Seasonal Allergies and Your Garden: Plants to Avoid

For allergy sufferers, spring can seem like a ticking bomb – one whiff can set off a series of sneezes, a prelude to perpetually runny noses and itchy, red eyes.

Certain plants can aggravate allergies, and for the highly sensitive, it’s best to avoid them altogether. Seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever, can seem like a baleful malediction, but it does not need to become synonymous with suffering.

Steer clear of these allergy-causing plants, and your sinuses will thank you.

Symptoms of allergies

Many symptoms of allergies mimic the common cold: red and watery eyes, runny nose, and stuffy nose. However, allergies can be distinguished from viral infections by a lack of a sore throat. Colds are also more likely to occur within the winter months while allergies swell during the fall and spring months.

How to prevent and suppress allergies

Allergies can range from the more obscure, such as to shellfish, to the all-too-common pollen and weed allergies. While some of those innate allergies cannot be eradicated, other types can be alleviated so that their symptoms become negligible, or at the least, manageable.

Over-the-counter medications remain one of the most common ways to treat allergies; patients afflicted with severe allergies can consider immunotherapy.

More mindful hygiene, such as washing bed linens regularly and keeping windows closed, can prevent exposure to mold and pollen.

The power of daily affirmations can drastically impact your well-being, from grounding your mind to suppressing the severity of your symptoms. Boost your immune function with natural tonics made using supplies that can be foraged in your own garden. Please note that this does not constitute a substitute for medical advice.

Worst flowers for people with allergies

Marigolds can be a trigger for allergies
Flowers that rely on wind pollination continue to be the worst offenders. Some of those flowers are frequently seen in bouquets, many of which are displayed at the garden center or the grocery store.
Gardeners need not avoid all plants on this list; a test at the doctor’s office can help narrow down what triggers your symptoms. Many of the below fall within the Asteraceae family, which houses the common dandelion, sunflowers, and other star-shaped flowers.

Daisies: Though they have evolved down the line, the ragweed’s distant relatives – daisies, sunflowers, and chrysanthemums – continue to trigger allergies in many people. These petite flowers may seem innocuous, but its high levels of pollen can trigger sneezing fits, leading some to condemn them as weeds.

Dahlias: Dahlias are far from irritating in most people’s eyes, but their pollen can be. While these lavish flowers are often seen as beautiful, they figure as villains in the minds of those who find themselves besieged with symptoms that last all summer.

Asters: These bright flowers are fun to run your finger through, but for allergy sufferers, this amounts to a death sentence. Its reputation for causing some of the most potent allergy symptoms makes it one of the more prominent plants to avoid.

Baby’s breath: This rustic plant evokes both innocence and nostalgia, and for this reason, they are often set in delicate floral arrangements. However, it’s packed with enough pollen that will have you wheezing all day.

Flowers to avoid

  • Coneflowers
  • Sunflowers
  • Heliotrope
  • Dusty Miller
  • Daisies
  • Marigolds
  • Monkshood

Grasses to avoid

Grasses are among the biggest culprits when it comes to hay fever allergies – and when it comes to gardening. Bermuda grass, for example, is highly invasive, difficult to eradicate, and carries an abundance of wind-borne pollen.

  • Bermuda
  • Fescue
  • Orchard
  • Sweet vernal
  • Rye
  • Bahia

Trees to avoid

Trees may not be as maligned as their floral counterparts, but they can still induce allergies in a select few. Allergy sufferers should avoid conifers and the trinity – birch, cedar, and oak.

  • Juniper
  • Cedar
  • Cypress
  • Alder
  • Aspen
  • Ash
  • Beech
  • Maple
  • Sycamore

Low allergen plants

Fortunately, allergic plants comprise only a small subset of the plant world, and some of the safest flowers are among the loveliest.

Tulips, irises, and roses are all low-allergen flowers that carry with them an Old-World glamour, like the leading ladies of an haute couture ball.

Typically, flowers with petals that cover the flower base are unlikely to trigger allergies. As a side note, some fragrances, especially those in the lily family (Stargazer, Oriental), can be overpowering, and will incur the ire of those with a strong sense of smell.

Carnations are safe for those with flower allergies

Roses: A peculiar yet intriguing hobby involves visiting old cemeteries and taking cuttings of antique roses. Whether you’re a fan of the Victorian gothic or a self-professed hopeless romantic, the appeal of rose bushes is boundless. Roses reign as one of the best flowers for those with allergies, and their florid blooms continue to inspire both gardeners and florists alike.

Carnations: Though carnations are popular as cut flowers, they are seldom grown in-ground. Yet this underrated flower, ranging from a cardinal red to a sensible pink, can be grown in the ground or in raised beds with great success. Amend your soil with compost for best results.

Tulips: This iconic flower has a low pollen count and is regarded as an allergy-friendly plant; Type A personalities can strip away the stamen within (where the pollen resides) to further reduce the risk.

Lobelias: Lobelias are not known for their allergies, but rather, their indigo clusters of blooms. A versatile plant that can tolerate both shade and sun, lobelias are the ladies in waiting of the court, underscoring more extravagant blooms.

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