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Is Dracena poisonous to cats?

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Dracena is a genus of plants that have a very attractive appearance. These plants are most popularly used as houseplants and are very rarely found in grounds or gardens. It is a genus that contains more than 120 different types of species and lots of plants that are included in that species. They are also known as the succulent shrubs that remain small in size throughout their life and that are why they are best suited as houseplants rather than outdoor plants.

The genus Dracena belongs to the family Asparagaceae and the subfamily Nolinideae as they are the monocotyledonous and Angiospermic plants. The name Dracena also has an interesting origin. It is derived from an ancient Greek word that has the meaning of ‘a female dragons’. That is why the plants that come under the genus Dracena are also called as dragon plants.

The Dracena plants have their origin in Africa and Southern Asia. They are the plants that can easily tolerate very low lights and sparse availability of water and that is one of the major reasons why they are mostly considered as houseplants and not as a garden or outdoor plant.

green leafed plant

Basic requirements for growing the Dracena plants:-

Many characteristic features are special and unique for the Dracena plants and that is expressed only by those plants and not by the plants of any other genus. These special and unique characteristics are as below-

  • Easy to grow indoor plants if maintained with care: These are the easiest indoor growing plants that need good care and attention to grow healthy and strong. These plants need to be provided with nutrition and water supply whenever needed to give it all the support for growing taller and stronger. There are many ways to grow a Dracena in your house. As it a very small and adjustable plant, so you can keep it in the corner of the balcony or can be kept at heights on any shelf or can even be kept hanging in your living room at the corner wall. 

                     There are many ways to place Dracena plants in your house and all these ways are very friendly and creative. Keeping your Dracena in the above-mentioned places would make your house look attractive and would help the plant grow well too. Easy growing plants would settle in any place comfortably and would make the place worth watching. 

                     These places are so much easy to grow because they do not need regular watering and even slight exposure to the sun the whole day would do best to the Dracena plant. Even without too much expectation, this plant grows for a very long period without any issue or complaint related to its lifestyle. That is why Dracena is the best indoor plant you would ever buy.

  • Browning of leaves depends on the soil productivity: The availability of soil is the most things for the Dracena plants. The plant finds all its sources of nutrition inside the soil. But the soil should also be perfectly suited for the Dracena plant too. If the soil is too moist or too dry then these types of soil are not suitable for the plant and if given the same soil, then the plant would damage itself and would not be able to grow further.
    The Resting Period
                     The soils that are perfectly suitable for a plant should not be too moist and too dry. The water and moisture quantity of the soil should be moderate and it should be able to absorb as much water as possible without getting too moist. 

    The soil should also not clamp up when it faces the scarcity of water. The soil should remain intact when provided with less water and should be able to store the excess water when it is available. The availability of moderate soil is very much necessary for a healthy growing Dracena plant.

  • Indoor light provided to the plant should be indirect: The Dracena plants should get lights in their indoors that are usually indirect. These plants cannot handle too much direct light and so they should be kept in places where they do not receive it much. 

    If placed in indirect sunlight, the leaves of these Dracena plants will scorch. That means the leaves of the Dracena plants will burn and change their color from green to yellow and from yellow to brown very soon. Once the leaves turn brown, the plant will lose its charm and will start to dry up and die soon. The ideal location for a Dracena plant to be placed in a semi-shady area that does not receive much sunlight and usually receives it in the noon or evening time when the intensity of the sunlight is very low. 

    Such semi-shady places would result as perfect for the Dracena plants to grow and develop and it produces new and fresh branches and leaves very soon. The light received by the Dracena plants should be filtered properly before reaching the plant.

 

  • Too much or too low temperatures
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The temperature range for the Dracena plant should be between 65-75°F. Temperature more or less than this normal temperature would not affect too good for the plant. Once the plant receives its optimum temperature, then there’s no need for the plant to exceed that temperature and it will grow very fast and effectively in that temperature only.

                    In the night, when usually the temperature drops by 10°, the plant can handle the range, but that cannot happen during the daytime. The range of temperature required by the plant in the daytime and the night is varied and this difference helps the plant balance all its biological activities strongly.

                   Therefore, it is very much necessary for you to know the exact temperature range in which the Dracena plant can cope-up, otherwise you cannot properly care for the plant. The Dracena plants have their origin from the rainforest habitat, so they cannot handle a lot of extremity in the temperature and humidity range of their surroundings. They may easily get attacked by less or excess amounts of any of them.

Uses of the Dracena plant species:-

There are various uses of the plants of Dracena too. They are-

  • Some plants of the genus Dracena are used as houseplants as they are very beautiful and it adds a great decorative value to the house. These plants are usually kept in balconies or small gardens made in the house itself where there is proper availability of sunlight and water.
  • Some plant species of Dracena are used as ornamental plants in many of our day-to-day jewelry collections. Artificial jewelry can also be made with the help of these plants.
  • According to the latest research, these plants are poisonous to animals but not to humans, so they can be easily used for various purposes without any damage caused to us.
  • Rooted stem cuttings of these plants are very popular in some areas of Australia, the UK, and the US as ‘lucky bamboo’. The stems of these plants are used there as a replacement to the bamboo as there are very less amount of bamboo plants in these countries. They have their function the same as the real or true bamboos.
  • Bright red resin is collected naturally from the plants of Dracena and is used for various functions.
  • In Africa, the stems of the Dracena plants are used as markers for marking graves and many other places such as the plots of the farms or any temple or sacred place. This is just a tradition for the African people that is taking place from a very ancient period.

Why is Dracena poisonous to cats and other pets?

Dracena is harmless in its functions for human beings but can result as very dangerous plants for the pets in your houses, especially the cats. If your cat purposefully or accidentally eats the leaves of the Dracena plants, then that would lead to many dangerous results for the pet. The cats may have many bad effects of the Dracena plant on themselves. They may face conditions like-

  1. When a cat eats a Dracena leaf, that damage or disturbs the normal functions of the systems inside the cat’s body. That also starts to show externally very soon. The cat soon starts vomiting and feels very uneasy. Sometimes the vomiting is without blood and that means that the infection is in control. But if the vomiting is with blood contents, then that is a very serious issue and you should take urgent steps towards stopping it.
  2. The cat may also sometimes feel little nausea and dizziness and that happens in case of too much vomiting that occurs mainly with blood content in it. This may also bring a lot of weakness to the cat.
  3. The cat may suddenly start drooling a lot and that would not be normal but uncontrollable. That is a sign that the cat had a lot of Dracena intake and now it may collapse soon. So, this is a sign that it should be treated immediately under proper medication.
  4. If your cat ate the Dracena plants, then they may also undergo a situation or a phase in which its pupils will become dilated. This is also a very serious sign that the Dracena may damage the cat internally and if too late may even lose the health of the cat.
  5. It may also feel the loss of appetite and depression at a very extreme level if not treated at the right time. This may make the cat so uncontrollable and it may go into an extreme depression soon after that. So, to stop your cat from getting into this stage, you should treat it as soon as you get to know that it has engulfed a Dracena leaf.

All these conditions can be caused to the cats if they eat the Dracena leaves because of a substance present in the Dracena plants that are very dangerous for the pets and especially for the cats. The Dracena plants have a substance called saponin in them that results to be very dangerous for animals if they engulf it.

Growing Microgreen Indoors

Saponin is a chemical compound that is very toxic to animals and can cause a lot of health problems to them if they consume it. That is why all the above harmful results are shown by the animals when they eat a Dracena leaf. So, if you have a pet in your house, especially a cat and a Dracena plant, then make sure to keep both of them away from each other. If your cat does not feel attracted to the plant, then you do not have to worry at all, but if the cat tries to eat the plant again and again, then it’s high time that you separate both of them for the benefit of all the three of you.

It is clear from the above description that Dracena is very harmful and poisonous to cats and other pets in your houses. It is said that ‘Precaution is better than Cure’, and you should take it very seriously when it comes to managing between your Dracena plants and your pets. The pets, especially the cats should be kept to a safer distance from the Dracena plants so that they do not get attracted to eating the Dracena plants and do not harm themselves in any way.

To make sure that your cats are away from the Dracena, you need to keep the plants at the places where cats could not reach easily. They can be kept at heights, hanging in your halls or living rooms, or can be kept in such a room where your cats are prohibited to enter. That will resist them from touching or eating your Dracena plants and get poisoned by them.

So, make sure that you protect your cats and your plants both by keeping them away from each other and taking care of both of them individually.

References

https://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S1518-70122015000100010&script=sci_arttext

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https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/15563659008993487 

https://doi.org/10.1590/1678-4499.20190114

Constance Harrington

Written by Constance Harrington

Constance Harrington is an award-winning and recognized botanist. Harrington has poured hundreds of hours into research (as well as into her own personal gardens and endeavors) and as such has an amazing eye for horticulture and all of its intricacies. She has authored several articles for the website focusing on a vast variety of topics, from basic gardening techniques to more advanced and specific topics for professionals. Constance aims to help with all aspects of your garden—-from technique to economics to culinary—-and she carries with her both the knowledge to do so and the written prowess to explain it to you in an easy to understand way.

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