The Anti-allergy Garden
In theory, “everyone” enjoys a day in the garden. There are those, however, who do not enjoy the
watery eyes and sinus headaches that can follow it. Fortunately, with the right anti-allergy garden design and plant
choices, allergies don’t have to stop you from getting the most out of your own backyard.
Flower type is a good guideline for which plants are going to cause exacerbate allergies. Luckily, it’s the best-looking plants that cause allergy-sufferers the fewest problems. Plants with bright, showy flowers are usually pollinated by insects, rather than by the wind. These flowers produce less pollen, and their pollen is larger (so it’s less easily inhaled) and seldom airborne. Plants with small, dull flowers are typically wind-pollinated and best avoided. Native plants, which don’t require their owners to spend so much time outdoors fussing with fertilizers, sprinklers, or pesticides, are also good choices for an allergy-free garden design.
Plant list for an anti-allergy garden
Trees and Shrubs
Apple, azalea, boxwood, cherry, dogwood, hibiscus, magnolia, pear and plum.
Flowers and grasses
Alyssum, begonia, cacti, clematis, columbine, crocus, daffodil, dahlia, daisy, dusty miller,
geranium, hosta, hyacinth, hydrangea, impatiens, iris, lilac, lily, narcissus, pansy, petunia,
phlox, roses, salvia, snapdragon, sunflower, St. Augustine, tulips, verbena, and
Plants to avoid
Plants to stay away from—wind-pollinated plants—include alder, ash, beech, bermuda, birch, box elder, cedar,
cottonwood, cypress, elm, fescue (one of the most common types of lawn grass), hickory, johnson, june, juniper, maple, mulberry, oak,
olive, orchard, palm, pecan, perennial rye, pine, poplar, redtop, salt grass, sweet vernal,
sycamore, timothy, walnut and willow.
Planting designs: Native plants in natural arrangements
The best bet for creating an anti-allergy garden design is a selection of native plants or plants that are hardy in the local climate and will be able to take care of themselves for the most part. The physical layout of your garden is also important. Avoid planting lawns, which require maintenance and mowing, and put you our in the pollen- and dust-filled wind unnecessarily. Instead, try groupings of plants: a rock
garden with clusters of greenery or flowers, smaller beds with paths between them, or plants grouped around a pond, statue or other garden feature.
Anti-allergy garden maintenance
Minimize outdoor activity on days when the pollen count or humidity is reported to be high or on windy days when mold and pollen are blown about. If you have a major clean-up to do, do it in autumn or winter when plants are dormant or save yourself the misery and hire someone in.
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