Pick Your Poison: Tips for Planting a Poison Garden

Pick Your Poison: Tips for Planting a Poison Garden

Last year saw a massive surge of people starting gardens. It gave people something to do and a chance to get outside. Plus, it made the home a more pleasant place. While many are likely setting aside their gardens as the world reopens, others are looking for new ways to stretch out their green thumbs.

If this is you, you’ve likely been looking for unique garden ideas: new plants, new themes, and new designs. But if you’re truly looking for the unconventional, we have one word for you: poison. Intrigued? Read on for our tips for planting a poison garden.

What Is a Poison Garden?

A poison garden is exactly what the name suggests: a garden filled with plants that are toxic in some way. You can call it bizarre, but it isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. Countless plants in the average garden are poisonous already. This idea simply explores the powerful capabilities of plants in the tradition of the famous Alnwick Gardens in the United Kingdom.

Tips for Planting a Poison Garden

Weigh the Risks

Naturally, there is a certain level of danger in planting a garden filled with poison, and it isn’t for every lifestyle. For instance, if you have small children who live on or around your property, a poison garden may not be a responsible choice for you. Similarly, you may want to avoid it if you have pets or if you live in a neighborhood where people’s pets are known to roam.

Pick Your Poison

This is the fun part of any planting venture: choosing the residents of your garden. And just because these residents are of a particularly perilous variety doesn’t mean they have to look grotesque or morbid. For example, the Carolina cherry laurel makes lovely hedging with bright berries that smell like maraschino cherries—but they’re filled with cyanide. Here are a few visually appealing poisonous plants you can incorporate:

  • Angel’s Trumpet
  • Monkshood (Wolfsbane)
  • Morning glory
  • Azaleas
  • Star of Bethlehem
  • Toad lily
  • Deadly nightshade

Look For a Sign

Like we said, poison gardens don’t necessarily look like something out of a witch’s bog. Typically, they look like any other garden, and an outside observer might not be able to tell the difference. If you want to keep passersby safe, you must label your poison garden. You can label individual plants as poisonous or take a cue from the Alnwick Gardens and set up cautionary fencing.

Pro Tip

Many poisonous plants are lethal even in seed form. Take extra care when labeling and storing your seeds.

Handle With Care

Unfortunately, eating poison isn’t the only way for it to hurt you. Daffodils, for instance, cause an uncomfortable rash called daffodil itch when handled. When you’re planting or weeding around the plants in your poison garden, be sure to wear gloves at all times. And if you have a non-poisonous garden on your premises, make sure the two gardens stay separated.

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