Are Lipstick Plants Toxic?

Kim Marson
Kim Marson
Gardening Writer

Kim is passionate about helping people create beautiful, healthy indoor spaces that are filled with plants. Kim believes that plants make us happier, healthier human...

Lipstick plants are not considered toxic to either humans or pets1, so there is little danger of your pet or child being poisoned. However, that doesn't mean that it is safe for them to eat the plant, as hazards still remain.

Concerns have been raised over the years about the toxicity of the lipstick plant (Aeschynanthus radicans), specifically whether it could be dangerous or harmful if ingested by pets or children. However, toxicity is a complicated issue, with humans and various animals reacting in different ways, but in general, there is almost no risk.

When it comes to houseplants, the Lipstick Plant is a popular choice for its vibrant foliage and unique, tube-like flowers. While it adds a touch of nature to your living space, you might wonder, "Is the Lipstick Plant poisonous to humans or pets?" In this comprehensive guide, we will look to answer that question and more, diving deep into the subject of Lipstick Plant toxicity. We'll look at symptoms that may occur from exposure and whether there is a danger of plant poisoning in any of these groups.  

In the process, key questions that will be explored include: Are lipstick plants toxic to cats? Are lipstick plants toxic to humans? We'll also provide tips on avoiding lipstick plant poisoning so you can keep this beautiful plant in your home safely.

Common Questions About Lipstick Plant Toxicity

Common Questions About Lipstick Plant Toxicity
Common Questions About Lipstick Plant Toxicity

Several key questions arise for homeowners wondering about the potential toxicity of lipstick plants:

Are lipstick plants toxic to humans?

Lipstick plants are not known to be toxic to people, including babies and children. No fatalities or serious poisonings have been documented from someone eating a lipstick plant.

However, some mild mouth irritation or stomach upset could occur if a significant amount is ingested. The sap may also cause skin irritation in sensitive individuals. But in general, Lipstick plant toxicity is not toxic enough to humans to cause harm beyond temporary discomfort.

Are Lipstick Plants Toxic to Cats?

Cats are infamous for chewing on houseplants. Fortunately, lipstick plants are generally considered non-toxic for felines. There are no reports of fatal poisoning in cats from ingesting lipstick plants.

That said, cats who chew or ingest lipstick plant parts may exhibit:

  • Excess drooling - from mouth inflammation
  • Pawing at the mouth - indicating mouth irritation
  • Nausea - evidenced by clear retching/gagging
  • Vomiting - throwing up if plant matter irritates the stomach
  • Diarrhea - possible intestinal irritation

Cats should recover within 24 hours if they are able to clear the irritant from their system. Cats should not be allowed to chew or eat Lipstick plants intentionally. But incidental contact or ingestion of a small amount is not an emergency.

Is a Lipstick Plant Toxic to Dogs?

Lipstick plants are considered non-toxic for dogs. There are no reports of dog poisoning or deaths from ingesting lipstick plant parts.

Some possible mild symptoms include:

  • Excess drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

So, while not toxic, it's ideal to keep lipstick plants out of reach of curious canines.

The table below summarizes lipstick plant toxicity for common household pets:

PetToxicity LevelSymptoms
CatsNon-toxicDrooling, nausea, diarrhea
DogsNon-toxicDrooling, vomiting, diarrhea (mild if any)
HorsesNon-toxicNone expected
RodentsNon-toxicNone expected
Lipstick plant toxicity to common household pets

In general - lipstick plants are not considered toxic to cats, dogs, or humans but can cause discomfort or upset stomachs, particularly in cats. Therefore, it is smart to exercise some basic precautions around pets who may nibble on houseplants.

If pets have ingested parts of the plant while uncomfortable, these effects are not medically dangerous for pets. However, if symptoms persist beyond 24 hours, these are the following steps to take.

First Aid Measures

If you suspect your pet has ingested a Lipstick Plant, here are some first-aid steps you can take:

  1. Remove the Plant: Ensure no further ingestion can occur.
  2. Check for Symptoms: Observe your pet closely for any of the above symptoms.
  3. Contact Your Vet: It's crucial to consult your vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Lipstick Plant and Veterinary Advice

According to expert veterinarian advice,2 the toxicologically effective components found in plants are mainly alkaloids, glycosides, saponins, and terpenes. These substances can be toxic if ingested by animals. The article also provides general recommendations for the treatment of poisoning from these plants, which include:

  1. Immediate Veterinary Consultation: Don't wait for symptoms to worsen.
  2. Activated Charcoal: Sometimes recommended to absorb the toxins.
  3. Fluid Therapy: To combat dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea.

So What Levels of Toxicity Exist in Lipstick Plants?

Are Lipstick Plants Toxic
Are Lipstick Plants Toxic

Given the mild symptoms possible from ingestion, it's clear lipstick plants should not be considered toxic or poisonous. But let's take a closer look at the components of the plants that can cause problems and at the reasons why:

Lipstick Plant Toxic Components

Lipstick plants contain raphides, which are tiny needle-like crystal structures found in many houseplants. If ingested, raphides can cause mouth irritation and gastrointestinal upset. However, the raphides in lipstick plants are not present at dangerous levels.

Additionally, lipstick plants contain various glycosides and tannins that may cause stomach distress if large amounts are eaten. It should be noted these naturally occurring plant compounds are generally not toxic to people or pets unless consumed in huge quantities.

So, while lipstick plants have some potentially irritating compounds, the amounts present are quite low. This helps explain why most cases of ingestion only cause minor symptoms.

Lipstick Plant Ingestion Risks

Beyond the compounds present, the risk of poisoning also depends on how much of the plant is actually consumed. For example:

  • A pet lightly nibbling on a leaf or two is at very low risk of suffering any problems.
  • A child putting a small part of a stem or flower in their mouth may get a tummy ache.
  • Actually, eating several whole lipstick plant flowers or leaves could cause more noticeable vomiting/diarrhea.

So, while the plant is not totally inert, the risk of poisoning is very low under most household ingestion scenarios. The possible presence of mild gastrointestinal upset also does not indicate serious toxicity.

Symptoms of Lipstick Plant Toxicity

Based on the compounds present and documented cases, these are the main symptoms that may be seen:

  • Excess drooling from mouth irritation
  • Nausea and vomiting from stomach irritation
  • Diarrhea from gastrointestinal inflammation
  • Skin rash from contact irritation (occasional)

Serious toxicity symptoms like organ damage, respiratory distress, paralysis, or seizures are not expected.

Lipstick Plant - Minimal Toxicity

It is clear that lipstick plants contain some potentially irritating compounds if ingested, especially raphides. However, lipstick plants are generally considered non-toxic to people and pets, especially in small amounts. Any resulting symptoms are likely to be mild stomach upset rather than serious poisoning requiring hospitalization. Reasonable care around pets and children is warranted, but there is no need for dire toxicity warnings.

Keeping Lipstick Plants and Pets in Harmony

Lipstick Plants and Cats

The fact that cats are naturally drawn to interesting houseplants makes them more problematic than other pets. As discussed earlier, lipstick plants are mildly toxic to cats, so if ingested, they could cause drooling, nausea, or diarrhea.

To keep cats safe, it's ideal to place lipstick plants completely out of reach. For example, situating them on high shelves, hanging them from ceilings, or using wall-mounted planters.

If a floor-standing plant is the only option, try these tips:

  • Use a large, heavy pot that cats can't easily knock over.
  • Place protective metal screens over the soil.
  • Use bitter anti-chew sprays on the leaves.
  • Keep the plant in a room cats are not allowed access to.

With reasonable precautions, cat owners can safely keep lipstick plants. But provide appealing cat-safe alternatives like cat grass to nibble.

Lipstick Plants and Dogs

Fortunately, As we have already noted, lipstick plants are non-toxic for dogs. So they present much less of an ingestion risk if a curious dog happens to nibble some leaves or stems. However, if you have a do that likes to make a snack of your plants and consume enough, it might cause them to feel nauseous and vomit.

So it's smart to exercise some basic precautions:

  • Keep the plant up high or out of reach.
  • Redirect your dog's attention if you notice nibbling.
  • Provide tempting dog-safe plants for them to chew.

With minimal precautions, most dog owners can confidently keep lipstick plants.

Other Household Pets

Small pets like rabbits or rodents are also not expected to experience toxicity from lipstick plants. The biggest risk is gastrointestinal upset if a large amount is eaten.

For these pets, follow similar common-sense precautions:

  • Keep lipstick plants well out of reach.
  • Monitor pets closely when loose near the plants.
  • Remove or fence off plants if persistent chewing is noticed.

While not highly toxic, it's smart to be cautious with letting any house pets ingest lipstick plant parts. But overall, they present a relatively low toxicity risk for responsible pet owners.

Preventing Lipstick Plant Toxicity from Being an Issue

Keep lipstick plants out of reach by hanging them up high
Keep lipstick plants out of reach by hanging them up high

While the Lipstick plant hazard level is low, it's still smart to take sensible precautions to prevent lipstick plant ingestion. Here are some general tips to help safeguard children and pets:

Keep Plants Out of Reach

As we have discussed, the most straightforward approach is to display lipstick plants well out of reach of children and pets.

Recommended strategies include:

  • Place plants on high shelves or wall-mounted holders.
  • Hang pots from ceilings or sturdy hooks.
  • Put up physical barriers like baby gates or pet fencing.
  • Keep plants in rooms from which kids and pets are restricted from entering.

Keeping plants veritably inaccessible prevents curious mouths from investigating in the first place.

Monitor Interactions

When kids or pets are present around accessible lipstick plants, close supervision is advised. Watch for any attempts to grab or bite leaves. Promptly redirect their attention if you are concerned with the animal's chewing behavior.

Use Deterrents

Deter chewing with bitter anti-ingestion sprays applied to the leaves or place plastic screens over the potting soil. Crushed orange peels, citrus oils, or aromatic herbs also help deter nibbling.

Remove Temptation

Consider rehoming susceptible plants if a child or pet seems irresistibly attracted. Provide safe, tempting alternatives like cat grass, wheat grass, or leafy greens to satisfy their cravings.

Lipstick Plant And Children's Safety

It is always crucial to teach children from an early age not to put items that are not food in their mouths. Communicate simple rules like “plants are not for eating” and explain possible tummy upsets. Make plants a hands-off item and reinforce safe behaviors around them.

With attentive supervision and common-sense precautions, lipstick plant poisoning can be avoided in homes with kids and pets. The goal is to set everyone up for safe, positive interactions.

Final Thoughts: Are Lipstick Plants Toxic?

Based on available research, lipstick plants are generally considered non-toxic for humans and common household pets like cats and dogs. While containing some compounds that may cause irritation, especially raphides, the amounts present in Lipstick plant ingestion are almost certainly likely to be too low to cause serious poisoning in most scenarios.

At most, ingestion of lipstick plant parts may result in temporary nausea, drooling, vomiting, or diarrhea. However, symptoms tend to be mild and self-resolving within 24 hours. No lasting health effects or fatalities have been documented from ingesting lipstick plants.

With Lipstick plant and pet health, reasonable care should still be exercised, especially around pets known to chew on houseplants. Placing plants safely out of reach, using taste deterrents, and redirecting pets can all help prevent ingestion. If contact does occur, rinse the mouth, offer fluids, and monitor for improving symptoms.

While not completely inert, lipstick plants present a relatively low toxicity risk for people and pets. With some basic precautions, they can be safely enjoyed as beautiful, cascading houseplant accent pieces. Their bright, colorful blooms and trailing stems provide visual interest without posing undue poisoning hazards.

Commonly Asked Question

Are some varieties of Lipstick Plants more Toxic than others?

All varieties of Lipstick Plant are considered non-toxic to humans (whether adult or child), dogs, cats, and horses. However, if the plant is ingested, especially if in a large enough quantity, it can cause stomach upsets.

Are Lipstick Plants safe for cats and dogs?

Generally, yes. But it's best to keep them out of reach to avoid any potential issues.

What are the symptoms of Lipstick Plant toxicity in pets?

Symptoms can include mild gastrointestinal issues and vomiting.

How to care for Lipstick Plants safely?

Place them in areas inaccessible to pets and children. Always wash your hands after handling the plant.


  1. ASPCA: Lipstick Plant
  2. PubMed Central (PMC): Toxicity of House Plants to Pet Animals
Kim Marson
Kim MarsonGardening Writer

Kim is passionate about helping people create beautiful, healthy indoor spaces that are filled with plants. Kim believes that plants make us happier, healthier human beings, and she loves sharing her knowledge with others so they can experience the joys of plant care for themselves. <a href="">Read more</a>

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