Flower Information

Flower Allergies: Symptoms of Pollen Allergies & More

Woman sneezing into tissue near tree of flowers

Disclaimer: This information does not take the place of professional medical advice. Different people have varying tolerances to all substances, including flowers. Please refer to this information from the AAFA to learn more.

Knowing which flowers cause allergies and migraines is the best way to limit unwanted side effects. Read on to learn more about which flowers might trigger allergies.

We all know that flowers bring joy and happiness —that’s why we love them. But if you suffer from migraines or allergies, you likely know that some flowers also have a not-so-nice side.

While flowers can’t always keep their pollen in their plants, you can choose flowers that lead to the best flower delivery experience. At The Bouqs Co., we want you to delight in the beauty of flowers, without any sniffles or sneezes. So before you order that gorgeous online bouquet, read this article and make sure your sinuses will enjoy it as well!

What Are Pollen Allergies?

While we hate pollen when it triggers allergy symptoms such as runny noses, red eyes, and sneezes, many plants rely on this powdery substance to reproduce. That’s right, there are the birds and the bees…and pollen.

Pollen contains the male gamete (plant sperm) that fertilizes other plants to reproduce. Pollen can be light and easily carried by the wind or heavier and carried by insects. Flowering plants that use the air-pollination method typically cause the most intense allergy symptoms since this air-borne pollen can easily enter our eyes and noses.

In general, large, flamboyant flowers that attract insects to spread their pollen make the safest choice for those susceptible to pollen allergies.

Want to learn more about pollen allergies? Check out the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation (ECARF).

Fun facts:

  • Pollen allergies used to be called “hay fever.” That’s because people used to believe the smell of hay would irritate the body.
  • In the 1800s, many people also believed it was an “aristocratic disease” that only affected the elites.
  • Some people even believed smoking tobacco would relieve the symptoms of a pollen allergy.

Symptoms of Pollen Allergies

Here are some common pollen or flower allergy symptoms:

  • Runny nose
  • Sinus irritation
  • Itchy eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Swelling under the eyes
  • Coughing

What Are Pollen Counts?

A pollen count measures how much pollen is circulating in the air. You might have heard the local weather report post a pollen count for the day. For an allergy sufferer, this report can play an important role in staying as allergy-free as possible.

But remember pollen counts aren’t perfect. The pollen count may be high, yet the types of pollen in the air might not affect a specific individual. Likewise, even with a low pollen count, the types of pollen present might trigger someone’s allergies.

Plus, these pollen counts cover a large area, so don’t expect them to account for your indoor bouquet or neighbor’s garden.

Flower Allergies: Worst Blooms to Choose

Welcome to Pollen Nation, home to pollen-heavy flowers. It is pistil clear who our top citizens are:

  • Dahlias
  • Asters
  • Baby’s Breath
  • Daisies
  • Chamomile
  • Gerberas
  • Sunflowers
  • Chrysanthemums

The Aster family of blooms (daisies, dahlias, gerberas, chamomile) might look tame, but they are actually some of the biggest pollen producers.

To avoid the worst effects of heavy pollen-producing plants, remove the stamen, or male organ, from the flower. This will reduce the pollen but won’t remove it completely. If you want to limit flower allergies, avoid these heavy pollinators, and select one of the flowers below.

Flowers That Produce Less Pollen

Certain types of flowers produce less pollen. When choosing a gift for someone allergic to pollen, buy a bouquet that features these flowers:

  • Lilies
  • Orchids
  • Hydrangeas
  • Geraniums
  • Bougainvillea
  • Azaleas
  • Clematis

For more suggestions, check out our blog post on hypoallergenic flowers.

Can You Be Allergic to Roses?

We like big pollen and we cannot lie. You other flowers can’t deny. That when a rose gets gifted in an itty bitty vase, with its scent floating up in your face, you don’t sneeze.
Did you know the particles in pollen for roses are too big to travel through the air? This is another reason why roses, aside from their beauty and scent, are a wonderful gift: no allergens!

Most strains of roses found today are low-fragrance. Some roses, however, are bred for fragrance. If you want to avoid these strong scents, watch out for:

  • Hybrid Tea Roses
  • Floribunda Roses
  • Bourbon Roses
  • Grandiflora Roses
  • English Roses<

Since roses are so varied, with breeders constantly developing new hybrids and varieties, ask a professional for advice prior to a major event. The last thing any bride-to-be would want on her special day is the possibility of sneezing during her vows – yikes!

Flowers That Cause Migraines

Love can hurt, but it doesn’t have to. Some of the things we love most can cause us discomfort. These can include your morning coffee, microwaved leftover pizza, and even certain types of aromatic flowers.

Strong smells can trigger heavy migraines, so fragrant flowers are often the most troublesome. But you don’t have to fear flowers if you’re prone to migraines. We can help you avoid the worst offenders so you can still enjoy lush bouquets.

Most Fragrant Flowers

  • Gardenia
  • Freesia
  • Hyacinth
  • Jasmine
  • Honeysuckle
  • Lilac
  • Stargazer Lily
  • Daphne
  • Mock Orange
  • Viburnum

So, what can be done? The best strategy involves avoiding the flowers that cause migraines. Simple, right? Fortunately, we offer a wide range of alternatives that you can find in many of our stunning bouquets.

Stargazer Lily Allergies

A lot of people ask if it’s possible to have a Stargazer lily allergy. You might have noticed lilies appear on our list of pollen-free plants. The lily family is mostly pollen-free so they won’t cause pollen allergies. However, be careful because both Oriental and Stargazer lilies carry an intense aroma. That strong scent might trigger people who get migraines or are sensitive to fragrances.

Flowers That Don’t Cause Migraines

Of course, not all flowers possess that heavy aroma. It’s possible to have a boutique bouquet hand-crafted just for you, using only flowers that act kind to your mind. You can also browse our full suite of house plants if you want to find a safe, long-lasting gift for your migraine or allergy-prone friends and family.

Look for these blooms when ordering a bouquet to get flowers that enliven your home without harming your health.

Non-Fragrant Flowers


What Flowers Cause the Most Allergies?

Pollen-heavy flowers create the most problems for allergy sufferers. These include popular flowers such as sunflowers, dahlias, daisies, and Gerberas. Instead, look for low-pollen flowers such as roses.

Can Flowers Inside a House Cause Allergies?

In short, yes. Bringing a flower inside your home (or workplace) doesn’t automatically remove the pollen that causes allergies. In fact, it can compound the reaction for people with a pollen allergy because the air doesn’t circulate and mix with fresh outdoor air. If you know someone is allergic, be careful which plants you gift them.

What Plants Cause Allergic Reactions?

Besides flowers, grasses and trees can also cause allergic reactions. Major culprits include popular grasses such as ragweed and sagebrush and certain trees with oaks and birches at the top of the list. To minimize pollen allergies, select low-pollen trees such as English holly, box elder, and narrow-leaf ash. For grasses, select Bermuda grass hybrids (but avoid common Bermuda grass).

Can You Be Allergic to Gardenias?

A popular question. People often ask us if they might have a gardenia allergy. As with Stargazer lilies, gardenias are low pollen but heavy fragrance so they might trigger headaches in individuals susceptible to migraines.

Can Dried Flowers Cause Allergies?

It’s time for some good news. Dried flowers don’t activate allergies because they don’t contain pollen. If you want to repurpose a dried bouquet for an arts and crafts gift, you don’t have to worry. Individuals with allergies can still enjoy a dried flower composition.

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