Author: Bella Du Toit With the arrival of summer, we're all spending more time outside in the garden in the warmer weather, but it can be challenging to know which flowers and plants to avoid if you have hay fever. Those who suffer from hay fever should avoid gardening with plants that produce a high amount of airborne pollen.
Wind-blown pollen grains produced by flowers are the main culprits when it comes to hay fever. Bees pollinate many plants, but wind-borne pollen distributed by the wind fertilizes others. These can be a nightmare for hay fever sufferers, which is unfortunate because some of them are stunning.
Hay fever is a prevalent allergy that affects 10-30% of people every year, especially during the spring and summer months. Allergic rhinitis is when the immune system overreacts to allergens such as pollen, causing symptoms like sneezing, runny or blocked noses, and itchy, watering eyes. People with hay fever usually either avoid exposure to their triggers or take medication to manage their symptoms.

Let's take a look at six plants to avoid:
  1. Ragweed
    Pollen from Ragweed irritates eyes, throats, and noses and worsens asthma symptoms. Its small grains allow it to travel easily through the air, and it can produce up to 1 billion pollen grains per plant.
  2. Dahlia
    Pollinators love these beautiful flowers, but they can trigger hay fever attacks during spring and summer. Dahlias may appeal to you because of their standout colours, but if you have severe hay fever, keep them out of your garden.
  3. Bermuda Grass
    Due to its resistance to foot traffic, this perennial warm-season grass is commonly used for lawns and golf courses. While the flower is beautiful, the pollen from the seed can cause many allergies and symptoms, including a runny nose and congestion.
  4. Sunflowers
    Sunflowers may not be fragrant, but they can still cause allergies. The size of the sunflower head dictates how much pollen it produces. And with many of them growing too large, they can be a nightmare for those suffering from hay fever. You may be able to find some pollen-free varieties because their pollen is too heavy to be carried by the wind. Keep an eye open for these if you want to enjoy their sunshine-yellow hue in your garden without allergies.
  5. Chrysanthemums
    Chrysanthemums are beautiful flowers that come in many colours. However, they can also cause allergies in some people. Those allergic to Ragweed, dandelions, sunflowers or daisies may also find themselves sensitive to chrysanthemums.
  6. Oak Trees
    The pollen from oaks can be a real problem for people with allergies or hay fever. So, if you're thinking of planting some trees in your garden this summer, it might be best to avoid oaks; that way, you can avoid triggering any allergies.
Different individuals can have various allergies, so you may find that you are more allergic to certain species than others.
Keep track of which flowers set your allergies off to give you a better idea of what to avoid and what is safe for you.

Trailblazing Partners - Issue 6


Foreword - Issue 6


Issue 6 - Cover

Issue 6 - Cultivation