There are some native plants and shrubs that are beautiful and vibrant and a joy to see. There are some of those that are quite toxic however to the pets that you love. Keep a special eye on your pets if you have any of the following shrubs in your landscape.
Sambucus nigra L. ssp. canadensis (L.) R. Bolli (Common Elderberry, European Black Elderberry)
This shrub gets up to 8-10 feet tall with an equal spread zone. It is from the Honeysuckle family. It has small white flowers in late spring to mid summer. Full sun is preferable, with moist acidic soil. There are multiple stems that arch and berry like fruit that birds love. The fruit can be made into jam. Elderberry makes a good privacy fence if you group them. Propagate them by woody stem cuttings. BEWARE: Some parts may be poisonous if ingested.
Rhododendron catawbiense Michx. (Catawba Rosebay)
This shrub gets up to 6-10 feet tall and has a spread of 6-8 feet. It is part of the Heath family of plants. It prefers light shade and acidic soils. There is shiny evergreen foliage and has average water needs. There are pink, red, or violet flowers in spring. BEWARE: Parts are poisonous if ingested.
Rhododendron periclymenoides (Michx.) Shinners (Pink Azalea)
This shrub gets up to 3-6 feet tall and has a 3-8 foot spread. It likes partial shade and acidic moist soil. It is a member of the Heath family of plants. It has fragrant pink flowers in mid spring to early summer. Its deciduous foliage is leathery. It’s a good solid azalea choice for blooms and foliage. BEWARE: Parts are poisonous if ingested.
Rhododendron viscosum (L.) Torr. (Swamp Azalea)
This shrub gets up to 4-6 feet tall and has an equal spread. It is a member of the Heath family of plants. It prefers light shade and acidic moist soil. Its fragrant pink, white, or yellow flowers appear in late winter to early spring. There is deciduous foliage. You can propagate this by semi hardwood cuttings. BEWARE: Parts are poisonous if ingested.
Physocarpus opulifolius (Common Ninebark)
This shrub gets up to 4-10 feet tall and needs 4-6 feet spacing. It is a member of the Rose family of plants. It loves full sun to partial shade and is good in all soil types. It has average watering needs. Its blooms are pale pink to white and appear mid spring to early summer. It’s a drought tolerant shrub. BEWARE: All parts are poisonous if ingested.
Hydrangea arborescens L. (Wild Hydrangea)
This shrub gets up to 4-6 feet tall with an equal spacing zone. It prefers full sun to partial shade and moist acidic soil. It’s white to off white blooms come mid summer to mid fall. The blooms are quite large and may bend without proper stalking. You can cut back this in fall for better growth. Propagate it by stem cuttings. This does well in dried floral arrangements. BEWARE: The ASPCA issues an animal warning for this plant. It increases a pet’s heart rate and body temperature, invokes vomiting, and can bring on the onset of depression. All parts are poisonous if ingested.