15 Plants to Avoid in a Children's Garden

Keep the kids safe by keeping these plants out of reach.

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Keep Curious Kids Safe

Kids are curious by nature; they learn by touching, smelling and tasting. Keep them safe by teaching them which plants to avoid and by keeping dangerous plants out of reach of little hands. 

Stinging Nettle

Although sometimes used as an herbal medicine, the hairs on the leaves and stems of stinging nettles produce a stinging sensation when touched. It's best to keep kids away from this one. 

Prickly Pear and Other Catus

Cacti are fun plants for older kids to have, but the needles are quite painful. Avoid them until younger kids are ready to understand how to handle these spiky plants. 

Thistle

Although they are considered a plant of ill repute, the big blooms can entice children to touch. The plant has sharp prickles all over. Goldfinches love the seeds, but it's best to keep these plants away from little ones. 

Roses

You know how the saying goes—keep thorny rose bushes away out of reach of little ones who may be attracted to the vibrant blooms. 

Barberry

Barberry is a shrub with thorns galore. If you want to plant one for the brilliant color or for birds to feast on, be sure to keep it well out of reach from little hands.

Raspberries

The fruit is a common favorite of children, but the thorns on raspberry bushes can be a hazard. Let the kids enjoy the fruit, but they can wait until they are older to help pick.

Holly

Hollies have a lot to offer in the landscape: evergreen foliage, nice structure, wildlife forage and more. But the prickly foliage of many varieties should be kept away from children's play areas.

Pokeweed

Pokeweed can quickly become established in natural areas, but should be removed if children will play in the vicinity. Although the greens of the young plants are edible, the mature plant and berries are toxic. 

Lily-of-the-Valley

Lily-of-the-valley is a beautiful perennial that adds to the beauty of many shade gardens. As a poisonous plant, however, care should be taken to keep it well away from areas where children will play unsupervised.

Daffodil

Daffodils are toxic, and although their beauty is a familiar and joyful sight of spring, they should be kept out of areas where children will play.

Golden Chain Tree

The golden chain tree is toxic and should be kept away from children's play areas. This beauty is best beheld from afar.

Buckeye

Although the nuts of buckeyes and horsechestnuts look very much like chestnuts, they are not edible. These should be kept from children's play areas both because of the toxins and because the heavy nuts hurt when they fall on you!

Dieffenbachia

Don't forget about houseplants. Dieffenbachia, also known as dumb cane, causes severe irritation to the mouth and throat if chewed. This plant should be completely avoided in homes with small children.

Lantana

Lantana's bright clusters of petite blooms almost look like candy; however, stay wary of the plant's foliage and berries, which have been reported in multiple cases to be toxic to people and pets. Some have also experienced irritation handling the plants.

Hot Peppers

You may love hot peppers, but it's unlikely you'll find your 5-year-old munching on jalapenos. Teach children that the developing fruits are hot and that irritation can occur even by just handling them.