Roses are a favorite garden plant because of their variety, colorful blooms and sweet scent. If you have pets and small children, you may be worried about roses being a safe choice for a garden plant.
Luckily, there isn’t much to fear about roses. These garden plants are not classified as poisonous to humans, but there are a few things you still need to look out for.
Below, I will answer some common questions and concerns about the safeness of rose petals, rose leaves, and rose thorns to put your fears at ease and help you make an informed decision about planting roses in your garden.
Are Roses Toxic to Pets?
Whenever you’re in doubt about the toxicity of a houseplant or a garden plant, a good place to turn to is the ASPCA website. According to them, roses are not classified as toxic to pets.
While some plants can be toxic to some pets, but not others, the ASPCA website lists roses as non-toxic to dogs, cats, and horses.
Therefore, if you see your pet munching on a rose petal or on a leaf, there is no need to panic. That said, I always recommend that you discourage any such behaviors from your pets.
Because some plants may be toxic to them and they can’t tell the difference, it’s best to teach them to keep their distance from all houseplants or garden plants.
Are Rose Petals Edible for Humans?
Yes, rose petals are edible and, in fact, in many areas around the world, they make jam out of rose petals, or integrate them otherwise in cookie recipes, teas or other meals.
It’s important to remember that because roses are often chemically treated, only organic roses can be safely consumed.
By extension, the same goes for pets too. If your roses have been recently treated with chemicals, keep your pets away to prevent intoxication issues caused by these chemicals.
Organic rose petals can be safely used even in homemade skin care products or to create rose water, which can have many applications even beyond beauty products.
For example, in Indian, Middle Eastern and Persian cuisine rose water if often used to add flavor to certain foods.
If you want to integrate rose water or roses in your cooking, a simple web search will return many ingenious ways you can flavor foods and desserts with rose petals.
Are Rose Thorns Poisonous?
So far, we’ve established that rose petals are not toxic to humans or pets. But what about rose thorns? Are they poisonous?
Even though you don’t come close to eating rose thorns, and they’re not poisonous per se, they pose another kind of risk if you prick your finger in one.
Sharp enough to puncture the skin on your finger, rose thorns can deliver dangerous fungi and bacteria into the skin causing infections that can prove dangerous.
While rarely, rose thorns can even deliver Clostridium tetani bacteria into your system, the bacteria that causes tetanus and which can potentially have fatal outcomes.
But this isn’t something that should deter you from growing roses in your garden. Simply wear protective gloves any time you’re handling roses to eliminate or reduce the risks of pricking your finger in a rose thorn.
But what should you do if you prick your finger on a rose thorn? You simply need to remove the thorn, wash the wound with soap and water, then disinfect it with iodine or rubbing alcohol, then use an antibiotic ointment on the wound.
If you can’t remove the thorn or it has disappeared under your skin, it’s best to visit your doctor to remove it for you.
If you run up a fever or pus, swelling, soreness and redness develop at the picture site, it’s usually a sign of infection, and you need medical attention.
Therefore, rose thorns themselves are not poisonous but the bacteria and fungi that live on these roses can cause infections when they’re introduced in your skin.
Are Rose Leaves Edible?
Rose leaves are edible too, but they clearly don’t look, nor taste like something you’d integrate in your meals or green salads.
Because they’re high in tannins, you can integrate them in tea mixes, and from what I’m told, they taste very much like black tea.
But you can get creative with rose leaves in the kitchen and use them as decorative elements on cakes or use their textured undersides as mold to create chocolate leaves.
As you can see, nearly all parts of roses are safe should you want to experiment with them or use them as decorative pieces for your culinary creations.
While rose leaves don’t boast the same appeal as rose petals, they too are safe for humans and pets.
Benefits of Eating Rose Petals
If you enjoy the aroma of rose petals, you can integrate them in your daily meals. There are various ways these fleshy petals can be consumed including as a garnish, added to fruit desserts, or steeped in water.
Rose petals have several benefits including:
- Rich in vitamins C, K, B and carotene
- Beneficial for skin health and elasticity
- Contains minerals such as calcium, potassium and trace amounts of copper
Besides exploring ways in which you can include rose petals in your cuisine, you can also use it to create your own home-made skin care products or use them in aromatherapy.
You can take rose petal infused baths, which are believed to have calming and de-stressing effects.
Regardless of the way you decide to use them, make sure that they’re not treated with chemicals and wash them thoroughly before consuming them.
Roses are not poisonous plants, but watch out for those thorns, which can spell trouble if you accidentally prick a finger. Wear protective gloves when handling the plant to prevent infections.
When not admiring your roses, you can find creative ways to use rose petals in the kitchen or in your skincare routine.
I enjoy rose petals most steeped in my herbal teas, but I also integrate them in desserts in combination with berry fruits to create an interesting mix of flavors.