It’s February and romance is in the air. As we creep into spring, we also approach gardening season, meaning you may be looking for some plants to beautify your living space. But if you’re someone who suffers from allergies that bouquet from your special someone or house plant for your windowsill could be more cringe-worthy than romantic.
From a runny nose to a headache to itchy eyes and a sore throat, the symptoms of allergies are at best, annoying, and at worst, terribly painful and disruptive to your day. Those that suffer from them will do just about anything to avoid their triggers, which often means avoiding flowers and various blooms.
But never fear, there are many floral arrangements that will look stunningly beautiful and keep you allergen free. From Azaleas to Zinnias, there’s a bloom for nearly every letter of the alphabet to help you send a flowery message of love or add a splash of color to your home without sending you to the allergist.
The trick is to select flowers that contain both male and female parts within a single bloom -- this means they don’t require air travel to pollinate, which greatly reduces the number of allergens, particularly pollen, that they give off. If you want an in-depth breakdown of allergy-free gardening, check out OPALS, a plant-allergy scale which ranks flowers based on their allergenic potential. But in the meanwhile, here are some of our favorites allergy-friendly blooms:
Coming in pinks, whites, and bright reds, Begonias are a hardy, beautiful bloom that are perfect for any season. As a flowering plant, begonias are renowned for their beautiful leaves as well as their floral blooms. They are small and perhaps not as glamorous as other choices, but if you want a sturdy house plant that won’t set you sneezing, they’re a perfect choice.
Perfect for your garden as perennials that will return year after, bulb varieties also make for beautiful hypo-allergenic bouquets. Bulb varieties like crocus, tulips, and daffodils are beautiful, colorful, cheerful flowers with a relatively low airborne pollen count. Occasionally, the petals can cause a rash so be careful when handling them with bare hands if you’re super sensitive. Apart from that, they make for really stunning and unique floral arrangements that will leave your air passages free and clear.
Not everyone wants a traditional bouquet of flowers -- many who suffer from allergies are looking for lovely flowers to beautify their home that won’t trigger their health concerns. Clematis is a beautiful climbing vine that comes in a wide variety of colors. If you’re looking for something to cover a trellis or grow up a wall, Clematis is a great allergy friendly choice. This will not only protect your health, but ensure any sensitive guests in your home aren’t triggered as well.
Though less well-known, hostas are a great choice for your desk because they’re unscented, which means they’ll never bother you or any of your coworkers. This also makes them one of the best choices for allergy sufferers. The flowers are gorgeous with an exterior bloom that ranges from white to chartreuse to gold and a smaller interior flower that commonly blooms in pale violet or white.
Blooming in waves, geraniums offer you an abundance of color throughout the seasons. Available in everything from bright blue to pink to purple to red to white, geraniums look great in a hanging basket or flower pots. They’re easy to find and sturdy, so they can provide a dash of allergy-free color to your home no matter where you live.
One of the most popular and versatile flowers out there, hydrangeas are having a major moment as a popular wedding flower for centerpieces and bouquets alike. Allergic Living cites them as one of the most allergy friendly blooms, which means no matter whether you use them for a decorative craft or a romantic bouquet, they’ll please even the most sensitive of people. Most commonly, they come in pink, blue, white, and purple, but you can find them in nearly any color of the rainbow. Their rich color and wide blooms make them a naturally lush and romantic flower.
Mums have no stamens. No stamen equals no pollen, making them a dream flower for those who suffer from intense allergies to the airborne trigger. Anyone with an allergy will tell you that pollen is their worst enemy, so mums are an ideal choice for them. In addition to lacking pollen, mums have a really full selection of petals which makes them an absolutely stunning bloom.
If you’re looking to add a splash of purple to your day, the Iris is the perfect choice. The flower takes its name from the Greek goddess of the rainbow and it’s purple and yellow blooms live up to the beauty of its namesake. They can actually come in a wide variety of colors, despite purple being the most popular variety, and their wide petals and small stamen keep their airborne pollen count low.
Lilies can be a beautiful and luscious choice for bouquets, but be careful as some varietals are allergy-free and others are not. Be sure to select an Asiatic Lily that is certified allergy-free -- this will ensure that the bloom is both pollen-free (as are most lilies) and scent-free. Some lilies, such as the stargazer lily, have an intense fragrance, which can cause headaches among those sensitive to smell. So, though, lilies are a beautiful choice, be sure to select a varietal that you have verified is allergy free.
Renowned for their beauty and as a symbol of romance, many are thrilled to learn that roses are a great choice for those who suffer from allergies. They are arguably the most famous and popular flower on the market (if also, expensive). Pollen particles on a rose are too large to be an issue for those affected by airborne allergies.
They have a strong and alluring scent, which can cause hyper sensitive people to develop a headache, so just be careful when selecting them -- you may want to opt for a less fragrant rose if you or your partner is highly susceptible to smells.
Not only are orchids a gorgeous allergy free flower, but they are a gift that keeps on giving. When an orchid starts to die, simply snip the flowers off and replant the stems -- you can have a lovely allergy free flower for years to come.
These flowers, named for their resemblance to a dragon that opens and closes its mouth, are a tall, stocky plant that make a perfect addition to your flower bed. They are beloved for their rich and varied color from deep purples to hot pinks to bright orange to white. Because of genetic experimentation, many snapdragons cannot be fertilized by their own pollen, making them an allergy friendly flower.
A fragile, delicate flower, they are more common as part of a flower bed than as a choice for a bouquet, but they are a lovely and versatile choice. Available in many color combos, pansies are a really unique and delightful choice that have essentially no pollen, making them a great hypoallergenic choice.
With their lush and abundant petals, peonies are an extremely popular wedding choice -- they’re ideal for both centerpieces and bouquets and are guaranteed to not offend your guests. The petals are even a popular addition to punches, salads and lemonades, so they’re delectable on many levels. However, they can have a strong scent and generate a lot of nectar that is attractive to ants, so be aware of that when selecting them for someone particularly sensitive.
Believed to be a symbol of love and fertility by the Ancient Greeks, violets are a small, purple perennial flower that make a nice accent in a bouquet or a lovely addition to your garden. They make stunning houseplants and are also popular as a candied delicacy -- their popularity as a food indicate that they are an allergy friendly flower. Many types of violets are also scentless which make them a great choice for even the most sensitive people.
If you suffer from allergies, there are still many flowers you can choose for a bouquet or to plant in your garden. Avoid flowers that are bad triggers such as chrysanthemums, daisies, and ordinary sunflowers, but rejoice in the myriad of beautiful and diverse flowers you can enjoy in life.