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Flowers for allergy sufferers

If you are allergic to pollen, you may think all flowers and plants are the enemy. But there are actually some types that won’t aggravate your allergies.

Woman smelling the roses

If you suffer from a pollen allergy, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a life without flowers or greenery in your home or that you can never plant a garden in your yard. (You should also let your boyfriend know he can still send you flowers!) It’s just a matter of choosing the right kind of flower or plant that won’t irritate your allergies.

This breakdown will give you a rough idea of what types of plants and flowers you can be around and which you should stay away from. And remember, if you want to play it extra safe, you can always opt for dried flowers instead of freshly cut.

The biggest pollen culprits

It’s usually grasses, weeds and trees, all which release pollen into the wind, that cause allergy sufferers to sniffle and get itchy eyes. While pretty flowers do contain pollen, your hay fever is less likely to be traced back to them. Flowers with strong scents and that produce a high amount of pollen (think cherry blossoms, daisies and sunflowers) are the troublemakers.

Choose flowers with little pollen

Since pollen is the part of the flower that triggers your allergies, flowers with little pollen are the best choices for allergy sufferers. Some options include roses, daffodils, tulips, begonias, zinnias and geraniums. In these flowers, the pollen molecules are large and heavy and are thus unlikely to become airborne. Orchids are also an excellent choice because they have so little pollen.

In terms of plants, cacti and other succulents are good choices, but perhaps not as gifts, given their prickly and not-as-pretty appearance.

Even better, choose flowers with no pollen

Certain plants contain both the male and female plants. This type of species is called a dioecious plant. Male plants produce pollen, while female plants produce fruit. So female plants are pollen-free and therefore will not irritate allergy sufferers. Unfortunately few ornamental flowers are of the dioecious species. Holly and currant vines are dioecious, but as you can expect, sending bouquets of these plants is not customary.

More on health

Recognizing and minimizing seasonal allergies
The best pets for kids with allergies
Reduce allergies at home

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