The 5 flowers to avoid in your garden if you develop hayfever – what to grow instead

Lorraine: Dr Hilary on Carol Vorderman's hayfever

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Gardens full of blossoming flowers and vibrant green grass are the epitome of spring, but it can be an irritating time for hayfever patients. While grass pollen, tree pollen and ragweed are some of the most aggravating plants for seasonal allergies, it turns out that some of the nation’s favourite flowers could also be making symptoms worse. These are the five flowers to keep out of your garden if you often develop hayfever.

For every one in four people in the UK, spring is a bittersweet season full of sneezing, coughing and itchy eyes caused by hayfever.

Pollen of all kinds can make these unpleasant symptoms even worse, but there are a few key flowers which are known to be some of the most irritating to allergy patients.

While it is hard to avoid spring blooms in public places, taking control of what you grow in the garden is just one way to keep your allergies under control.

Luke Dejahang, CEO of luxury gazebo and garden room retailer, Crown Pavilions said: “While changing up your garden might seem like a tedious task, especially when you suffer from hay fever and allergies during the warmer months, it can make the world of a difference.”

So which flowers should you steer clear of this spring? What can you plant instead?

Sunflowers

These iconic blooms are best known for their large core of seed heads and bright petals, but getting too close to them will wreak havoc on your allergies.

The seed heads of this tall stemmed flower are packed with pollen, which can quickly irritate your eyes, nose and throat throughout hayfever season.

If you can’t bear to see your garden without sunflowers, there are some hypoallergenic varieties that produce less pollen and can be safely enjoyed by allergy patients.

English Lavender

Pollen from English lavender, as well as its odour, can trigger allergic reactions in many people.

These fragrant flowers are wind pollinators which means they will set your symptoms off even from a considerable distance.

Daisies

While some daisies will appear naturally in your lawn, growing your own English daisies from seed should be avoided if you’re prone to allergies.

Even though they are not wind-pollinated, daisies have a very high pollen content which won’t go unnoticed if you are in close proximity to them.

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Amaranth

Amaranth plants produce large amounts of ultrafine pollen which can drift away with even the faintest breeze.

This short-lived perennial is known for its earthy, nutty flavour, and is often used in a number of culinary delights, so keep an eye out for this delicate bloom in both your garden and pantry.

Dahlia

Dahlia flowers are bright enough to attract many insect pollinators, and as members of the aster family, are renowned for being loaded with pollen.

If you’re desperate to grow these stunning blooms in your garden, opt for hybrid varieties known as “formal doubles”, which have virtually no pollen.

The safest flowers for hayfever patients to grow in the garden

While there is a considerable list of flowers that should be avoided by those with seasonal allergies, there are plenty of hypoallergenic alternatives which can be enjoyed instead.

  • Orchids – even though they contain pollen, it’s extremely unlikely to be airborne, making them allergy-friendly
  • Roses – roses are low pollen flowers, and the pollen that does exist is too heavy to be airborne
  • Cactus – cacti will not pollinate your home as they simply don’t produce pollen
  • Peonies – peony pollen is thick and sticky, and there’s little of it
  • Hydrangeas – these showy blooms are insect-pollinated which makes them ideal for those with a pollen allergy

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