Are Rose of Sharon Poisonous?

Roses of Sharon are beautiful additions to any sunny garden.  It’s always wise to research the toxicity of a new plant before introducing it to your family and pets. While there are some reports online of dogs with stomach upsets after ingesting Hibiscus syriacus, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals lists it as non-toxic in its database. That classification is for humans, dogs, cats, and horses. There are no reports of it being fatal. 


Are Rose of Sharon Poisonous to Children?

Roses of Sharon is in the Hibiscus family which includes an annual hibiscus used often to make a rosy-pink tea with a flower-forward flavor. This is a very different plant, but several sources cite all parts of the rose of Sharon plant as edible. The leaves, buds, and flowers are said to be mild-flavored and can be used in salads, and the buds can be used as an okra stand-in.

Are Rose of Sharon Poisonous to Dogs?

While the ASPCA states unequivocally that rose of Sharon is safe and non-toxic for dogs, some online articles mention that dogs can suffer some upset digestive symptoms or drooling if enough is consumed. One article says the leaves taste good to dogs, rather than bitter. Usually, puppies are the most experimental about trying out new tastes. If you are concerned about your pup, think about creating a wire frame around your young shrub while your puppy matures. It’s always a good idea to monitor what your puppy is eating in the garden anyway.

Are Roses of Sharon Poisonous to Cats?

Happily, cats seem unaffected by roses of Sharon. The ASPCA clearly writes that rose of Sharon is not poisonous to cats. So, you should be able to let your kitten or cat out in the garden near the plants.

Are Rose of Sharon Poisonous to Other Animals?

We did find one reference to Hibiscus syriacus being toxic to horses – but we believe it is outdated information. The site is referencing a 2014 ASPCA notation, which links now to an updated page that specifies rose of Sharon is non-toxic to horses.

We found no references to rose of Sharon poisoning for pigs, cattle or other livestock.

If You Suspect Rose of Sharon Poisoning

Again, the most credible sources indicate rose of Sharon is not just non-toxic, but even tasty for human consumption, as well as for dogs, cats, horses and livestock. However, if you suspect poisoning of any kind, always check with your doctor or veterinarian for guidance immediately.

Preventing Rose of Sharon Poisoning

Although signs point to rose of Sharon being safe to consume, if you want to keep young children or pets away from your plant, there are steps you can take to be extra cautious. 

  1. You can create a barrier made of strong-gauge wire, such as cattle or pig fencing, around the shrub. 
  2. You can spray pepper sprays on the plant. 
  3. You can plant thorny walls nearby of berberis or carpet roses, to discourage exploratory browsing. 

Pet Poison Helpline

If something were to happen to your furry friend, and you suspect that they are suffering from poisoning, call this Pet Poison Hotline Pet Poison Hotline for 24/7 vet advice. The phone number is (855) 764-7661.

Click here for a complete list of Pet Safe Plants.

Sources: "Rose of Sharon." American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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Author Erica Browne Grivas - Published 2-22-2022