Plants To Avoid If Your Child Is Allergy-Prone

Allergies are never fun--especially for children who love to play and tumble outdoors in the summer. Sensitivity to pollen can be a huge obstacle to summer fun if you're allergic. If your child suffers from allergies that seem seasonal in nature, visit a pediatric allergist early on to help you get a handle on what you should and shouldn't be planting in your backyard. Not all plants are created equal--some should just plain be avoided altogether if your child has a tendency toward sensitivity. The biggest offenders in your summer garden include the following:


They're a lovely harbinger of a long, lazy summer, but if you're growing sunflowers outside your child's window, you may be contributing to his allergies. Sunflowers are some of the worst plants in the garden if you suffer from allergies. Sunflowers produce prolific amounts of pollen. Four distinct allergens are associated with the sunflower, making it one of the most potent plants for people susceptible to allergic reactions from pollen.


Those lovely, long pink and purple blooms of the wisteria may lend a romantic appeal to your landscape, but they might be wreaking havoc on your child's allergies. Not only that, but wisteria is toxic to pets, often causing vomiting, depression, and diarrhea. In humans, the problems may manifest as contact dermatitis, or skin rash. If someone in your family shows sensitivities to plants or pollen, or if you have outdoor pets, wisteria is one flower to avoid.


They're oh-so-pretty in cut-flower arrangements, but if you're allergic to the pollen produced by daisies, they'll make you miserable. Daisy allergies present themselves as sneezing, itchy eyes, headache, wheezing and more. Severe cases can appear as asthma-like symptoms that interfere with breathing. If your child is allergic to pollen in general, play it safe and skip the daisies.


Fescue is a type of perennial, ornamental grass. If your child has grass pollen allergies, mark fescue off your list of viable plants. Relatively bad news for allergy sufferers, fescue is notorious for invoking allergic reactions and skin sensitivities.


Low-growing plants, flowers and shrubs aren't the only offenders in your summer landscape. Trees such as red maple, mountain cedar, and elm are just as notorious. The best course of action, if you're unsure which plants are a go in your garden, regardless of allergies, is to speak with a horticulturist who can give you insight into which ones are taboo.


Technically it's a fungus, but if it's growing inside your air ducts, along your bathroom tile, or on the siding of your home, mold can cause allergies to soar. In the warm, wet spring, mold thrives in damp, undisturbed places. The good news is that hot soapy water is all that's typically needed to combat it. When you plan your spring cleaning binge, set aside a few hours to search out and destroy mold spores in and around your home--you'll probably find them in the most unlikely of places:

  • Basements
  • Insulation
  • Inside your humidifier or air conditioner
  • Inside your air ducts
  • Inside a chimney that leaks
  • On the outside of your home
  • On wooden decks and picnic tables

Finding and destroying mold that forms both inside and outside your home can have an amazing impact on the severity of your child's allergies.

If you're not sure exactly which plants are ailing your child the most, it's time to visit a pediatric allergist to get the low-down. An allergist is the specialist who can help you narrow down the potential field of suspects and help your little one to find relief.  For additional information, visit