are ferns safe for birds

The houseplants we use to brighten our homes arent always safe for those who have pet birds, as many plants are toxic to our feathered friends. Depending on the size of the bird and how much of the plant the bird ingests, a toxic plant can cause anything from mild illness, such as temporary digestive upset, to sudden death. Fortunately, there are several houseplants bird owners can enjoy without having to worry about their pets.

Many houseplants are toxic to our feathered friends, so even those who use them as houseplants to brighten their spaces may not be safe for pet birds. A poisonous plant can cause anything from a minor illness, like a brief upset in the digestive system, to sudden death, depending on the size of the bird and the amount of the plant it consumes. Thankfully, bird owners can enjoy a variety of houseplants without having to worry about their pets.

Below is a list of lists that have been compiled from various reliable sources. Please speak with your Certified Avian Veterinarian if you have any questions concerning the safety of any plant, including those on this list.

Depending on your region, plant names may vary. If you are unsure of the identity of a plant species, consult a nursery. Any plant overindulged in is likely to be unhealthy, especially for smaller birds. Look out for any signs of mold growth, pesticides, and harmful fertilizers that were applied to your plants.

Acokanthera – Acokanthera spp. (all parts toxic, except ripe fruit) Amaryllis – Amaryllis spp. Angel’s Trumpet – Datura spp. Apple: Malus spp. Apricot: Prunus armeniaca (pits, leaves, and bark) Bitter Melon – Momordica charantia Baneberry – Actaea rubra, Avocado – Persea Americana Azalea – Rhododendron canadenis Balsam Pear Pachypoda Belladonna, Atropa belladonna, Poinciana, Bird of Paradise, and Associated Species Bittersweet – Celastrus spp. Black Locust – Robinia pseudoacacia Boxwood – Boxus spp. Buckthorn, Karwinskia humboldtiana, Pteridium aquilinum, Braken Fern, and related species Burdock – Arctium spp. Buttercup – Ranunculus spp. Caladium – Caladium spp. Cherry – Prunus spp. Calla Lily – Zantedeschia aethiopica Catclaw Acacia – Acacia greggii (twigs and leaves) Caster Bean – Ricinus communis (pits, leaves, and bark) Clematis – Clematis montana and related species; Chinaberry – Melia azadarach Coral plants: Jatropha mutifida; autumnal crocuses: Cholochicum autumnale; sago or Cycas revoluta; daffodils: Narcissus tazetta; dapis: Daphne mezerum; death camas: Zigadenus venenosus and related species; Delphinium: Delphinium spp. Dieffenbachia spp. (dumb cane) – Epipremnum aureum Dieffenbachia Elderberry: Sambucus mexicana (roots, leaves, stems, bark) Eggplant: Solonum melongena (unripe/ripe fruit, leaves) Taro, or elephant’s ears: Colocasia spp. Euonymus – Euonymus spp. European Pennyroyal – Mentha pulegium Figs – Ficus spp. (sap) Four o’clock – Mirabilis jalapa Heliotrope – Heliotropium spp. Holly: Ilex aquifolium Henbane: Hyoscyamus niger Holly and related species (leaves, berries) Horse Chestnut – Aesculus hippocastanum and related spp. Solanum carolinense, or horse nettle; Hyacinthus orientalis; Hydrangea; Hydrangea spp. Iris – Iris spp. Ivy – Hedera spp. (Boston, English and some others) Jack-in-the-Pulpit – Arisaema spp. Jerusalem Cherry – Solanum pseudocapsicum and related spp. (leaves, seeds, and flowers) Juniper – Juniperus spp. Jonquil – Narcissus jonquilla Lantana – Lantana camara Larkspur – Delphinium spp. Laurel – Kalmia spp. Lily-of-the-Valley – Convalleria majalis Lobelia – Lobelia spp. Locoweed – Astragalus spp. and Oxytopis spp. Lupine – Lupinus spp. Marijuana – Cannabis sativa Milkweed – Asclepias spp. Monkshood – Aconitum spp. Mistletoe – Phoradendron villosum Moonseed – Menispermum canadense Morning Glory – Ipomoea violacea (seeds) Mushrooms – Amanita spp. And many others Narcissus – Narcissus spp. Oak – Quercus spp. Nerium oleander, oleander; Prunus persica (leaves, pit, bark); Pyrus spp., pears; (leaves, seeds, and bark) Vinca minor and Vinca rosea Periwinkle, Peony, Lophophora williamsii, and Philodendron, Philodendron spp. and Monstera spp. Plum – Prunus spp. Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum (leaves, pit, bark) Poison Ivy, Toxicodendron radicans, including T rydbergii Poison Oak – Toxicodendron querciflium and T. Poinsettia – Euphorbia pulcherrima Poppy – Papaver somniferum and related species; diversilobum Poison Sumac – Rhux vernix Pothos: Eprimemnum aureum Primrose: Prmula spp. Pokeweed: Phytolacca Americana Potato: Solanum tuberosum (sprouts, leaves, berries, green tubers) Ligustrum vulgare (privet), Senecio jacobea (ragwort), and other related species Red Maple – Acer rubrum Rhododendron – Rhododendron spp. The plants that make up the shamrock plant are Medicago lupulina, Trifolium repens, Oxalis acetosella, Symplocarpus foetidus, Snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, Sorrel, and Rumex spp. For the leaves of the rhubarb plant, use Rheum rhabarbarum. , Oxalis spp. Spurges – Euphorbia spp. Ornithogalum umbellatum Sweet Pea Lathyrus odoratus Tobacco Nicotiania spp. Star of Bethlehem Tulip – Tulipa spp. Tomato – Lycopersicon esculentum (stems and leaves) Virginia Creeper – Panthenocissus quinquefolia Vetches – Vicia spp. Water Hemlock – Cicuta spp. Waxberry – Symphoricarpos albus Wisteria – Wisteria spp. Yew – Taxus spp.

Abelia – Abelia spp. Acacia – Acacia spp. (A few species) African Violet: Saintpaulina spp. African Daisy: Arctotis stoechadifolia Aluminum Plant – Pilea cadierei Aloe – Aloe spp. (fresh only) Aralia – Aralia spp. Arbutus – Arbutus spp. Areca, Butterfly Cane – Areca lutescens Ash – Fraxinus spp. Asparagus Fern – Asparagus densiflorus Aspen – Populus spp. Aspidistra – Aspidistra spp. Australian Laurel aka Mock Orange – Philadelphus spp. Helxine soleirolli Baby’s Tears; Gypsophila paniculata Baby’s Breath; Centaurea cyanus Bachelor Buttons; Barberry; Berberis spp. Beech – Fagus, Nothofagus Begonia – Begonia spp. Birch – Betula spp. Iresine herbstii and related species Blood Leaf Plant, Asplenium nidus, Bird’s Nest Fern Boston Fern – Nephrolepsis bostoniensis Bougainvillea – Bougainvillea spp. Calamint – Calamintha spp. Brake, Ribbon, Dish – Pteris cretica Bromeliads – Anans comosus California Holly – Heteromeles arbutifolia Calendula (Pot Marigold) – Calendula officinalis Camellia – Camellia spp. Kangaroo Vines – Cissus spp. Chamomile – Chamaemelum nobile Chickweed – Cerastium vulgatum, Stellaria media Chicory – Chichorium intybus Cissus Coffee Tree: Coffea arabica (coffee is toxic); Claw Cactus: Schlumbergera truncata; Coleus: Coleus blumei; Comfrey: Symphytum officinalis; Corn Plant: Dracaena fragrans; Cottonwood: Populus spp. Crabapple – Malus spp. (fruit only) Creeping Jenny – Lysimachia spp. Croton – Codiaeum variegatum (house variety) Dahlia – Dahlia spp. Daylily – Hemerocallis spp.; Dandelion – Taraxacum officinalis; Date – Phoenix dactylifera; Dill – Anethum graveolen Dogwood – Cornus spp. Donkey Tail – Sedum morganianum Dracaena – Dracaena spp. Dragon Tree – Dracaena draco Easter Cactus – Rhipsalidopsis spp. Elderberry – Sambucus spp. (cooked ripe fruit only) Elm – Ulmus spp. European Fan – Chamaerops humilis Fir – Abies spp. Gold Dust Dracaena – Dracaena godseffiana Echeveria – Echeveria spp. Elephant Foot Tree – Beaucarnea recurvata Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus sp. Eugenia – Eugenia spp. Species of grape vine: Cissus rhombifolia; Gardenia jasminoides Gloxinia; Sinningia speciosa; Vitis spp. Hens and Chicks – Echeveria and Sempervivum sp. Honeysuckle – Lonicera spp. Hibiscus – Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (and related species) Hoya – Hoya spp. Impatiens – Impatiens spp. Indian Hawthorne – Rhaphiolepsis spp. Larch – Larix spp. Lilac – Syringa vulgaris and related species; Lemon Balm – Melissa officinalis; Lilly (Easter or Tiger) – Lilium spp. Magnolia – Magnolia spp. Maidenhair Fern – Adiantum spp. Monkey Plant: Ruellia spp. Manzanita – Arctostapylos manzanita Mayapple – Podophyllum peltatum (fruit only) Araucaria excelsa Orchids Brazilian, Fly, Christmas, Cocktail, Dancing Doll, Easter, Fiery Reed, Tiger, Ghost Leafless, Golden Lace, Golden Shower, Jewel, Lace, Leopard, Old World, Pansy, Rainbow, Scarlet, Spice, Tailed Parsley – Petroselinum spp. Moses-in-the-Cradle – Rhoeo spathacea Moth Orchid – Phalaenopsis orchid Nandina – Nandina domestica Nasturtium – Tropaeolum majus Natal Plum – Carissa macrocarpa Nerve Plant Peperomia – Peperomia spp. Peppermint – Mentha x piperita Passionflower – Passiflora caerulea Petunia – Petunia spp. Pony Tail Palm – Beaucarnea recurvata Popular – Populus spp. Purple Passion, Gynura aurantiaca Pyracantha, and Prayer Plant, Maranta leuconeura Pyracantha spp. Raphiolepsis – Raphiolepis spp. Rose – Rosa spp. Rubber plant (Ficus elastica), Russian olive (Elaeagnus augustifolia), spruce (Chlorophytum comosum Spruce), mesquite (Mentha spicata), and picea spp. are non-toxic plants, but be cautious around thorns. Sword Fern – Nephrolepis exaltata Thistle – Plectranthus australis Squirrel’s Foot Fern – Davallia trichomanoides Staghorn, Elk’s Horn – Platycerium bifurcatum Star Jasmine – Trachelospermum jasminoides String of Beads – Senecio rowleyanus Swedish Ivy Ti Plant – Cordyline terminalis Violet – Viola spp. Wandering Jew – Tradescantia fluminensis Willow – Salix spp. Zebra Plant – Aphelandra squarrosa.

Download the 8½” x 11″ Common Bird-safe House Plants Flyer: PDF | JPG


What plants are toxic to birds?

Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)
Roots, leaves, berries
Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum)
Stem, leaves, sprouts, green skins
Rhododendron (Rhodedendron simsii), Rhododendron species (Azalea)
All parts
Tobacco (Nicotiana spp.)
All parts