Is Monstera Toxic? (EXPLAINED)

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This article, “Is Monstera Toxic,” will cover everything you need to know about the toxicity of Monstera Deliciosa, aka Swiss Cheese Plant, to pets and even humans. Read on to discover:

  • An overview of the burning question “Is Monstera Toxic?”
  • A brief explanation of calcium oxalate crystals—found in Monstera.
  • A guide to which part of Monstera is toxic to touch and if ingested.
  • A take on whether or not Monstera is toxic to cats and toxic to dogs.

It takes a little legwork on the part of those who like houseplants but also have other family members, such as pets or children, and want to ensure that their plants are safe for everyone.

Since it is common practice for most pets to nibble on plants occasionally, while young children tend to grab everything within their reach, it’s essential to be aware of toxic plants.

So, how about the most popular Swiss Cheese Plant, aka Monstera Deliciosa? Is it toxic? Well, this may be true to some extent, but it certainly doesn’t tell the complete story.

About Monstera Deliciosa

Native to Central America and the tropical forests of Southern Mexico, Monstera Deliciosa, commonly called Swiss Cheese Plant or Split-Leaf Philodendron, is an evergreen climbing vine.

The term “Deliciosa” refers to the fruit’s edible nature, which translates to “delicious,” while the Latin term for “monstrous” or “abnormal” is where the genus Monstera gets its name.

M. Deliciosa is often seen as a potted plant indoors, where it can grow to be between 10 and 15 feet tall and 8 feet wide. But in its natural habitat, it can grow up to 60 feet tall or more.

So, Is Monstera Toxic?

Dog next to a Monstera

Considering that the Monstera Deliciosa contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals (needle-like), it may be said that the plant is moderately toxic to both cats and dogs as well as humans.

In addition to M Deliciosa, most houseplants that belong to the Araceae family have insoluble calcium oxalate crystals; however, the severity of the symptoms varies from one plant to another.

The question is, what are calcium oxalate crystals, and why do Monsteras have them anyway? Well, there are several reasons. Continue reading for a brief explanation of calcium oxalates.

Calcium Oxalate Crystals

Calcium oxalate crystals are naturally occurring biominerals that may be found in virtually every type of plant, including different types of Monsteras, ranging from the tiniest algae to the largest trees.

These crystals are formed inside plant cells and take the form of clusters of very fine needles (known as raphides), which may occasionally even have barbed tips at their extremities.

Calcium oxalates, with their sharp appearance and tendency to cause pain, are an essential component of Monstera’s (or any other plant’s) defensive mechanism against grazing animals.

Considering the form of these raphides, they produce unpleasant responses if ingested. However, in addition to causing intestine pain, oxalates cause kidney failure and even death.

However, since Monsteras contain fewer crystals than dieffenbachia spp, also known as dumb cane, a response to dieffenbachia will be more powerful than a reaction to Monstera.

Which Part of a Monstera is Toxic?

All parts of the Monsteras, including Monstera leaves, roots, stems, flowers, and fruits, are mildly toxic since they contain insoluble oxalate crystals—naturally occurring biominerals, also known as raphides.

In terms of the Monstera plants’ toxicity, the only exception is the delicious green-scaled hexagonal-shaped fruit, which is edible for humans when fully ripe.

Are Monstera Plants Toxic to Touch?

While Monstera’s minor toxicity won’t hurt when touched, if you contact your lips, mouth, or tongue after touching it, you may experience mild skin irritation or a stinging sensation.

Thus, when touching the Monstera plant, it is best to wear gloves and then wash hands immediately afterward to avoid any allergic response due to Monsteras’ toxic behavior.

In addition, Monstera plant juice can potentially aggravate skin conditions such as contact dermatitis; thus, always protect your hands by donning gloves before touching them.

Is a Monstera Toxic If Ingested?

When ingested, the Monstera plant embeds itself in mucus, causing severe irritation (oral irritation) and a burning sensation (burning feeling) on the mouth, tongue, lips, or throat.

However, even though Monstera Deliciosa fruits may be eaten when completely ripe, you shouldn’t give them to your cat, dog, or other pets since it might not be the healthiest option.

It is important to note that the responses to calcium oxalate crystals are practically instantaneous, happening in as few as thirty seconds after ingestion; thus, place it wisely.

Is Monstera Toxic for Pets?

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), all species of Monsteras are considered to be toxic to cats and dogs, as well as other pets.

This study applies to each and every species of Monstera, including the popular houseplants in the plant collection (Monstera Adansonii, Monstera Deliciosa, and Monstera Obliqua).

Compared to other poisonous houseplants, such as the Chinese evergreen and peace lily, which are considered toxic to household pets, Monstera is not a fully toxic plant.

Is Monstera Toxic to Cats?

cat sitting next to a Monstera Adansonii

Well, as you may already know, it is toxic to cats. Even though its toxicity is not very severe (crystals vary), Monstera causes excessive drooling when consumed in large quantities.

So, if you observe any symptoms, contact a veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center at +1 (888) 426-4435. In addition, you may contact the Pet Poison Helpline at +1 (855) 764-7661.

In case of emergency, start by rinsing the cat’s mouth with lukewarm water to alleviate any irritation; however, ensure that your cat doesn’t drink water to avoid plant toxicity.

Is Monstera Toxic to Dogs?

dog looking at tropical plants

Considering the calcium oxalates that the plant’s cells have, if by any chance, your dog chews Monstera, it will cause icky symptoms in the dog’s mouth, such as difficulty swallowing.

So, if you observe any symptoms, contact a veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center at +1 (888) 426-4435. In addition, you may contact the Pet Poison Helpline at +1 (855) 764-7661.

If there’s an emergency, start off by rinsing your pet’s mouth with water to alleviate any symptoms; however, ensure that your dog doesn’t swallow water to avoid plant toxicity.

Is Monstera Toxic to Rabbits?

Rabbit with Monstera

The monstera plant is toxic to rabbits; however, the only difference here is that the rabbits disregard the stinging sensation it produces since they like the Monstera so much.

How Do I Keep Monsteras Away from My Pets (Cats and Dogs)?

Now that you have the answer to “Is Monstera Toxic to Cats” and “Is Monstera Toxic to Dogs,” it’s time for the most important step: keeping the plant out of reach from your pets.

  • Place a physical barrier like a chicken wire between the pet and the Monstera.
  • Pot the plant in hanging baskets or set them on a high wooden shelf or cabinet.
  • Cover the plant matter with gravel or pebbles to make it less appealing to the pet.
  • If you have a cat, invest in cat grass to keep them away from munching on Monstera.
  • Add some pet-safe plants (dog-safe plants) like Succulents and Areca to your space.
  • Use smell deterrents, such as chili, vinegar, or pepper, to keep your pet at bay.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know the answer to “Is Monstera Toxic,” this brings us to the end of this extensive article. As a bonus, we’ve taken time to answer some frequently asked questions.

What Happens When My Pet Eats a Monstera Leaf?

By any chance, if your cat or dog eats a Monstera leaf, it will irritate their throat, mouth, and stomach lining, possibly causing drooling and vomiting. In such a case, call your vet right away.

What to Do If My Pet Ate a Monstera Plant?

If you think your pet has eaten Monstera, contact a veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center at +1 (888) 426-4435. You may call the Pet Poison Helpline at +1 (855) 764-7661.

Which Monstera Plants Pet Owners Should Avoid?

Considering that Monsteras are only mildly poisonous to humans and pets, there’s no need to avoid them. Just follow proper protocols to avoid excessive consumption, and you’re good to go.

Is One of the Popular Plants Monstera a Low-Toxicity Plant?

Even though there are many toxic houseplants available on the market that are not healthy for pets, Monsteras are low-toxic plants that can be kept in a home with pets and small children.

Does Calcium Oxalate Crystals Cause Kidney Stones?

In addition to causing pain in the intestines, these oxalate crystals are the primary cause of kidney stones in humans. Thus, it’s essential to avoid Monstera consumption at all costs.