Christmas Plants: Myths vs. Facts For a Safer Holiday Season

You’ve just trimmed the tree and decked the halls. You remember hearing something about certain holiday plants to keep away from your pets and young children, but which ones were they again? Luckily, this guide is here to help! Here are some common myths and important facts about some of your favourite holiday blooms to help you figure out which are safe to keep in the open and which you’ll want to keep away from that creeping cat and curious toddler.

Everything You Need to Know About Your Christmas Plants for a Safe Holiday Season 

If your home is bustling with pets, small children, or both, keeping a close eye on what they’re trying to eat can be a constant challenge—especially when it comes to your plants! Cats, for instance, are notorious leaf nibblers, and many have unfortunately needed to be rushed to the animal hospital after munching on too much of a bad thing. Here are some of the most beloved holiday decorative plants and what you should know about them:

Windsor Greenhouse-Abbotsford-Christmas Plants Myths vs Fact-assorted poinsettias


Native to Mexico, the poinsettia has quickly become a holiday staple. In their native region, these varied beauties flower during the winter months and are often called the flower of the holy night. However, somewhere along the way, a myth began circulating about these popular Christmas plants, and people began to believe they were toxic to cats, dogs, and even children if ingested. But is any of that true?

Thankfully, not really. Scientists have done hundreds of studies on poinsettias over the years and have found that you would need to ingest around 500–600 of their leaves before they become dangerous. Thankfully, most cats and small children don’t have the patience to stick around for that many greens. Your pet or child might experience some irritation or tummy troubles if they eat a few leaves, but the horror stories you may have heard about poinsettias are simply not true. As it turns out, the poinsettia is a safe way to add vibrant colour to your home this year! 

Christmas Cacti

Hailing from the tropical rainforests of southern Brazil, these Christmas favourites yield beautiful tubular blooms during the holiday season. Generally, they’re safe to keep around cats, dogs, and children who regularly like to munch on whatever they can find, although eating too many of their stems can lead to a bit of tummy trouble. As with all houseplants, it’s best to keep this plant out of eating range if you notice persistent nibbling going on. 


An iconic holiday plant, holly is a traditional decoration for many households. Due to their recognizably spiky leaves, most cats, dogs and children are more than willing to leave this plant alone. The leaves themselves are non-toxic and generally safe to be around, but their berries are another story altogether! Ingesting just a couple of these small red berries can cause severe stomach issues for both humans and pets. While they do make beautiful additions to your holiday decor, make sure to keep your holly safely out of reach during the festive season.


If you’re wanting to get romantic this holiday season and do some smooching under the mistletoe, make sure it’s under the American variety! While American mistletoe generally won’t cause anything worse than an upset stomach, its European counterpart has had a very questionable history. Thankfully, European mistletoe is not commonly available in North America, making it easier to avoid the more toxic of the two plants. However, it’s always a good idea to double-check before picking up some of this popular holiday evergreen!


This trumpet-shaped flower is another plant that’s recently become a regular part of holiday decor. Amaryllis blooms vibrant red flowers in November and December, which is what’s made them such a popular Christmas houseplant. However, amaryllis also contains a toxin that can cause a seriously upset stomach when ingested. Because of this, we recommend keeping this showstopping holiday house plant away from any curious mouths you might have roaming your house, just in case of accidental ingestion.   

Whatever plants you decorate with this Christmas, making sure no one eats them is your best bet for keeping everyone safe and maintaining a beautifully festive home all season long! If you’re looking for some great holiday plants for sale, stop by Windsor Greenhouse for a splash of festive cheer in the Abbotsford area!