Plants are lovely to behold but for allergy sufferers, they can spell trouble. Winter sometimes brings a needed respite (depending on where you live) but spring is on the horizon and the pollen will soon start to fly. In the United States, 50 million people suffer from allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). For sensitive individuals, plant pollen causes the delicate nasal membranes to become inflamed and run. Sneezing and watery eyes are also a problem.
Flowers Are an Allergy Sufferers Worst Nightmare
Flowers look amazing and they smell wonderful, but they also carry pollen which can trigger an allergic avalanche of physical symptoms. Modern, hybridized plants are less likely to contain exceedingly high levels of pollen, but most gardens contain the old-fashioned plant varieties that have flourished for generations.
Pollen in Big and Small Flowers
Luckily, the most outstanding flowers do not always have the most pollen. In fact, Mother Nature designed brilliant blooms to attract honeybees and other pollinators to evenly disperse the plant’s pollen because the blooms contain very heavy pollen which is not transferred easily via the wind. The worst flowers for allergies are usually very nondescript and tiny. They have dust-like pollen that is easily dispersed via the wind.
The Worst Flowers for Pollen
Below are a few of the worst culprits for pollen production:
A true classic, Baby’s Breath produces tiny white flowers that are used in bouquets to accentuate roses and other blooms. Even though the blossoms are petite, they carry an abundance of pollen. There are two types of baby’s breath, a single-flowered variety, and a double-flowered version. The single-flowered type produces the most pollen because the double-flowered form is a hybrid.
Everyone is familiar with the stunningly white blooms with their sunshine centers. You might have played, ‘he loves me, he loves me not’ by plucking the petals. Without a doubt, the daisy is a showpiece for any garden, but each bloom contains an enormous amount of pollen. The brilliant yellow bullseye is laden with sticky pollen that spreads via the wind and bees. Some sensitive individuals break into a sneezing fit if they get within even a few feet of the blooms.
Ragweed is not a favored landscape flower, but it grows nationwide along roadways, in vacant lots, and within the far reaches of your flowerbed where you might have forgotten to regularly weed. The blooms of the plant are barely noticeable but any time the wind blows the pollen takes flight and is especially irritating.
Sunflowers make amazing cut blooms for home crafts and bouquets. They also look stunning growing in the back of the garden with their sheer size and brilliant disk-like centers. However, most sunflowers contain a great deal of pollen that is spread via the wind. However, you can purchase varieties like the lovely Apricot Twist or the stunning Joker which are pollen-free and have been developed with known hypoallergenic qualities.
Just because you suffer from allergies does not mean you can’t enjoy gardening lovely flowers. Try to avoid the worst flowers for pollen production and instead focus on hybrids or hypoallergenic varieties.