Childproofing House Plants

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Preventing 8-month-old from eating soil in houseplants

Feb 2003

My 8 month old is able to climb up on our large indoor plant pot and grab the soil. The soil has fertilizer in it and I'm terrified some of this soil will end up in his mouth. Any ideas on how best to childproof a beautiful indoor plant that sits in the corner of our living room? My husband thinks we should put some bark peices on top of the soil (at least that's better than fertilizer & soil if it ends up in his mouth). Any other recommendations? I looked on the website for advice but couldn't find anything. Thanks! -Tina

When our son starting digging in to the house plants, I cut cardboard circles the same size as the opening of the pot. Then I made a cut into the center and removed a piece of cardboard large enough to accommodate the stem of the plant. I secured the cardboard to the pot with sturdy brown tape. When it's time to water the plant, I water it though the hole in the center of the cardboard that the stem comes through. Anon.
Try covering the pot with either chicken wire or screening, that way the soil can still get water and air while keeping little fingers out! Christine
Move the plant to another room. You can put it back in a year or so. For each of my 3 kids I cleared out 2 floor-standing plants from the living room to the bedroom. Also note, some houseplants are poison. susan
Depending on the size of your plant, you might try cutting a pair of old panty hose and covering the soil with strips of the legs. Attach the ''planty hose'' around the edge of the pot with an elastic band. This will allow you to water the plant, without allowing access to the soil beneath. It might not be the most gorgeous sight in the world, but it will be safer and eventually your child will outgrow his fascination (or start eating your dining set instead) and you can remove the hose. You might also consider putting the bark over the top of the pantyhose if it is too unsightly. Good luck! Plant lover