Foxglove flower could poison your other plants

(KFVS) - Now that it's gardening season again, you may want to be aware of certain flowers that can be hazardous to you and your family's health. One flower that you may want to keep out of your garden is the foxglove.

Foxglove is a beautiful flower that takes two years to bloom according to Plantscape Nursery manager, Margie Rehagen. They can come in a number of colors from pink to yellow and grow in shady, wooded areas normally, she said.  Although it can be dangerous due to the toxins that naturally come from the plant.

The toxins in the plant have been used by doctors for years to create medicines to lower patient's heart rates according to Shawnee Health Services Doctor, Jeff Ripperda.

"We use it to slow the heart down," Ripperda said, "but sometimes it can slow the heart down a little too much."

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Dr. Ripperda and Rehagen say it's okay to handle the plant. The real danger comes from ingesting it. Although you're probably not going to just eat a flower growing in your garden, they say the toxins can transfer over to other plants you may eat through the soil.

Dr. Ripperda says there are always at least a few cases every year where someone is hospitalized from ingesting the toxins found in foxgloves, but the symptoms are fairly obvious, particularly if the doctor treating you for it knows you're a gardener.

"They're gonna feel nauseated, they're going to be feeling just generally unwell, and their heart is going to be going too slow," he said.

If you want to have foxglove in your garden, that's okay, just play it safe. Dr. Ripperda and Rehagen say you should just keep it separated by at least 20 feet from your other plants. If you have kids and animals, you should ensure they can't get into them.

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