Are Succulents Poisonous To Birds?


Birds are popular, friendly, and very intelligent household pets. As a pet owner myself, I know that we want to do anything we can to keep our pets safe and healthy, right?

Here we will explore a popular type of house plant called succulents found in many households today but can be poisonous to birds. 

There are some varieties of succulents(like Yucca and String of Pearls) that are highly poisonous to birds. These succulents can cause severe and even life-threatening symptoms in your bird. However, not all succulents(like Jade and Haworthia) are toxic to birds. 

Succulents are easily identified by their thick, fleshy leaves, perfect for storing water in arid environments. Although many varieties are perfectly edible for most types of birds, like most cacti, some succulents have evolved to be poisonous. Learn more about what succulents are toxic to birds below.

Are Succulents Poisonous to Birds?

Succulents are defined by their succulence, meaning their ability to store water in their fleshy leaves or underground bulbs. That water conservation ability also leads to their swollen appearance. The waxy look of their leaves is another way to keep the moisture locked into the plant so that it does not waste a single drop. 

Many species of succulents have developed poisonous leaves or bulbs in response to the threat of predators over the centuries. However, some continue to rely on other natural deterrents like spikes, a foul taste, growing in environments that are inhospitable to birds, as well as many different ways to stay safe and grow strong. 

Here you will find a list of several succulents to stay away from if you own birds. If you are a proud bird owner, you should keep these plants in an outside garden or choose different varieties for inside the home. If you can keep the inside of your home free of these and other poisonous plants, every birdie will thank you. 

This is certainly not a complete list of all poisonous succulents. Before you add any new plant into your home, make sure to thoroughly research or ask your veterinarian about it to make sure it is safe for you and your feathered friend. If you have a plant that is not on this list, you should keep it in a room your bird cannot access. 

1. Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) – These succulents have lovely red and yellow, star-shaped blooms which can be spectacular to look at but lethal for birds. Both the bulb and the plant pose a risk to birds—warning signs to look out for include: depression, diarrhea, tremors, and vomiting. 

2. Mother of Thousands (Kalanchoe daigremontiana) – These green plants have sharp purple jagged stripes and tiny purple blooms lining the sides. Symptoms can include weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, and, in more severe cases, heart rate abnormalities, lethargy, and seizures. 

3. String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) – This unusual plant is native to southwest Africa, but has become recently popular in North America. As its name implies, the plant grows in small bulbs along chains that hide beneath rocks and ledges to avoid direct sunlight. Symptoms of poisoning can include diarrhea and vomiting, lethargy, and drooling. 

4. Mother in Law’s Tongue (Dracaena Trifasciata) – Another plant that is native to Africa, this unbelievably sharp succulent is still somehow highly appealing to birds. Symptoms can include heavy salivation, swelling, and pain in the mouth, skin rashes, and swelling of the throat. 

5. Yucca (Yucca elephantipes) – While this plant is perfectly safe for humans and often used in the cuisine of El Salvador, birds are susceptible to its naturally poisonous leaves. Possible symptoms of poisoning can include bloating, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. 

6. Zanzibar Gem (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia)Many people enjoy this African plant in their house because of its glossy leaves and how easy it is to care for, even when you have a brown thumb. However, if you are a bird owner, beware! All parts of this succulent are poisonous to birds.

Are There Safe Succulents for Birds? 

Succulents are beautiful and popular household plants that can add a lot of style and intrigue to your home. Thankfully for succulent lovers that are also bird lovers, some succulents work very well with birds and other pets. Keep your home safe and beautiful with these plants that won’t harm your little birdbrained friends. 

It is not uncommon for your bird to take a small bite of the plants growing in your house, although you may want to discourage them if you wish the plant to bloom and continue to grow well throughout the seasons. Try keeping the bird in their cage or putting the plant somewhere that the bird cannot access if you are worried.

All of the following succulents are common household plants and very easy to care for. The best part is that they are all safe for your feathered friend! You won’t have to worry about a barren household, isolated from the natural world. With these plants, you too can enjoy a bit of greenery indoors. 

1. Jade (Crassula Ovata) – This is a beautiful succulent that will add a touch of nature to your home while keeping your bird safe. Their thick leaves enable the plant to conserve water, so you also won’t have to worry if you forget to water them for a day or two. 

2. Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum) – Also known as houseleeks or liveforever, these fun plants have tufted leaves that grow in rosettes, which can brighten up any indoor room. A popular, eccentric succulent that is easy to care for, enjoyable to produce, and most importantly, safe for birds. 

3. Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis Miller) – A super easy plant to grow with the added bonus of healing properties that can help both humans and pets. Fun fact: if you get a sunburn, break off one of the thick leaves and apply the sap to your sunburn. It will bring down the redness and pain within fifteen to twenty minutes.

4. Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera) – So named because they tend to bloom during the wintertime. Unlike most other plant species, these lovely cacti are not poisonous for birds, so if your buddy wants to go ahead and take a nibble, nothing terrible will happen to them. The cactus may be sad, but the bird will be fine.

5. Tree Houseleeks (Aeonium) – These wide-leaf plants are native to the Canary Islands but have been spread worldwide, thanks to their good looks, vibrant green color, and how easy it is to take care of them. Their glossy leaves made them very popular among humans and birds alike. 

6. Sedum Burrito (Sedum morganianum) – A popular plant hailing from Mexico, also known as the Burro’s Tail, is extremely easy to grow and can tolerate just about any kind of soil as long as there is sufficient drainage. The leaves dangle down on long stems and give your house a silvery-green exotic look. 

7. Zebra Haworthia (Haworthiopsis attenuata)– This plant has adorable long thin green leaves with horizontal white ridges that quickly remind the viewer of a zebra coming into their stripes. If you are looking for a plant that can reproduce without much effort on your part, this plant is right for you and the bird. 

Summary

Plants and animals have lived in harmony forever in the natural world. However, it is essential to remember that your household plants are usually not native species to your area. Always consult with your veterinarian if you have particular concerns about a specific plant or your pet is experiencing any behavioral or physical abnormalities. 

Plants and animals can live together happily ever after; it just takes some research and planning on your end to make sure that the plants in your home are safe for both you and your feathered or furry friends. 

Recent Posts