12 Flowers Allergy Sufferers Should Avoid (2022)

Avoid Wind-Pollinated Flowers if You Have Hay Fever

By

Marie Iannotti

12 Flowers Allergy Sufferers Should Avoid (1)

Marie Iannotti

Marie Iannotti is a life-long gardener and a veteran Master Gardener with nearly three decades of experience. She's also an author of three gardening books, a plant photographer, public speaker, and a former Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticulture Educator. Marie's garden writing has been featured in newspapers and magazines nationwide and she has been interviewed for Martha Stewart Radio, National Public Radio, and numerous articles.

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Updated on 10/05/21

Reviewed by

Mary Marlowe Leverette

12 Flowers Allergy Sufferers Should Avoid (2)

Reviewed byMary Marlowe Leverette

Mary Marlowe Leverette is one of the industry's most highly-regarded housekeeping and fabric care experts, sharing her knowledge on efficient housekeeping, laundry, and textile conservation. She is also a Master Gardener with over 40 years' experience; writing for over 20 years.

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Fact checked by

Emily Estep

12 Flowers Allergy Sufferers Should Avoid (3)

Fact checked byEmily Estep

Emily Estep is a plant biologist and fact-checker focused on environmental sciences. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a Master of Science in Plant Biology from Ohio University. Emily has been a proofreader and editor at a variety of online media outlets over the past decade.

(Video) 10 Worst Flowers For People With Allergies 🧧

12 Flowers Allergy Sufferers Should Avoid (4)

Flowers may be beautiful to behold, but many come with irritating pollen that can trigger allergy symptoms.

Fortunately, not all flowers trigger allergies. Generally speaking, the more hybridized the plant, the less likely it will have a high level of pollen and the less irritating it will be. The good news is that the showiest flowers are often the most hybridized, which ensures a good variety of spectacular plants to choose from. These plants have the double benefit of usually having heavier pollen and being quite attractive to bees and other pollinators.

The plants that tend to be the worst for allergy sufferers are often part of the Asteraceae family and are those with light, dusty pollen that is easily transported by the wind. Wind-pollinated plants are generally more likely to cause allergy symptoms than those that are primarily pollinated by bees and other insects.

Here are 12 common garden plants that you should avoid if you have pollen allergies.

  • 01 of 12

    Aster (Aster spp. and Hybrids)

    12 Flowers Allergy Sufferers Should Avoid (5)

    At the top of the list of allergen-heavy plants would be most of the plants in the aster or daisy family, including many species from the Aster genus. Asters can be everywhere during the warmer months and can even find their way into homes as container plants. Even though most asters are not wind-pollinated, many people with allergies are sensitive to pollen.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3–10; depends on species
    • Color Varieties: Nearly any color
    • Sun Exposure: Wide range
    • Soil Needs: Wide range
  • 02 of 12

    Baby's Breath(Gypsophila spp.)

    12 Flowers Allergy Sufferers Should Avoid (6)

    Baby's breath is popular in cottage gardens and shows up in many florist bouquets. Although the flowers are small, they can pack a big punch of pollen. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the double-flowered baby's breath is a better choice than the single-flowered types. The double flowers are hybrids that have a low level of pollen. It alsohelps that all those petals prevent the pollen from flying off.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3–9
    • Color Varieties: White, pink
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs; Any well-drained soil
  • 03 of 12

    Dahlia (Dahlia spp.)

    12 Flowers Allergy Sufferers Should Avoid (7)

    Dahlia flowers are showy enough to attract many insect pollinators, but as members of the aster family, dahlias pack a lot of pollen. However, some dahlia hybrids classified as "formal doubles" have virtually no pollen. These are the fluffy flowers with lots of petals and stamens that have evolved into pollen-less staminodes.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 7–11; often grown as an annual
    • Color Varieties: Red, pink, orange, yellow, white, purple
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Moist but well-drained
    (Video) Best Flowers For Allergy Sufferers 🧧
  • 04 of 12

    Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum)

    12 Flowers Allergy Sufferers Should Avoid (8)

    Also in the aster family, daisies may look pristine and tame, but this plant is a high pollen producer. The pollen is mostly transferred by bees, not wind.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5–9
    • Color Varieties: White
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Dry to medium moisture, well-drained
  • 05 of 12

    Gerber Daisies (Gerbera jamesonii)

    12 Flowers Allergy Sufferers Should Avoid (9)

    One of the flashiest members of the Aster family is the Gerber daisy. For all its bling and beauty, it also contains high levels of pollen.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 8–11; usually grown as annuals
    • Color Varieties: Yellow, pink, orange, red
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist soil
  • 06 of 12

    Chamomile (Matricaria recutita, Chamaemelum nobile)

    12 Flowers Allergy Sufferers Should Avoid (10)

    Another aster family member, chamomile can cause double trouble. The plants are producers of pollen, and the flowers are used to make tea, which can still harbor some irritants even after brewing.

    Chamaemelum nobile is known as chamomile; Matricaria recutita is known as German chamomile; both are problems for allergy-sufferers.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 2–9; depends on species
    • Color Varieties: White with yellow centers
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil
  • 07 of 12

    Chrysanthemums (Chystanthemum spp.)

    12 Flowers Allergy Sufferers Should Avoid (11)

    The aster family resemblance is strong in chrysanthemums, as is the allergy-inducing pollen. Mums help stretch the allergy season well into the fall. Chrysanthemums are hardy plants that come in a huge range of colors and sizes. They're also popular as container plants and are therefore often part of the indoor environment as well.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3–9
    • Color Varieties: Gold, white, off-white, yellow, bronze (rust), red, burgundy, pink, lavender, purple
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Rich, humusy, moist, well-draining soil
    (Video) 10 Worst Plants for Allergy Sufferers
  • 08 of 12

    Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia)

    12 Flowers Allergy Sufferers Should Avoid (12)

    Also in the aster family, ragweed is not considered a garden flower, though it is sometimes planted by gardeners who appreciate its ability to feed bees. It is often confused with goldenrod (Solidago), which is a lovely garden plant that has gotten a bum rap. Goldenrod is not wind-pollinated and does not irritate allergies. Ragweed, with its weedy, inconspicuous flowers, is pollinated by the wind. Ragweed tends to grow alongside roads and in vacant lots.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3–10
    • Color Varieties: Yellow, turning to brown
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Dry to medium moisture, average soil

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.

  • 09 of 12

    Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus)

    12 Flowers Allergy Sufferers Should Avoid (13)

    The sheer size of a sunflower's center disk is an indicator of the copious amounts of pollen that it can produce. Making matters worse, this pollen is dispersed by the wind. Because sunflowers are not fragrant, they often get overlooked as allergy plants. There are some pollen-free sunflower varieties, like 'Apricot Twist' and 'Joker' that are listed as hypoallergenic, because their pollen is too heavy to be wind-borne.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4–11
    • Color Varieties: Yellow, red, mahogany, bicolors
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Any well-drained soil
  • 10 of 12

    Amaranth (Amaranthus spp.)

    The Amaranthus genus contains dozens of species, many of which are grown as ornamental garden or culinary plants, but allergy sufferers are likely to think of all of them by the common name assigned to weedy annual varieties—pigweed. Amaranths are wind-pollinated plants, producing masses or ultra-fine pollen particles that drift on the faintest breeze.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 2–11 (depends on species)
    • Color Varieties: Red, burgundy, pink, orange, green
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Moist but well-drained soil
  • 11 of 12

    Ornamental Grasses (Various spp.)

    12 Flowers Allergy Sufferers Should Avoid (15)

    Ornamental grass species favored by gardeners are found in many genera, but like lawn turf grasses, nearly all orgnamental grasses are pollinated by the wind and will cause problems for allergy sufferers.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 2–11 (depends on species)
    • Color Varieties: Depends on the species
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil
  • 12 of 12

    English Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia)

    12 Flowers Allergy Sufferers Should Avoid (16)

    Many people have allergic reactions to both the pollen of English lavender and to its odor. Plants with the fragrant blossoms that bloom in clusters of small flowers are often especially likely to cause nasal allergies, since they tend to be wind pollinators.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5–8
    • Color Varieties: Blue, purple
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil
    (Video) 8 Plants Never To Grow Indoor They Can Trigger Asthma and Allergy Symptoms

25 Flowering Plants Allergy Sufferers Can Enjoy

Article Sources

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Zhang JJ, Montgomery BR, Huang SQ. Evidence for Asymmetrical Hybridization Despite Pre- and Post-pollination Reproductive Barriers Between Two Silene Species.AoB Plants. 2016;8:plw032. doi:10.1093/aobpla/plw032

  2. Pollen Allergies. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

  3. Wind and Water Pollination. U.S. Forest Service.

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