I am a newbie at this, but I have been doing my homework lately getting ready to set up my indoor container garden.
Most of the plants that I have been wanting, I've researched before buying. But you know how it is, you go to the nursery and see all these beautiful flowers, and think "Ooh pretty". In most cases, I just wrote down the names and came home to do research before buying, and in a lot of cases I ended up ruling those out because they were inappropriate (wrong lighting type, huge plant, poisonous, etc.). I am trying to get plants that are not poisonous, in case my cat eats them.
But today I saw a seemlingly harmless-looking flower (lantana camara), and I made an impulse buy. I brought it home, but little did I know, tonight when I looked it up, I discovered that not only did the plant have the capability of growing to a 6-ft high x 8-ft wide bush (which I think would be important for buyers to know), it would grow as a perennial for years if not killed by frost, all parts of the plant are poisonous, it is known to be a species that is causing a problem as an invasive plant in several states, and to top all of this off, apparently the leaves and flowers generate a smell like cat pee if crushed. None of this was written on the tag! It said "annual" and "full sun" and the name. That's it.
During these past couple of weeks, I have run across at least a half-dozen plants being sold that are toxic, without any kind of warning whatsoever.
I am really appalled at how these nurseries will just try to sell you anything, without mentioning the important fact that your pet might die if it decides to make an afternoon snack of some of the leaves. I think all they care about is to make a buck--not what is good for consumers.
I think the moral of the story is, make sure you research plants before you buy them! Because the places that sell the plants aren't going to tell you anything. Otherwise you could end up with a poisonous 6 foot bush in your livingroom, lol.
I don't remember all of the poisonous ones I found, but lantana camara is poisonous, hyacinths are poisonous (especially the bulb), cineraria is poisonous, and some parts of hydrangeas and cyclamens are poisonous. All of which are beautiful flowers, that I would love to have if I didn't have to worry about my cat maybe eating them.