Top 10 Flowers for Allergy-Free Gardening
5. The hardest part about having Gladiolus (Gladiolus) in your garden is choosing which ones you like the most. Literally hundreds of varieties in infinite colors are available. Just watch out for slugs, which also love these majestic floral spears. Perennial grown from corms (underground stems), blooms and hardiness vary by type.
6. Useful as a groundcover and in rock gardens or garden pots, the easy-to-grow Hardy or Cranesbill Geranium (Geranium sanguineum) has bright blue, pink or magenta flowers and abundant foliage. Not to be confused with annual geraniums (Pelargonium). Perennial, late spring/summer blooms, hardiness zones 4 to 8.
7. The shade-loving Hosta (hosta) adds lush greenery to the landscape. Sum and Substance’s leaves range from vibrant chartreuse to gold, while Twilight’s deep colour is offset by yellow accents. Small flowers appear in pale violet or white, most without fragrance. Perennial, summer blooms, hardiness zones 4 to 9.
8. For a burst of indigo when many plants are losing their buds, the fall-blossoming Japanese Gentian (Gentiana scabra) is ideal. The deep blue of Crested Gentian (Gentiana septemfida) is accented by even darker stripes inside the flower’s throat. Perennial, summer/fall blooms, hardiness zones 3 to 6.
9. Tall, dramatic spikes of bell-shaped lavender flowers with speckled throats are the hallmarks of the Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea). This quick-growing plant is shade-tolerant, and its height makes it perfect for borders and densely planted areas. Perennial, spring/summer blooms, hardiness zone 4.
10. With a scent as delicious as its name implies, Sweet Pea Vine (Lathyrus odoratus) is an old-fashioned favourite that delights the eye with a riot of colour as it snakes up the arbour. Annual grown from seeds, late spring/early summer blooms, all hardiness zones, but does best in cooler climates.
Runners-up: pansy (Viola), Madagascar periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus)
- The Sneeze-Free Garden – Plants to look for and to avoid.
- Outdoor Allergies Resource Hub – several helpful articles.
- Hay Fever Handbook – all you’ll need to cope.
- Trees that Make You Sneeze
- Ragweed’s Rule – investigating the worst of the allergenic weeds.
- Stinging Insect Allergies – when is it a serious reaction?
Originally published in Allergic Living magazine.
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