You Can Eat Tomato Leaves and Stems (No, Really)

Newly added

Halo-halo: Why I want to always eat dessert with Yasmin Newman 4 days ago Peanut caramel chocolate tart 5 days ago Vegetarian chickpea curry 5 days ago Episode guide | The Cook Up with Adam Liaw S2 | Episodes 11 to 20 5 days ago

Common and Difficult to Identify: Cutworms

Cutworms are good-sized moth caterpillars that hide in the soil during the day and come out to feed at night. They get their common name from the way that some species specialize in eating the stems of plants just above the soil line, causing healthy plants to topple over.

Identifying cutworms by species is very tricky, as most species look a lot alike. A cutworm infestation can seem like a slug problem, except cutworms typically eat the edge of the leaves, not the middle, and they do not leave a slime trail. They can be very hard to catch in the act since they only feed at night and are well-camouflaged as they hide by day among the dirt and debris in a garden bed.

The best way to control cutworms, as with many garden pests, is with diatomaceous earth. This is an all-organic, non-chemical substance made from the fossilized remains of tiny creatures called diatoms; the jagged silicon shells damage the outer "skin" of crawling insects, killing them.

  • What They Are: Cutworms are the larvae of brown moths, often called "darts."
  • How to Tell: Damage to leaves with no apparent cause; plants that topple over from having their stems "cut" by the feeding caterpillars.
  • What to Do: Dust with diatomaceous earth.

The cabbage white butterfly's caterpillar eats almost everything in your garden.


Can Puppies Eat Tomatoes?

Yes, puppies can eat tomatoes if they are old enough to eat solid food. The feeding practices are the same for puppies as mature dogs. However, if your puppy is under 6 months old, you may want to stick with strict puppy food instead.

Make sure to introduce tomatoes slowly with small amounts and then monitor your pup afterwards.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Tomatoes?

Bearded dragons can eat tomatoes, but they shouldn’t do so more than once a month.

People often have concerns when it comes to feeding tomatoes to bearded dragons. Many keepers want to know if bearded dragons can eat tomatoes. 

Feeding bearded dragons tomatoes is okay, as long
Feeding bearded dragons tomatoes is okay, as long as you don’t allocate too much tomato in their diet.

As is usual when combining the words, “bearded dragon” and “fruit” the answer is “Yes, but”.

Once a month is as often as is safe.

You should never give your bearded dragon more than a few small pieces. Bearded dragons can eat roughly one-quarter of a tomato per month.

Tomatoes contain high amounts of acid and the wrong ratio of calcium to phosphorous, which can lead to health concerns for your beardie (more about that later).

Always buy organic tomatoes, because pesticides can be lethal to bearded dragons.

Never give your beardie green tomatoes; they contain a toxic chemical.

Myth #3: Dogs have died eating tomato leaves, so theyre definitely poisonous

Somewhere along the way, you may have heard a story of someone’s dog dying because it ate a bunch of green tomatoes or tomato leaves. But is this cause for concern for you?

Here’s the deal: tomatine can be deadly for a dog if eaten in large quantities.

And the last part of that sentence is key—in large quantities.

Whether or not tomato leaves can kill a dog is very much a dose-dependent issue. As most pet owners know, dogs eat all kinds of crazy things and don’t really know when to stop.

If they have unrestricted access to your garden and haven’t been trained to stay away from plants, it’s very possible they’ll chow down all your tomatoes, leaves and all.

For small dogs, especially, this amount of ingestion can cause diarrhea and vomiting at best, or a hospital visit in the worst-case scenario. This goes for many other plants in your house and garden, not just tomato plants.

(The list of plants that are toxic to dogs is long and surprising: lemongrass, chamomile, tarragon, borage, milkweed, purslane, and various parts of apples, peaches, and grapefruits.)

Does toxicity to a dog equal toxicity to humans? Far from it.

There are other foods we eat freely that are known to be poisonous to dogs, such as chocolate, grapes, raisins, garlic, and onions. But the substances that are harmful to dogs don’t do the same damage to humans.

To date, there’s scant evidence in veterinary literature regarding the toxicity of tomato leaves. One study in Israel examined the possibility of livestock poisoning by feeding tomato vines to cattle for 42 days, but found no ill effects.

Natural Insecticide

Are you troubled with aphids?

Are you troubled with aphids?

Grab a few handfuls of tomato leaves, around two cups, and toss them in a food processor or blender. Pulse them a few times and then put them in a quart jar. Fill the rest of the jar with water, put the lid on the jar and give it a good shake. After 24 hours, strain the chopped leaves and put the resulting liquid in a spray bottle.


You’ve got a natural aphid insecticide. The naturally occurring alkaloids found in tomatoes are toxic to those tiny green bugs, but the spray is safe to use around people and pets.

You’ll want to mist infected plants well, especially the undersides of the leaves where the little pests like to hide.

If you want to declare an all-out war on aphids, I highly suggest ordering ladybugs and releasing them in your garden.

How To Release Ladybugs Into Your Garden (& Why You Should)

The Downside of Tomatoes

The reason why there is a general uncertainty when surrounding dogs and tomatoes is due to a certain substance tomatoes incorporates – Solanine. This substance can be found in higher levels in the leaves and the stem of the tomato. Solanine is also present in the red tomato as well, just in smaller quantities. The possession of Solanine in the tomatoes, leaves, and stem should be assessed before given to a dog, and researched to learn about the possible side effects of the substance.  Knowing in advance what to expect from the random substances within the tomato may help alleviate any anxiety you may feel given your pet a new food for the first time.

Furthermore, tomatoes contain another substance called tomatine.  This substance is one in which that has been proven to be unsafe for dogs’ heart health. Besides the concern of heart health in your pet, tomatine is believed to be quite poorly absorbed by a dogs’ intestinal tract. These potential complications from tomatine do not occur in all dogs and should not be the sole reason for withholding the otherwise beneficial tomato. However, in order for your dog to suffer from the detriments of this substance, your dog would basically have to eat massive amounts of tomatoes.  Serving small amounts of tomato to your dog will not put the pup in danger of consuming a poisonous amount of solanine or tomatine.

To be careful and err on the side of caution,  it is advisable to try keeping your dog away from the tomatoes in your garden (if you have them).   Being left alone with a garden of tomatoes may allow a dog unfettered access to the fruit and cause over consumption.  If you are without a tomato garden, you may moderate consumption simply by keeping the tomato treats to a minimum and your dog will be just fine.

Are potato leaves toxic?

Unlike some other vegetable plants, however, the only edible part a potato produces is the tuber. Potato leaves can be toxic and even some other parts of the plant can cause problems given the right conditions. That’s because potatoes protect themselves with solanine.

Recent Posts

Leafcutter Ants and Bees

Leafcutter ants are rarely a major problem except in the far South, where they can strip an entire small tree of all of its leaves in a few days. Identifying leafcutter ant damage is not very difficult—what to do about them is another matter. They are notoriously hard to control.

Leafcutter bees, on the other hand, can be found across North America. They cut nearly perfect circles from the edges of leaves and use the material to feed their young. It's unusual for leafcutter bees to cause enough damage to truly make an impact, and controlling them is nearly impossible. But if you have noticed geometrically accurate circles being carved from your leaf margins, then it's most likely the work of leafcutter bees.

  • What They Are: Bees and ants that cut up leaves for their nests.
  • How to Tell: Large numbers of ants carrying away pieces of leaf or small, circular bites taken from leaf edges.
  • What to Do: There are no great solutions to control these insects.

The spotted version of the asparagus beetle.


Once you’ve finished pruning your plants, give them a bit of fertilizer. Be sure whatever you choose is low in nitrogen but high in potassium and phosphorus. Otherwise, you’ll just be encouraging more leaves and vines!

Bone meal is a good later summer fertilizing option. My favorite fertilizer for fruiting and blooming plants is Alaska Morbloom. With an NPK ratio of 0-10-10, it’s a perfect option. I buy a gallon jug and end up going through the entire thing each growing season.

Before the first trim.
Before the first trim.
After the first trim.
After the first trim.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Tomato Leaves and Stems? 

Tomatoes are actually part of the nightshade family. Their stems, leaves, flowers, and vines all contain alkaloids, which are extremely poisonous. Definitely do not give any of these to your beardie!

Tomatine Poisoning Symptoms to Look For:

  • Loss of coordination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle weakness
  • Hypersalivation
  • Dilated pupils
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cardiac effects (arrhythmia, irregular heartbeats)
  • Gastrointestinal upset (diarrhea, vomiting)

Thankfully, tomatine poisoning is rare in dogs and usually isn’t fatal. Most dogs that have experienced tomatine poisoning fully recover.

Veterinarians can do a full physical examination of your dog and do blood work or an ECG to diagnose tomato poisoning. If dogs have tomatine poisoning, veterinarians may induce vomiting or monitor them.

Some dogs may show an allergic reaction to tomatoes. This is also rare, but symptoms can include hives, coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.

If you think your canine companion has eaten a large amount of tomatoes or the tomato plant itself, call your veterinarian for guidance. Sometimes these symptoms can be a sign of other series health conditions beyond tomatine poisoning, so it’s important to get them checked out as soon as possible in case things turn serious.

Saving Effected Foods to Eat

The good news: Late blight cannot infect humans, so depending on when you're able to salvage your tomatoes or potatoes, they are safe to eat. If blight lesions are evident, you can simply cut those parts off the tomato or potato and use them as normal. However, keep in mind that the late blight infection may reach the plant before it has had the opportunity to completely ripen and, oftentimes, it will not progress once infected. Therefore, you may be unable to let the plant ripen further as it will likely just rot instead, making it unusable.

How To Feed Tomatoes To Your Dog

Tomatoes are best served raw to maximize their benefits. When shopping for tomatoes, always buy organic and try to buy local

Tomatoes produce natural ethylene gas as they ripen. The problem is many tomatoes get picked before they’re ripe to extend their shelf life. To help make them red before selling, they’ll get sprayed with synthetic ethylene gas.

The problem is picking tomatoes while they are green and treating them with ethylene gas can alter the flavor and texture. Studies also show that vine-ripened tomatoes have more nutrients than those ripened with synthetic ethylene gas.

Most local farmers don’t use the same practice, and instead let the tomato ripen naturally. This means their tomatoes are free of synthetic ethylene gas and more nutritious.

Once you have your tomatoes and are ready to share them with your dog, you want to remove the skin and seeds. While there’s more lycopene in the skin, the skin (and seeds) also contain lectins that can be harmful to your dog. 

RELATED: Why your dog shouldn’t have lectins …

And remember … make sure the tomato is ripe and red before you serve it and remove the stems and leaves. You’ll also want to serve tomato with a source of healthy fats when possible. Fat will help your dog absorb the lycopene. 

Are sweet potato leaves toxic to cats?

Raw potatoes are more likely to cause digestive issues and may contain more antinutrients and harmful compounds. Yet, they’re higher in vitamin C and resistant starch, which may provide powerful health benefits. In truth, both raw and cooked potatoes can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy diet.