Q: We planted a ‘Sugarland’ oleander recently. Our neighbor informed us it was poisonous to kids or pets and we have both. I find it difficult to believe a home improvement store would sell a poisonous plant with no warning on the label. What say you?
A: I hate to be a smart aleck, but these stores sell dangerous power tools without much more than a “Keep Away from Children” label. It is true that oleander is poisonous but, to varying degrees, so are yaupon holly, Carolina jessamine, foxglove and wisteria. All are commonly sold without warning labels. If you have young pets or children, who might chew the stems of oleander, remove the shrubs. If the dogs and children are older and less likely to have accidental contact, put a small fence around your oleander to remind everyone of its toxicity while you enjoy the blooms. You can get a useful list of poisonous plants at Poisonous Plants of North Carolina
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