Some people have an allergic reaction to the pollen emitted by grass and flowers, and it called Hay Fever. When pollen that is in the air enters your nose it sets off a reaction with the lining of the nose. The symptoms of Hay Fever therefore tend to be concentrated on the sinuses, the nose and the eyes and this can make life during the spring and summer especially, very uncomfortable.
Whether growing flowers in your garden or displaying them in your home, there are flowers that are low in pollen that will help keep you allergy free. The easiest way to decide which ones to go for is to firstly choose female flowers. The male portion of a flower, known as the stamen, contains the anther. The anther is a sac with four chambers, and pollen is produced inside it. When the anther is full, it bursts, releasing pollen to fertilize other flowers. Female flowers don’t produce pollen and are therefore less likely to set off an allergic reaction.
Hydrangea macrophylla (Norfolk Botanical Garden)
Although you can’t control the landscaping in the rest of the world, you can plant your own allergy-free garden at home. If you are planning a low-pollen flower garden, some of the best flowers for allergy sufferers are roses. Although they produce pollen, it is heavier and larger in size than other pollens and therefore less likely to be carried in the wind. Roses can be trained to rise up and over supports (although it should be noticed that climbers are heavily scented and Hay Fever sufferers should be careful about choosing roses with strong aromas.) Roses can be used to edge paths and driveways, as ground cover or as hedges. Most roses enjoy at least five hours of sunlight a day and this should be taken into account when planning a rose garden.
Even those with no green thumb at all can grow Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana). A fast grower that is suited to a multitude of uses, from borders to baskets, these pretty little flowers brighten up any garden and come in a wide range of colours, including shades of pink, red, orange and – for a calming effect – white.
Other flowers that are less likely to cause a bout of sneezing include doubled flowers like the double chrysanthemums which often have no pollen. Begonia, azalea, dahlia, gladiolas, iris, marigolds, crocus, poppies and tulips are all quite low in pollen and therefore hold less risk of triggering a Hay Fever or asthma attack than spring blooming plants like oak and birch.
The shade-loving Hosta (hosta) adds lush greenery to the landscape. Sum and substance’s leaves range from vibrant chartreuse to gold, while twilight’s deep colour is offset by yellow accents. Small flowers appear in pale violet or white, most without fragrance.
Pots of blooming hydrangeas, especially of the old-fashioned “pom-pom” Hydrangea macrophylla type, are mostly pollen-free and are good choices for the garden.
Succulents are an allergy-sufferer’s dream. Not only are cacti easy to keep and drought-resistant, but you’ll have no plant pollen worries with them. While the vision of a cactus garden might sound unappealing and remind you of barren dessert, flowering cactus can be quite showy and provide bright color. There are also plenty of interesting shapes and sizes to give your garden interest.
If you are looking for trees that do not carry allergenic pollen, consider ficus species (although their invasive roots are another problem), pines (which often become too big for an average-size yard) and crepe myrtles. In general, ornamental trees with showy flowers and fruit trees – such as jacaranda, southern magnolia, flowering pear and peach, apple, lemon and orange – are not allergenic.