, and nausea. However, in small children, dogs, and cats, peace lily ingestion can be far more problematic. In children, ingestion of peace lily leaves can cause diarrhea and vomiting, but the sap can cause children to experience symptoms such as a puffy mouth, a burning sensation in the throat, and a loss of appetite, as well as nausea, headache, lethargy, and constant salivation. When consumed in excess, respiratory problems and kidney failure can also occur.
Peace lily ingestion in dogs and cats can cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, and intense burning, but these symptoms are generally mild and do not necessitate a vet visit.
More information: How much peace lily is toxic to dogs?
|Seek urgent medical attention if lips or tongue become swollen or if there is difficulty breathing or swallowing.|