Be cautious before bringing home new plants

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 20, 2018

There are countless options when choosing an indoor or outdoor plant. When I’m deciding what flower to add to my back porch, I ask myself, what will look the best? What grows the prettiest flower? What will be the easiest to take care of? These things are important to take into consideration, but I’ve recently realized many plants are more than meets the eye.

This week, Carriere resident Don Palmer discovered the plant in his front yard was actually a century plant. That realization came when the agave started growing a tall inner stalk that rose far above Palmer’s home. Palmer said he had no idea what the plant was when he first added it to his landscape. But when it was given to him, he planted it without a second thought, not realizing that it would grow long, harmful spikes and eventually sprout a bloom more than a dozen feet in the air. 

Not long ago I was looking at the flowers in stock at a store, trying to decide which kind to buy next.

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I was thinking about buying a lily – one of my favorite flowers, when I realized it might be harmful to my cat or dog. Sure enough, lilies are listed by the Humane Society as being one of the most poisonous houseplants to cats. In fact, the Humane Society’s website states that cats can be poisoned by every part of a lily plant. According to the website, there are more than 700 plants that have been identified as poisonous to animals. These plants can cause anything from sickness to death, the website states.

Who knows what might have happened had I taken that lily home and left it within reach of my cat. Plants can be a beautiful addition to a home, but without doing research before planting them or adding them to your decor, they can be dangerous for people and pets.