Five plants you should never own if you suffer with hay fever as pollen warning hits

By Staff 7 Min Read

The pollen count starts to rise in March and the season has started earlier this year thanks to mild weather so an expert has advised avoiding having certain plants in your garden if you’re a sufferer

Unfortunately some beautiful and very popular flowers are the worst culprits for causing hay fever.

We may still be in March but this is the month the pollen count traditionally starts to increase, causing misery for those affected by hay fever. This year the UK has seen the warmest February on record and this has led to a warning that sufferers may be in trouble earlier than usual.

Spring has definitely sprung, with daffodils and snowdrops popping up in many areas earlier than in previous years. Last month chief pollen forecaster at the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit, Dr Beverley Adams-Groom, told MailOnline that a certain tree pollen was more prevalent in 2024: “The alder tree pollen has started earlier this year, due to the very mild winter temperatures,” she said.

Although it’s impossible to completely avoid pollen once the warmer seasons approach, there are certain plants and flowers you can eradicate from your garden that will help reduce the amount near your home.

An expert told the site there are five varieties it’s best to avoid. Brian Davenport, Co-Founder of The Solar Centre named them along with the reasons they are the worst culprits.

The first is Ryegrass, which unfortunately is one of the most common in the UK. It is a particular problem because it’s wind pollinated and is carried on the air, so it easily lands on our skin in our nose and mouth.

“Grass pollen is the most irritating pollen type for hay fever sufferers, and an estimated 90 percent of people with the allergy are affected by it,” Brian said. If artificial grass isn’t a reasonable option, he suggests mowing the lawn frequently which will minimise pollination by preventing flowering.

Another very common feature on a lawn is the delicate daisy, but again, they are little devils for hay fever sufferers and can cause itchy eyes and a runny nose. They too are wind pollinated so it’s best to remove them when they grow. Brian also warns against planting them in hanging baskets or flower beds.

The nuisance Ragweed is next on the list and again is very common in the UK. It’s a particular problem because just one plant can produce up to one billion pollen grains. The flowering annual and perennial herbs and shrubs can grow to a few centimetres or over four metres tall and their pollen is airborne.

Brian said: “Like the other plants listed, ragweed pollen is very lightweight so it is moved around easily in the breeze and can wreak havoc on allergy-affected immune systems, so removal from your garden is essential.”

To do this, he advises spraying the plant with a herbicide at the beginning of the summer or pulling it up by hand and then digging up the roots.

Unfortunately the beautiful and well-loved sunflower makes the list too. Despite looking amazing and being a favourite for children to grow, the head is jam-packed with pollen and the bigger they are, the more of it. All is not lost though and those still wanting to brighten up their garden in the summer with the cheery flowers can opt for a pollen free variety, such as the Firecracker, which is a dwarf species.

Sadly another beloved flower in UK gardens is on Brian’s no-go list. The chrysanthemum may be pretty but again their pollen is airborne and thanks to the amount of flower heads in a plant, there’s a lot of it.

There are beautiful replacement options though that won’t cause the same strife for those with allergies. Brian assures: “You can swap them out for roses and peonies instead, as rose pollen is too large to become air-borne and peonies are pollinated by insects rather than the wind.”

Have you started suffering with hay fever yet? Let us know in the comments below.

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