According to the University of Florida, more than half of garden nurseries and dedicated flower growers include geraniums in their selection. Experts do not consider this common flower as poisonous to humans, but instead warn of the geranium’s toxicity for dogs and cats.
While botanists do not consider the geranium a highly toxic plant, the leaves can cause minor irritation. Some individuals may experience higher sensitivity to the effects of geranium leaves. The ASPCA includes geranium on their list of plants toxic to dogs and cats.
Geranium leaves can cause contact dermatitis, a mild skin irritation that can include red, swollen, and itchy skin. Irritation generally lasts only a few minutes. Botanists suspect the toxic effects may originate with essential oils present in the leaves. Dogs and cats suffering from geranium poisoning may vomit or experience a reduced appetite or dermatitis.
Gardeners who suspect a reaction to the toxins of geranium leaves should immediately call a family doctor, emergency room or veterinarian. Call the National Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222 for information about potential poisons, but be prepared to describe the plant in question.