Hay fever-friendly flowers and plants for your home and garden

 Ever thought twice about sending flowers to someone with hay fever for fear of triggering a sneezing fit? Or maybe there’s something in your own garden that sets your hay fever off?

This month we’ve been finding out from our new friends at Flying Flowers, which plants and flowers you can count on not to make you itchy and sneezy.

So which ones are the good guys? And which ones are your pollen-enemies? The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind. And in this case size matters too! Plants that are wind pollenated produce much more pollen and, you guessed it, rely on the breeze to carry these tiny particles to other plants as part of their reproductive cycle. In spring and summer, the air you breathe is loaded with these tiny particles, when they get up your nose and into your airways they can trigger allergic rhinitis more commonly known as hay fever.

We asked resident expert, Claire Fodder at Flying Flowers for her advice on which plants to select to minimise hay fever pitfalls.

“If you’re prone to hay fever, any plant, flower or tree that is wind (rather than insect) pollenated spells trouble. When it comes to trees, look out for catkin-like flowers (birch, willow, oak) it’s an easy way to spot the ones to avoid. Most garden flowers are insect pollenated but highly scented flowers and blooms with big, open flower heads that produce a lot of pollen, like lilies can be highly allergenic - even if they are predominantly insect pollenated. You should steer clear anything with hairy or prickly stems like gerbera or sunflowers – not only do they have loads of pesky pollen to share, the tiny spines on their stalks can trigger an allergic skin reaction when handled,” adds Claire.

The good news is that there are loads of gorgeous, colourful and scented flowers, trees and shrubs that should leave you unscathed. Here are Claire’s top tips on what to avoid and what to surround yourself with at home and in the garden:

Trees & flowering shrubs

The Good Guys:


Cherry blossom

Apple and pear trees






The Pollen Enemies:

Silver Birch









Other flowers and bulbs

The Good Guys:






The Pollen Enemies:

Pampas Grass

Other ornamental grasses