Beautiful, colourful and naturally scented, flowers make a perfect addition to your home… until you start sneezing.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, about one in seven Australians suffer from allergic rhinitis (what we commonly know as hayfever). Rhinitis usually appears as an allergic reaction to plants, flowers, animals, dust or pollution.

This situation worsens during springtime, and no matter how amazing the bunch of flowers is or the fact that it would look perfect on your house’s entrance, if it’s going to give you a runny nose, red eyes, itchy skin and non-stop sneezing then it’s probably not worth it.

However, there is still hope for a relationship between flowers and people who suffer from hayfever. If you pick wisely and steer clear of certain flowers, there should be no problems for you to enjoy the beauty of this natural mood-lifter.

 

Why do some flowers give us hayfever?

The main problem is the plant’s gender. There are two classifications of plants according to their gender: monoecious and dioecious.

Monoecious plants have separate male and a female flowers living on the same plant. In order to fertilise the female flower and make more blooms, the male flower needs to send its pollen through the air to be able to reach the female flower.

Dioecious plants also rely on the air for their pollination process, as these plants are either all female or all male. To reach their opposite and create new blooms, they spread their pollen through the air.

Even though the pollination process is successful, some particles of the pollen get lost in the air, which we end up breathing. Eventually, it reacts negatively with our eyes, nose and sinus.

For allergy sufferers, the best option is to go with neither of these two varieties of flowers, but rather ones that have both male and female parts within a single bloom and so do not need to spread pollen through the air to reproduce.

 

Friendly flowers

Roses

Roses are perfect for people who suffer from allergies, as they barely contain any pollen at all. As an even better choice, you can pick roses that are still in a closed-bud stage, as they will shed no pollen and they won’t be especially fragrant. Choose the young ones, with strong and healthy green leaves.

If you’re able to pick from certain varieties, the pink “Cecile Brunner” rose is completely allergy and pollen-free. In addition, the small white or yellow “Banksia” roses are also pollen-free.

Lilies

Lilies are very allergy-friendly. The best varieties are the Asiatic Lilies or Tiger Lilies because they don’t have pollen at all, even though they look very similar to the other kinds of lilies, which do contain pollen. They come in several colours, like pink, red and orange.

Even though Asiatic and Tiger Lilies are hypoallergenic, they are very fragrant.

Chrysanthemums

There are an increasing number of new varieties of this beautiful flower every day. These new varieties of Chrysanthemums have been hybridised to give them a higher count of petals, and to use them to replace stamens and thus eradicate the pollen completely.

 

Orchids

Orchids are very hayfever-friendly, because they have little pollen even when they dry out. Although they are very good with rhinitis, there is some skin rash associated with orchids, so be mindful not to rub them on your skin for a prolonged period of time.

In the past, orchids were expensive and quite uncommon. Nowadays, florists have been developing them for the cut trade, and you can easily find them in bouquets or in sophisticated small pots for a reasonable price.

Hydrangeas

Native to Asia and the Americas, Hydrangeas are insect-pollinated, which means no hayfever for us! Originally bush flowers, people have been starting to use them in floral arrangements in the past years. This flower comes in a range of appealing colours that will suit every occasion, such as light pink, dark pink, white, blue and purple.

Carnations

Believed to have its origins in the Mediterranean region, Carnations have been cultivated for more than 2,000 years. These flowers are great to avoid allergies, thanks to its abundance of petals, no visible centre and no stamens.

The original colour of Carnations is a pinkish purple, but cultivars of other colours have been developed and we can find this flower in a range of shades, from white, yellow, red and even green.

Geraniums

Geraniums reproduce themselves via seed rather than relying on the air, so it’s a great choice to avoid hayfever. This five-petal flower comes in a range of colours, from bright blue to pink and magenta shades.

They are very easy to cultivate and don’t need much attention to grow them. They work best in a garden pot, temperate climate and don’t need much water.


Begonias

The best type of Begonias for people who suffer from rhinitis are Rieger Begonias or Tuberous Begonias, which have been hybridised to eradicate the stem and increase the amount of petals instead, like the new varieties of Chrysanthemums. The come in ranges of yellow, pink, red, orange and white.

Dahlias

Dahlias have lots of petals and no visible centre, the perfect combination to avoid allergies.

Native to Mexico, there are about 42 species of Dahlias. However, their hybrids are the most popular for gardening and cultivars because of their appealing look (lots of petals, resembling a mandala) and their scent. They come in a variety of bright hues, excluding blue.

Peonies

Peonies have their origin in Asia, southern Europe and Western North America. They have a compound look and are usually fragrant, with colours ranging from red, pink, white and yellow.

Even though Peonies do have a little bit of pollen, it is sticky and thick and does not travel via the air. Rather, they require insects to transfer it. They also have lots of petals, so as long as you don’t rub your nose to hard on the flowers, you should be fine from a sneezing attack.

 

Flowers to avoid

Unfortunately, not all flowers can be allergy-friendly flowers. Check the list below to find the flowers you should steer clear from. If you have a garden and suffer from hayfever, it may be a good idea to avoid planting them as well.

  • Chamomile
  • Sunflower
  • Daisies
  • Goldenrod
  • Jasmine
  • Zinnias
  • Queen Ann’s Lace
  • Lady’s Mantle
  • Honeysuckle