The Q&A Archives: Rhododendron Toxicity

Question: I have a garden site selected between two large rhododendrons. However I read that if ingested a rhododendron can kill a child. (I have two small children) Does this mean the soil is contaminated also or is it just the flowers that pose the danger? I do plan a raised bed but should I simply not plant there at all?

Answer: All parts of Rhododendrons are toxic if ingested, but having the plants in close proximity to a vegetable garden will not contaminate the soil or the crops grown there. You may be surprised to learn that the leaves of Rhubarb are poisonous, but the stalk is safe to eat when cooked. As with all plants in the garden, discourage your children from picking and tasting at random. Point out the plants that are safe to pick and eat, or plant a special bed in the garden that your children can safely harvest on their own.

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