Harmful plants and pesticides

Common garden plants and chemicals used in the garden can harm people, animals and the environment. Plan your garden and be aware of what you are planting. Avoid pest plants and weeds. Look for alternatives to pesticides to maintain your garden and keep your loved ones safe.

Harmful plants and insects

Many common garden plants and insects can be toxic to young children or pets. Symptoms can range from a rash to poisoning if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. If poisoning occurs always seek urgent medical attention.

For more information about poisonous plants and insects:

Pest plant species declared by the state

Declared plants are those identified by the Queensland Government as undesirable species are listed in the Biosecurity Act 2014. In the Brisbane Local Government Area a management plan, the Biosecurity Plan for the Brisbane Local Government Area, has been developed to detail how invasive species will be managed within the Brisbane area.

For information about state declared pest plant species, view the Queensland Government's Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website.


Identify the pest and use the most specific and lowest impact approach to control it.

Common garden chemicals and synthetic pesticides can be dangerous to plants, aquatic life, pets and children if used incorrectly.

Always follow the instructions carefully and avoid using pesticides wherever possible.

Remember not to use pesticides on a windy day or before rain. Chemicals may drift onto plants or wash into our waterways.

Environmentally-friendly alternatives to pesticides

Here are some alternatives to using pesticides:

  • spray plants with natural insect controls such as garlic spray, white oil or dishwashing detergent mixed with water
  • create a garden that attracts ladybirds or predatory mites who will eat pests
  • encourage insect-eating birds by providing a suitable habitat
  • prevent damage to citrus trees by circling the trunk with grease to reduce the damage of some sapsuckers. Cover fruit to deter larger chewing insects
  • try companion planting and choose plants that attract insect predators or release certain chemicals (such as marigolds)
  • prevention is best. Keep plants healthy, weed-free and disease-resistant. Select plants less susceptible to insect invasion
  • use natural pesticides such as pyrethrin and derris. Use them carefully and sparingly, as they too can cause environmental harm
  • to reduce fungal problems, remove old leaves and avoid watering leaf surfaces.
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