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Perennials/Italian Heather "Erica Ventricosa"


Hi Tom, my son and daughter in law just bought me an Italian Heather Erica Ventricosa plant.  I'm going to keep it indoors during the cold winter months here in WV but is it poisonous to my cats and dog?

Hi Ginny,
Thanx for your question.  I cannot find any information that leads me to believe any member of the Erica family is poisonous to cats or dogs.  There is a species Calluna which is related to the Ericas that is poisonous but Italian Heather is not calluna.  You can call ASPCA for additional information if this does not satisfy you.

I hope this helps.


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Tom Alonzo


I have been a gardener for 20 years with perennials both growing from seed and from nurseries. I went through the Master Gardener Program from Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service and I answered questions on the Hotline a few years ago for the Wyandotte County Kansas Extension Service. I have also lived in the Florida, California, Hawaii, Arizona, Texas, Kansas and Missouri and am experienced with a variety of climates, soils and weather conditions.


I have been growing perennials for over 20 years now. I am self-taught mostly except for a master gardener class. I have experimented with all kinds of perennials including many that are not common to my area. I have read hundreds of books and grown hundreds of varieties of plants and hope to make it a business some day. I have become versed in botanical names and growing conditions and what I don't know off of the top of my head I can usually easily find in my vast array of research material and botanical and horticultural contacts. I especially enjoy experimenting with growing plants out of zone.

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