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Is Christmas Cactus Poisonous?

Urvashi Pokharna
The Christmas cactus is a beautiful flowering plant that comes in various vibrant colors. But, there are a few things you must know before you decide to get the plant in your house or your garden, especially if you have pets and children. This Christmas cactus is quite toxic.
Christmas cactus, also called 'true cactus' or Schlumbergera bridgesii, is one of the easiest tropical flowering plants to care for and it lasts for many years. People don't plant it to increase the beauty of interior designs, this is also popular as gifts for holiday festivities like Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter, the time of the year when they bloom.
That is also how this species of cactus got its name. This grows in cool temperatures, with no direct sunlight or sources of heat. But, the place must be sufficiently lit.
Don't mistake it to be similar to other species of cacti, as the Holiday cactus needs to be watered at timely intervals, with enough water. It is not immune to lack of moisture.
Even though, this cactus has been classified as non-toxic house plants, one of the most common questions people ask is regarding its toxicity for kids or pets.

Is Christmas Cactus Poisonous?

There are some house plants that can cause severe poisoning in pets. You need to be very careful while choosing plants to decorate your house. That could be a lot of risk just to enhance the beauty of your house.
Christmas or Thanksgiving cactus is a popular house adornment, especially during the holidays, and has been often categorized as a safe-but-better-avoid flowering plant.
You can plant this cactus in your garden or keep them at home, but, you need to be wary of a few details. This question has been dissected here in two parts for your ease of understanding.

To Pets

Dogs that have consumed this cactus, have been reported to show signs of poisoning, such as vomiting, dullness, loss of appetite and diarrhea. But, on the other hand, there are many people who claim that their pets have often ingested cladodes and flowers of this cactus.
The pets are still alive and their health is just fine. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or ASPCA, affirms the latter testaments and has declared the Holiday cactus to be non-toxic to dogs, cats and other pet animals. Hence, it is not harmful to your pets.

To Children

Ideally, your children should not be eating any sort of plants that are not recommended for a human diet. Although, Thanksgiving cactus has been deemed as safe for consumption by pets, would you eat your garden plants? The same theory applies to your children.
They should not be ingesting this cactus or any other plants, as chemicals in the plant could lead to an upset stomach and may be a cause of allergy. As a preventive measure, keep all house plants away from the reach of toddlers and kids who are likely to ingest them.

The Verdict

Christmas or Holiday cactus is NOT poisonous to pets and children. They are absolutely safe and you can plant them in your house without worrying about its ill effects on the health of your family members, including your pets.
But, you may be adding fertilizers and insecticides to keep this house plant healthy and blooming.
These substances are not what your kids and pets should be consuming at all. In small quantities, this cactus is not really toxic.
However, when eaten in large doses, it can prove to be really fatal to their health. Also, the sap of this cactus may be a potential allergen for their delicate built.
Many people are either unaware or just do not take care of their cactus and then complain when it does not blossom. Is your cactus not flowering during the holidays? Well, you need to practice some good methods of propagation, so your plant blooms every year.
So, go ahead and decorate your house with these beautiful cactus plants in fuchsia, pink, orange, red and purple! If you are still in doubt whether these cacti are poisonous, opt for a smarter route and get some artificial ones.