It’s the time of year when hay fever sufferers are exposed to copious amount of lavish floral displays in gardens and at weddings that they simply can’t enjoy due to their allergies. (Trust me, I know this feeling all too well). It's an affliction that affects 29 per cent of Brits, with irritating symptoms such as itchy eyes, a runny nose, wheeziness, sneezing and fatigue.
And if you think that retreating to the urban jungle and battening down the hatches will offer you a safe haven, think again. Research has shown that the countryside is not your enemy; city-dwellers are equally (often more) at risk because pollution traps pollen in high-traffic areas.
However, it's not all doom and gloom, as there are a host of flowers that hay fever sufferers can enjoy. These hand-picked suggestions from Voucherbox (opens in new tab) and also the Flower Council of Holland guarantee a fix of floral aromas for all this summer.
Want to keep hay fever at bay? READ: Keep your home healthy by cutting down on allergens (opens in new tab)
It’s peony season (which runs April through to June) and these delicate flowers are pollinated by insects which means that their pollen is thick and sticky rather than light. This ensures that pollen from these flowers doesn’t travel through the air as it is not light enough to do so, which makes them perfect for hay fever sufferers to enjoy.
These favourites from Alice in Wonderland are low in pollen. Some hay fever sufferers may find that they are still affected by the pollen that is released by some varieties. This can be counteracted by sticking to tight-budded roses that release a lot less pollen than their counterparts. And, they're not just for romance or Valentine's Day!
Incidentally, if you’re wondering which flowers to avoid during hayfever season, hyacinths, chrysanthemums and sunflowers are some of the worst for bringing on hayfever symptoms.
3. Pollen-free asiatic lillies
These iconic flowers differ from all of other lillies as they are, in fact, pollen free. Asiatic lillies provide a great alternative to other lillies that may have a fragrance which can be too overpowering. Just be aware to keep lillies away from pets - they can be poisonous if digested!
These flowers are also known as the ‘Sword Lily’ and hay fever sufferers will be happy to hear that they rate very low on the allergen scale. Just like the peonies, these flowers are insect pollinated so present a low risk of affecting hay fever sufferers.
This is another insect pollinated flower that is hay fever-sufferer friendly. These bright little flowers can spruce up any garden or home.
Another low allergy flower is the Astrantia, otherwise known as Hattie’s Pincushion or Masterwort. This intricate wild flower produces very little pollen and they are also super on-trend this season! Their unusual pincushion flower heads will fill your home with warm, summery red and pink colours.
The Yarrow flower is another floral friend for hayfever sufferers. Its anti-allergenic qualities prevent the release of histamine – the substance that causes allergic reactions. In fact, it’s so good for preventing allergies that Yarrow flowers are a key ingredient in many herbal remedies for allergies. Tall, slender and brightly coloured in appearance, its no wonder this flower is so popular for adding height and texture to a bouquet.
Also known as Antirrhinum, the Snapdragon was thought to have supernatural powers and offer protection from witchcraft in ancient times. But although their uses for sorcery may be redundant (we hope!) they are still just as useful for modern-day needs. Their tightly closed buds make them perfect plants for pollen protection, limiting the release of those pesky allergens!
If you suffer from hayfever and need a floral pick-me-up, then head on down to your local florist and create your own sneeze-free, low pollen bouquet – like the one above from Grace & Thorn (opens in new tab). As you can see, you're not necessarily doomed to three months of sneezing and streaming. These hayfever friendly flowers mean that you can still enjoy the beautiful blooms that this season has to offer!
Written by Jennifer Ebert and Celia Lloyd-Jones
Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.
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