Houseplants Causing Allergies: Can You Be Allergic To Houseplants

Little Girl Smelling Orchid Flower at Home
(Image credit: Mkovalevskaya)

Can houseplants cause allergies? The answer is yes, and the allergies can be caused either by inhalation or by touching parts of the plant.

Houseplant Allergic Reaction

If you are allergic to houseplants, it could be caused by inhaling airborne allergens, such as pollen, from any houseplant. Typical symptoms can include a runny nose, itchy eyes, and even asthma. It can be difficult to diagnose common houseplant allergies, though, because there are many other types of indoor allergens. 

Another way to be allergic to houseplants is by having direct contact with plants. If your skin is in contact with certain liquids or sap from various plants, it may cause itching, eczema, and possibly even swelling in more extreme cases.

Houseplants Causing Allergies

Basically, any flowering houseplant has the potential to cause airborne allergens because of their pollen production. If you are allergic to pollen, you should avoid flowering houseplants like orchids, Stephanotis, spider plants, and any other flowering houseplant. Also, avoid male palms and get a female palm instead in order to avoid the pollen that male palms produce. 

Another thing that can cause airborne allergens indoors is mold on your soil. Mold is encouraged to grow on soil if you leave your soil too wet. So be sure to let your soil dry out a bit on the surface in order to discourage mold. Increasing air circulation and giving your plant enough light will also help the soil to dry out more quickly and decrease the likelihood of your soil growing mold. 

Avoid contact with the liquid or sap from the following plants, as they can cause irritation:

How to Avoid Common Houseplant Allergies

Here are a few tips that you can use to help avoid allergies caused by houseplants:

  • Avoid flowering houseplants in order to minimize pollen that can trigger allergies. If you still want flowering houseplants, choose varieties that produce little pollen. 
  • Avoid plants with fuzzy leaves, as these can actually trap allergens in their foliage. 
  • Choose houseplants with smooth leaves and be sure to keep them clean by wiping them off or misting them regularly. This will keep the dust down since dust can carry airborne allergens.