With the holidays coming up, it’s the time of year when your house and table get decked out to the nines! When it comes to choosing flowers for decorating, it can be a tricky process if you have guests with allergies. We share our 10 best flowers for allergies because the last thing you want is to make your guests have an allergy attack!
10 Best Flowers for Allergies
Flower #1: Roses
Roses are at the top of our list because you can always count on this tried and true bloom. Roses are not only easy to find and affordable, they come in a wide range of colors to fit whatever color palette you’re decorating in.
For allergy sufferers, roses typically do not cause allergy issues. Just stick with commercially grown varieties (e.g., not cut from your garden) and you should be safe. You’ll also want to avoid overly fragrant roses because strong scents can trigger headaches and nausea for those who are sensitive to strong smells. Most commercially grown roses have little to no true fragrance, but some garden rose varieties (like Yves Piaget) can have a heady scent that is best to avoid.
If you want to know if the roses you want to order are fragrant or not, your retailer should be able to tell you. If they can’t, then you may want to order from someone more knowledgeable! At Flower Muse, we know what rose varieties are highly fragrant and are always happy to guide our customers to the right choice!
Flower #2: Hydrangea
Hydrangea is another great flower choice for allergy sufferers. These big rounded blooms are safe for most people and they really pack a punch when it comes to decorating. Just a few stems can fill up a vase and create a stunning centerpiece. Hydrangea come in natural shades like white, pink, blue, purple and green, but you can also find tinted hydrangea colors for even more options in matching your color scheme.
Flower #3: Tulips
Tulips are another low-allergy flower that is easy to find and comes in a wide range of colors. Our favorites include special double bloom and parrot tulip varieties that offer a stunning unique look for something different from your standard tulip varieties.
You might be thinking, aren’t tulips a spring bloom? Yes, spring season does offers the widest range of tulip varieties, but you’ll also find a great selection of tulips during the winter season. You can check out some of our tutorials for easy holiday centerpieces to give you some ideas on how to incorporate tulips into your holiday arrangements!
Flower #4: Orchids
Orchids have been called one of the most allergy-friendly flowers. Orchids are not pollen-free, but they have sticky pollen that stays within the bloom. So chances of pollen floating out and becoming an irritant are extremely low. Orchids come in a range of varieties and colors. Our favorite is the cymbidium orchid which comes in smaller, easier-to-arrange mini sized varieties.
Flower #5: Peonies
Peonies…really? Yes, peonies rank as a low allergen flower! The reason why is because it’s considered an insect-pollinated plant. That means it relies on insects instead of wind to pollinate. So peony pollen tends to be heavy and sticky and less likely to float around in the air and cause watery eyes and sniffles!
Peonies are one of our favorite flowers so naturally we’re ecstatic to be able to include it in this list. That said, you should still use caution if incorporating peonies into your holiday decor. Stick with fuller double forms that are less likely to drop pollen and avoid single or semi-double forms (like coral peonies). If you need help choosing, just drop us a line and we’ll be happy to help!
Flower #6: Ranunculus
Ranunculus is another low allergy flower because it also has pollen that is less likely to become airborne and stir up an allergic reaction. That’s great news for those who love the fluffy petals of this gorgeous bloom! Ranunculus come in a wide range of colors and they mix beautifully with other low-allergen flowers like roses and peonies.
Flower #7: Carnations
Carnations are another great choice if you need to be careful of allergies. You might be thinking: “But carnations are so un-chic!” Don’t let images of arrangements from the 80s and 90s ruin your thoughts on carnations! Just give them another chance! When properly arranged, they can create a full ruffled look that people may not even realize the blooms you’ve used are carnations. They also come in so many beautiful on-trend colors like pale peach, blush pink, and antique cream.
Flower #8: Daffodils
Flowers in the daffodil family are considered “allergy-friendly” because like many of the other flowers we’ve listed so far, their pollen is typically pollinated by insects rather than the wind. So the likelihood of them causing sneezing, stuffy, itchy teary eyes is low. You might be thinking, during the holidays, what kind of daffodils will even be around?! Depending on weather, paperwhites are sometimes available in early November and other varieties of daffodils can be available as early as mid-December.
It’s important to note that the sap secreted by daffodils can be an irritant for some people, so if you have particularly sensitive skin or have had an allergic reaction before when touching daffodils, it’s best to avoid handling them. But for your guests, unless they put their hands all over your flowers, you shouldn’t have to worry about the sap causing an allergic reaction!
Also some daffodil varieties are fragrant and so while it may not cause allergies, overly fragrant flowers can give some scent-sensitive folks a headache. If you want to use daffodils, most standard yellow daffodils have little to no scent.
Flower #9: Calla Lilies
Calla lilies are another bloom that is insect pollinated making it another great choice for allergy sufferers. You may see some pollen inside the bloom, but given its heavy sticky nature, it generally doesn’t cause issues. If you want to be extra careful you can carefully remove the stamen.
Mini calla lilies are a favorite of ours at Flower Muse because of the range of colors available and the great vase life. Callas are also incredibly easy to arrange even for the novice designer, so it’s a bloom type we recommend for anyone looking for something effortless and long lasting.
Flower #10: Eryngium Thistle
Eryngium thistle is another great low-allergy flower choice. This prickly looking bloom comes in blue, green and silvery-green colors. It’s a great way to add texture to your floral designs without having to worry about making your guests sneeze! They are also low fuss, sturdy and easy to maintain which is always a welcome trait for any bloom!
Best Flowers for Allergies – Honorable Mention
So that’s our roundup of the 10 best flowers for allergies and there are certainly many other flower types that we could have added to the list. Some of the runner-ups that are worth a mention:
Also most fruits, berries, and greens are low-allergy so incorporating them with some of the picks from our 10 best flowers for allergies list will provide endless options for creating stunning arrangements!
One flower you might see mentioned as “allergy friendly” that we have not included are lilies. This is a tricky one! There are some varieties that have been bred to be pollen-free, but unless you’re 100% sure that’s what you have, then it can be hard to know when buying them.
Lilies can be made “pollen-free” by removing the stamens right as the blooms open and before the anthers start forming pollen. But if you happen to miss a bloom or forget to remove it on time, you might be risking it for your guests! Also, the scent of lilies (particularly oriental varieties) can be overly fragrant for some people – enough to cause bad headaches, so we generally recommend against using lilies if you’re not sure about allergies or the scent sensitivity of your guests.
I hope you find this information helpful – whether it’s choosing the right flowers for your holiday table or finding allergy friendly flowers for a wedding or holiday event. If you have any questions or other recommendations to share with us, just leave a comment below!