Are Hydrangeas Poisonous?

In a recent email, Jerry writes:

Unknown photographer

Unknown photographer

 We just received a beautiful Hydrangea plant and will most likely transplant it outside. The question we have is whether or not the plant is harmful to animals? We have a dog and a kitten…

 Thanks for your help.  —-   Jerry.



Photo by Gail Wright

Photo by Gail Wright


This is a common question I get from people who have children or pets. I honestly don’t think you have to worry. I have received hundreds of emails from people discussing hydrangea problems, I’ve been to conferences on hydrangeas, and I am alert for any reports of toxicity. I have heard of none. Not one word. 

I’ve heard that if the leaves are eaten they might cause a stinging sensation, but I’ve not heard of this actually happening. There is one unsubstantiated report from the 17th or 18th century of a horse dying after eating a bunch of hydrangeas. But, to tell you the truth, I don’t put much stock in that story. Different cultures have different names for plants and stories tend to get distorted over time.

 I have a friend in Belgium who drinks tea make from hydrangea leaves.

So, while I can’t give you a guarantee, I’d be willing to bet there are at least 1000 ways animals and children can find to harm themselves more surely than eating a hydrangea leaf or petal from a bloom. I would be interested in hearing from anyone with more information on this subject.

Judith King


2 Responses to “Are Hydrangeas Poisonous?”

  1. Darla Says:

    I was so glad to find your site! I absolutely love hydrangeas, but have no back yard to plant them in due to our pool and concrete decking. Aside from one corner where I planted a oakleaf hydrangea and it does beautifully!!! So, anyways, this spring I was thinking… I wonder if I can put these beautiful hydrangeas into pots around my pool and deck? Thank you very much for the answer to my question and all of the great information about the clay pots, and pot size and prunning! I will revisit your site anytime I have questions and I will also pass it along!
    Madison, Alabama

  2. hydrangeashoh Says:

    Thank you so much for your kind comments about my site. Yes, hydrangeas can certainly be grown in pots. Purchase the smaller varieties that are more compact, and they will flourish. Best of luck. See you at
    Falls Church, VA

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