Is Gardenia Poisonous?

Gardenias have become so popular that they have been used to symbolize spring, love, and romance. However, you might ask? Are they poisonous? Let’s find out the answer in this article!

Is Gardenia Poisonous to Humans?

No, Gardenia is not poisonous to humans. However, its leaves and petals cause an allergic reaction and skin irritation in some people. Symptoms of allergic reaction to Gardenias include sneezing, itching, and redness in the eyes. During a pollen explosion (usually at about the time of flowering), small amounts of Gardenia can be transferred. It causes more intense sneezing and wheezing episodes than you would experience normally.

Furthermore, suppose your hands are always full when picking flowers or taking cuttings from houseplants. In that case, they may carry around with them some fine mist gathered by touching the small, delicate blooms. The mist is not always unpleasant-smelling, but it can really make some people sick.

A DSLR still life photo of a bouquet of fresh white gardenia flowers in a small black ceramic bowl. Background made of brown rustic paper. Selective focus on the flower of the foreground. Soft natural light. Copy space.

Is Gardenia Poisonous to Pets?

Although Gardenias are generally regarded as safe for most animals, some species may be allergic. These plants should not be eaten by horses, guinea pigs, cats, or dogs. This plant has no effect on the majority of other kinds of animals. You must select a variety and cultivar of Gardenia that does not contain high amounts of the toxin limonin. It is essential to keep your four-legged friends away from all parts of the plant once they are in bloom because even their breath may cause damage or illness if ingested.

Toxic Properties in Gardenias

  • The berries’ alkaloids
  • Foliage and flower crocetin
  • There are a variety of glycosides and geniposides in the plant.
  • The entire plant contains geniposidic acid, which is known as genipin.
  • Sap and berries contain saponins.

Symptoms of Gardenia Poisoning to Pets

Nervous system

  • Depression
  • Partial blindness
  • Convulsions
  • Coma


  • Blood pressure is low
  • Extremely low body temperature
  • Irregular heartbeat


  • Nausea
  • Pain in the stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Food aversion
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea


  • Hives or a red rash
  • Excessive perspiration 
  • Irregular gait
gardening, planting and flora concept – close up of plant white Gardenia in pots at greenhouse

What Should You Do If Your Pet Is Poisoned by Gardenia?

Diagnosis of Gardenia Poisoning in Dogs

If your dog ate any part of a gardenia plant, you should take him to the vet right away. If you can’t get an appointment, go to a veterinary hospital or clinic because even if you don’t see symptoms, the toxins may be doing damage. Take a photo or a sample of the plant to show the vet. Bring your pet’s medical records, but mention any medications and recent illnesses if you don’t have them.

First, your dog’s blood pressure, temperature, weight, heart rate, and breath sounds will be checked. Your pet’s ears, eyes, nose, and mouth may be examined. Urine and stool samples will be needed to look for fungi and parasites.

Blood tests include BUN, creatinine, packed cell volume, hematocrit, complete blood count, liver panel, and chemistry profile. Abdominal x-rays are usually taken to check for blockages or organ damage. An ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI may be used to get a better look.


Gardenia poisoning is treated with emesis, IV fluids, medication, and observation.


Toxins are removed from your dog’s body by inducing emesis (vomiting). Your dog will be given a peroxide or ipecac solution to vomit. Toxins can be absorbed with activated charcoal, and excess plant residue can be rinsed with gastric lavage.


The vet will use an IV line to flush the kidneys. This will also help prevent dehydration.


Depending on how your dog responds to treatment, the vet may give stomach protectants or other medications via IV.


If your dog ate a lot of gardenia berries or the treatment isn’t working, an overnight hospital stay may be required. But you can see your dog from home.


Even if your dog ate the berries, the prognosis is good if treated promptly. The Gardenia contains several toxins, but they are rarely fatal unless your dog is already sick or you do not treat it. Keep an eye on your pet for a few days, and call your vet if you have any questions about treatment or recovery.

Diagnosis of Gardenia Poisoning in Cats

Call your vet right away if you saw your cat chewing on a Gardenia. If your cat vomits and you didn’t see him chewing on the plant, try to collect a sample so the vet can look for plant fragments. Describe all symptoms and tell your vet when you first noticed them.

Since there is no test for gardenia poisoning, the diagnosis is usually made by describing the symptoms. In cases where the cat owner is unsure of the cause of the illness, the vet may examine the cat’s stomach to determine what was eaten. There are dozens of plants that are toxic to cats, so the vet may inquire about your cat’s outdoor time and the plants in your yard.


Treatment for gardenia poisoning in cats begins immediately. If your cat’s symptoms are mild, your vet may only treat his discomfort and naturally let the toxins leave his system. To prevent further vomiting and diarrhea, kapectolin or sucralfate can be given.

The vet may induce vomiting to remove the remaining toxins in more severe cases. Oral administration of 3% hydrogen peroxide causes vomiting. This will ensure that your cat’s stomach is empty. The vet may also give your cat activated charcoal, absorbing toxins that haven’t made it into the bloodstream.

If your cat is vomiting excessively, your vet may use an IV to provide fluids and balance his electrolytes.


Gardenia poisoning rarely causes serious complications or death, so your cat should be fine. The vet may ask you to keep your cat after treatment to monitor vital signs and conditions in severe cases. In most cases, your cat can go home with you right after treatment.

Consult your vet about your cat’s diet in the days following treatment. Your vet may advise a softer diet with lots of fluids for a while.

Gardenias should also be removed from your home and yard. If you suspect your neighbors have gardenias, keep your cat indoors to avoid further exposure.

How To Protect Your Pets From Gardenia

The best way is to keep your pet away from this plant or try not to let them chew on it. Don’t leave them alone in the yard, kennel, or garage either, so they can’t get access to these plants when you’re not around!