Real World Gardener Allergy and Cut Flowers in Talking Flowers

June 10th, 2020


Allergy and Cut Flowers

Cut flowers bring surprise and admiration for the giver but if they trigger itchy eyes and runny noses, chances are you have an allergy to those particular flowers.

Pollen allergies can trigger hayfever type reactions so flowers with lots of pollen should be avoided.

But how to tell?

Botanical Bite

Only male flowers produce pollen. 

  •  Dioecious plants have either only male or either female flowers on any one individual plant. These plants rely on mainly the wind, rarely insects to carry pollen from a male plant to a female plant to reproduce.
  • Monoecious plants, contain both male and female flowers on the same plant, meaning that pollen must travel from flower to flower but not from plant to plant. Some monoecious plants contain male and female parts in the same flower. They’re often called “perfect flowers” and don't need any pollen to be transferred at all, as a single flower can reproduce on its own.

Top 10 allergy-heavy plants

The most obvious flowers and plants to steer away from are those that are wind pollinated. Believe it or not, grasses have flowers, but they're not so obvious or showy. All grass flowers are wind pollinated, these include your lawn grass.Value%2Bfor%2Bmoney%2Bflowers4.jpg

  1. Baby's breath  (Gypsophila sp.) is popular in many florist bouquets and are planted in cottage gardens because they're easy to grow from seed. Although the flowers are small, they carry heaps of pollen of pollen. There are singles and doubles so opt for the double flowering types because they have less pollen. More petals equals less pollen, plus as the double flowers are hybrids they have a low level of pollen anyway. It also helps that all those petals prevent the pollen from flying off.
  2. Daisy Family-Asteraceae.  That includes white daises, pink daisies, yellow daisies, in fact any daisies. Daisies are very high in pollen count but even though they are not wind pollinated, allergy sufferers should avoid getting too close. Let the bees and other insects do the work.
  3. Dahlias-still in the daisy family, especially the single flowering dahlias.
  4. Sunflowers-(Helianthus anuum)still in the daisy family, but did you know you can buy seed for pollenless sunflowers?
  5. Gerberas-of course, still in the daisy family. One of the most showy of Asteraceae, but plenty of pollen.
  6. Chamomile-small daisy like flowers that look innocuous but have plenty of pollen, including the ones you pick to make chamomile tea.
  7. Amaranth (Amaranthus caudatus)-have flowers that are referred to as catkins with a high pollen count.
  8. Chrysanthemum-there are plenty of fully double chrysanthemums you could choose to lessen the impact of the high pollen count.
  9. Bottlebrush-(Callistemon sp.) although they're visited by bees and other insects for the nectar, they still have enough pollen to be blown about by the wind.
  10. Jasmine species-not only pollen but high fragrance can irritate allergy sufferers.

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini of



  • What to choose instead in your bouquet or vase for the home.

Begonia, cactus, clematis, columbine, crocus, daffodil and geranium are some of the most allergy-friendly plants and flowers. Hosta, hydrangea, iris, lily, periwinkle, rose, tulip, zinnia are also known for being good choices.

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