I have hayfever - which plants can I grow?

I have hayfever – which plants can I grow?

Troubled by hayfever? Browse our selection of low-pollen plants to grow in your garden.

Hayfever affects one in five people. Sufferers can experience itchy and watery eyes, sneezing and runny nose from as early in the year as February, right through to September. Pollen triggers an allergic reaction that typically results in a runny nose, itchy eyes and throat. It’s these symptoms that cause hayfever sufferers so much discomfort, and seek out soothing products like Optrex Hayfever Eye Drops.


If you suffer from hayfever, it pays to be careful about what you grow in your garden. There are plenty of gorgeous, colourful, flowering plants to choose from that won’t add to existing hayfever symptoms.

Which plants cause hayfever?

I have hayfever - what plants can I grow?
I have hayfever – what plants can I grow?

Grass pollen is the most common hayfever allergen in early summer, but tree pollen can be active as early as February, and pollen from weeds is particularly active in high summer.

What’s more, wind-pollinated plants are the worst offenders. They produce large quantities of fine pollen as wind pollination is less efficient than insect pollination. Once these microscopic grains of pollen are airborne they’re easy to inhale.

Some of the most popular summer flowering plants are real troublemakers when it comes to pollen count, so are best removed or left out of your garden. These include many members of the daisy family, Asteraceae. Although they do attract pollinating insects too, the pretty daisy-type flowers have very fine pollen. These include flowering favourites such as chrysanthemums and asters, dahlias and sunflowers, although some sunflower varieties have been bred without pollen and are reportedly less allergic.

Plants to grow for hayfever sufferers

Plants to grow for hayfever sufferers - penstemons
Plants to grow for hayfever sufferers – penstemons

Insect-pollinated plants tend to cause less hayfever as they produce less pollen, most of which is collected by bees to feed their young.


There’s a good range of allergy-free flowering perennials to choose from, but it’s always good idea to look at plants that offer a long season of interest as well as other useful elements such as good foliage, texture and form.

Penstemons make fantastic garden plants. Medium height, they suit a range of soil types and have a long flowering season right through the summer into autumn. The flowers are colourful, ranging from white and pink through to deep purple. Many don’t die back fully, so the semi-evergreen foliage offers interest in the winter.

Hardy geraniums are another great performer, and there are hundreds to choose from. With hundreds of colourful varieties to choose from, there is one to suit almost every type of garden situation, from dry shade to sunny and damper areas too. These are lower growing plants, so good for the front of a border. They also work really well in containers. Colours range from white and pink through to purples and pale blues.


Annuals give you the chance to add instant colour to your garden and you can choose from a rainbow spectrum of reliable flowering plants.

Begonias will bring seasonal zing to your pots and borders. With brilliant colourful, sometimes gaudy blooms, they will flower right through the summer. The waxy, slightly fleshy leaves are a good foil to the flowers and they combine well with other plants, but also look good on their own, in containers or in a sunny flowerbed.


Viburnum is a wonderful genus of shrubs with so much to offer at different times of the year. From the amazing scent of winter flowering Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ to the lime green snowball blooms of Viburnum opulus in spring.


Pear trees are a great choice for small gardens. Small and compact with good flowers and foliage, choose ornamental varieties for their pretty leaf colour and compact shape. Or choose a productive variety, that will give you flowers and fruit. Fruiting pears can be grown trained against walls or as free-standing trees.


Optrex Hayfever Relief 2% w/v Eye Drops. For relief and treatment of hayfever and allergy eye symptoms. Always read the label. RB-M-05045.