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A Guide To Gardening With Allergies – Blooms, Sniffles, Green Thumbs and Runny Noses

If you suffer from allergies and love gardening, don't despair. Here are some tips to enjoy this hobby despite the pollen.
Gardening when you have allergies

Sneezes, and itchy eyes might make you hesitant to don your gardening gloves, but fear not! In thisour guide on gardening when you have allergies, we’ll help you navigate the world of blossoms and blooms without letting those pesky allergies dampen your green-thumb spirit.

Discover practical tips, plant suggestions, and clever techniques to keep your gardening endeavors a breath of fresh air, even if the pollen seems determined to challenge your gardening bliss. So, grab your tissues and join us on this pollen-filled adventure as we cultivate a garden that blooms both beauty and allergy-friendly enjoyment.

Can You Do Gardening If You Have Allergies?

The short answer is: Of course! Anyone can enjoy this activity. Having allergies doesn’t mean you have to give up on your gardening dreams; it just means you may require some extra precautions and adjustments so you don’t trigger your allergies.

By following strategies such as choosing low-allergen plants, wearing protective clothing, gardening during optimal times, and taking allergy medications as recommended by a healthcare professional, it’s possible to minimize the impact of allergies and create an enjoyable gardening experience.

So... How Do Allergies Affect Gardening?

Allergies can have an impact on gardening in several ways. For example:

  • Allergic reactions: When exposed to allergens like pollen, mold spores, or certain plant substances, people with allergies may experience symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, itchy or watery eyes, nasal congestion, or skin rashes. For some, these reactions can make gardening uncomfortable or even unbearable.
  • Sensitivities to specific plants: Some people may have allergies or sensitivities to specific plants, including common garden ones like flowers, trees, or grasses. Touching or coming into contact with these plants can trigger allergic reactions, leading to discomfort or skin irritation.
  • Environmental factors: Allergens can be present in the outdoor environment, especially during specific seasons. Pollen, for example, is a common allergen that can be abundant during spring or summer. High pollen levels may limit the time individuals with allergies can spend gardening comfortably, particularly during peak allergy seasons.
  • Indoor allergens: If you do indoor gardening, such as tending to houseplants, you could also be affected by allergies. Mold spores or indoor allergens like dust mites can trigger allergic reactions, causing discomfort for those with allergies.

Best Tips for Gardening With Allergies

Let’s go through some tips to help you indulge in your green-thumb passion while managing allergies. 

1. Choose Low-Allergen Plants

Opt for plants that are less likely to trigger allergies. Look for plants with low pollen production or those that rely on insect pollination instead of wind dispersal. Good options include:

  • Geraniums: These colorful and versatile flowers are known for their low allergenic potential. They come in various vibrant hues and are a popular choice for garden beds, containers, or hanging baskets.

  • Salvia: With its attractive spikes of flowers in shades of blue, purple, or red, salvia is a great choice for those with allergies. It is a low-pollen plant that attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies.

  • Hostas: These leafy, shade-loving plants are prized for their diverse foliage, ranging from solid green to variegated patterns. Hostas produce minimal pollen and are a popular choice for gardens and landscapes.

  • Impatiens: Impatiens are known for their profusion of colorful, showy flowers and thrive in shady areas. They are a low-pollen option and can add a splash of vibrant beauty to your garden.

  • Begonias: Begonias are versatile and come in a variety of forms, including fibrous-rooted, tuberous, or semperflorens types. They offer a wide range of flower colors and leaf patterns, and they typically have low allergenic potential.

When choosing plants, it’s also helpful to consider native species or female cultivars, as they often produce less pollen. Ultimately, selecting plants that have minimal impact on your allergies will allow you to enjoy your garden without the bothersome symptoms.

Good plants for people with allergies: Hostas
Hostas are a great option for gardeners with allergies.

2. Wear Protective Gear

When gardening, wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, gloves, and a hat to minimize direct contact with allergens. Consider using a mask or respirator to reduce inhalation of pollen or other airborne allergens.

3. Time Your Gardening Sessions Wisely

Pollen counts are usually higher in the early morning and on dry, windy days. Try to garden later in the day or after rain when pollen counts are lower. Also, consider checking local pollen forecasts to plan your gardening activities accordingly.

4. Create an Allergy-Friendly Garden

Design your garden to minimize potential allergens. Keep grassy areas mowed short, as tall grasses produce more pollen. Avoid planting high-pollen trees or plants close to your living areas. Instead, focus on low-pollen or female cultivars, or plant more flowering plants that rely on insects for pollination.

5. Practice Good Hygiene

After gardening, wash your hands, face, and clothes thoroughly to remove any pollen or allergens. Showering before bed can help prevent allergens from transferring to your bedding, ensuring a restful night’s sleep.

Gardening When Allergic: Final Thoughts

Having allergies doesn’t have to put a halt to your gardening aspirations. By implementing these tips and making some adjustments, you can create an allergy-friendly gardening experience that allows you to enjoy the beauty of nature without suffering from uncomfortable symptoms.

Remember to choose low-allergen plants, wear protective gear, time your gardening activities wisely, design an allergy-friendly garden, and practice good hygiene to minimize exposure to allergens. With a little planning and care, you can cultivate a garden that brings you joy and tranquility while keeping your allergies at bay. So, roll up your sleeves, grab your gardening tools, and let your green-thumb thrive in harmony with your allergies. Happy gardening!