African Violet Toxicity: Properties, Symptoms and Safety

In this article, we will explore African Violet toxicity. The main purpose is to discuss the potential dangers, symptoms, and preventive measures, ensuring the safety of both the plant and its caretakers. This information will be particularly helpful for new and experienced gardeners alike.

toxicity of african violets

African Violets, scientifically known as Saintpaulia, are popular houseplants known for their beautiful blooms and easy care requirements. The term “African Violet toxicity” refers to any harmful effects these plants might have on humans, pets, or other living organisms. However, the good news is that African Violets are generally considered safe and non-toxic.

Toxicity can arise if the plant is ingested, touched, or if its pollen becomes airborne. Even though African Violets aren’t harmful, allergic reactions or skin irritations might occur for some individuals or pets. Sensitivity to the plant may vary based on an individual’s body chemistry and the presence of any pre-existing allergies. Gardeners with particularly sensitive skin may experience minor irritation upon handling the plant or coming into contact with its sap. Generally, these side effects are mild and not a significant cause for concern.

While the plant is non-toxic to both humans and animals, it’s always a good idea to prevent pets from ingesting plant material. Signs that your pet has ingested African Violets and is experiencing discomfort include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy. If your pet displays any of these symptoms after contact with African Violets, consult your veterinarian for advice.

To minimize the risk of African Violet toxicity, you can take some preventative measures, such as placing the plant out of reach of pets and children, wearing gloves when handling it, and washing your hands thoroughly after contact. By following these precautions, you’ll ensure a safe and pleasant experience with your African Violets.

What are the Toxic Properties of African Violets?

When discussing the toxic properties of African Violets, it’s essential to clarify that these plants are generally considered non-toxic and safe for humans and pets. There are no known toxic compounds found in the leaves, stems, or flowers. Consequently, you shouldn’t worry about potential dangers while growing and nurturing African Violets.

However, some individuals and pets may be more sensitive to the plant than others. In these cases, the potential toxic properties stem from allergic reactions or skin irritations that may arise through physical contact rather than actual toxicity. The plant’s sap or pollen might cause skin irritation, itching, or redness upon touching. Ingesting African Violets can lead to mild gastrointestinal discomfort in sensitive individuals or pets.

In extremely rare cases, some people might have an allergic reaction to the plant’s pollen. The airborne pollen can cause nasal congestion, sneezing, or other respiratory symptoms. It is crucial to acknowledge that these instances are quite atypical and not necessarily linked to the plant’s normal characteristics.

To reiterate, African Violets do not possess inherently toxic properties that pose a danger to humans or animals. Any discomfort or symptoms experienced are usually due to individual sensitivities or allergies rather than toxicity. By taking a few simple precautions, such as placing plants out of reach of pets and children, wearing gloves when handling African Violets, and washing hands after contact, you can minimize the risk of any unwanted reactions and enjoy these beautiful houseplants to the fullest.

What Happens if You Eat Too Many African Violets?

As mentioned before, African Violets are considered non-toxic to both humans and pets. However, this does not mean that eating excessive quantities of these plants is advisable or without consequences. Ingesting excessive amounts of any non-edible plant material, even those deemed non-toxic, can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort.

If an individual or a pet consumes a large number of African Violets, they might experience mild gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. These symptoms are the body’s natural response to clearing the consumed plant material from the system. Usually, these reactions are not severe and will resolve on their own within a short period.

Furthermore, the ingestion of African Violets may trigger an allergic reaction or an increased sensitivity in some individuals. In such cases, consuming the plant could lead to symptoms akin to a mild food allergy or sensitivity. This may include rashes, itching, or swelling around the mouth.

However, it is essential to emphasize that instances of people or pets ingesting excessive amounts of African Violets are rare. To avoid any potential health issues, it’s best to keep the plant out of reach of children and pets and exercise caution when handling it.

Should you or someone you know consume large quantities of African Violets and experience severe or persistent symptoms, seeking medical advice is recommended. While the plant is non-toxic, professional guidance will help address any concerns and ensure that the appropriate steps are taken if necessary.

What are the Symptoms of Intoxication from African Violets?

As previously mentioned, African Violets are non-toxic plants, meaning they do not produce any harmful compounds that would cause intoxication. However, some individuals or pets may experience mild discomfort or irritation after coming into contact with or ingesting the plant. In these cases, the symptoms are not due to intoxication but rather individual sensitivities and reactions.

Here is a list of 3 potential symptoms of mild discomfort related to African Violets:

  • Skin irritation: Redness, itching, or a rash after touching the plant, its sap, or its pollen.
  • Allergic reaction: In rare cases, individuals may experience a mild allergic reaction to the plant’s pollen, resulting in sneezing, nasal congestion, or other respiratory symptoms.
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort: If ingested, African Violets may cause mild gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea in sensitive individuals or pets.

It’s important to recognize that these symptoms are usually temporary and will resolve on their own without any major complications. However, if you or your pet experience severe or persistent symptoms after coming into contact with African Violets, seeking medical or veterinary advice is strongly recommended.

To minimize the risk of developing these symptoms, always handle African Violets with care, or wear gloves when working with the plant. Additionally, wash your hands thoroughly after handling it and keep the plant out of reach of pets and children.

What Effects Do African Violets Have on Pets if They Eat Them?

As mentioned earlier, African Violets are generally considered non-toxic to pets, including cats, dogs, and rabbits. However, this does not mean that allowing your pet to consume these plants is without potential negative effects. Consuming any non-food plant material may cause mild gastrointestinal discomfort in animals.

Pets that have eaten African Violets might experience the following symptoms:

  • Drooling: Excessive salivation might occur after a pet ingests the plant, potentially due to the unusual taste or texture.
  • Vomiting: Ingesting the plant could cause an upset stomach and lead to vomiting as the body tries to expel the plant material.
  • Diarrhea: Consuming African Violets may cause pets to experience diarrhea as the gastrointestinal tract attempts to eliminate the plant material.
  • Lethargy: Pets might become lethargic after consumption, possibly due to gastrointestinal discomfort or a general negative reaction to the plant.

It’s important to note that these symptoms are usually mild and short-lived. However, observing any of these signs in your pet after contact with an African Violet should prompt you to monitor them closely and consult a veterinarian if their condition worsens or does not improve.

To prevent pets from consuming African Violets, always keep the plants out of their reach. This can be achieved by placing the plants on high shelves or hanging them in containers. Taking these simple precautions will help ensure a safe environment for your pets while allowing you to enjoy your beautiful African Violets.

While African Violets are generally considered safe and non-toxic, there’s a possibility that some people might experience allergy-related symptoms upon contact or exposure to them. These reactions are typically due to individual sensitivities or allergies, and not a result of the plant’s inherent characteristics.

Allergy-related symptoms that could occur in rare cases might include:

  • Skin irritation: Touching the plant or coming into contact with its sap may cause redness, itching, or a rash.
  • Respiratory symptoms: Exposure to airborne pollen could potentially lead to sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, or other respiratory symptoms in some individuals.
  • Contact dermatitis: In particularly sensitive people, handling the plant could lead to inflammation and irritation of the skin, also known as contact dermatitis.

Although these allergy-related symptoms are generally mild and not widespread, it’s essential to acknowledge the possibility of such reactions. If you suspect an allergy or sensitivity to African Violets, it’s advisable to take precautions such as wearing gloves when handling the plant, washing hands thoroughly after contact, and minimizing direct contact with the plant’s pollen.

If you observe any persistent or severe allergy-related symptoms after exposure to African Violets, seeking medical advice is strongly recommended. As a general rule, it’s crucial to listen to your body and take appropriate measures if you experience adverse reactions when interacting with any variety of houseplants, including African Violets.


Despite their non-toxic nature, African Violets may cause mild discomfort or allergy-related symptoms in some individuals or pets. By taking proper precautions and being attentive to potential sensitivities, you can enjoy these beautiful houseplants safely. Do you have any experiences or tips related to African Violet toxicity? Please feel free to share in the comments!

African Violets   Updated: May 18, 2023
avatar Hi, I'm Amy, a devoted horticulturist and the creator of, where I use my expertise to help beginners foster their green thumbs. My blog is a vibrant community where I unravel the complexities of gardening and share my profound love for nature.
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