Do Houseplants Cause Allergies?

Knowing how well you take care of your plants, the sight of your indoor garden will lighten up your mood. Even so, that mood will fluctuate when you suddenly feel like sneezing or itching all over while in their presence. So you’ll have to wonder: do houseplants cause allergies?

The quick answer is yes, some houseplants can cause allergies. However, the allergic response can vary depending on which type of plant allergen you’re immune system is sensitive to.

In this article, we’ll examine how houseplants can trigger your allergic response.

What Is Triggering Your Plant Allergy

It’s only natural for plants to produce different kinds of substances as part of their ecosystem. Though sometimes, even if it’s not harmful, these elements can trigger an allergic reaction when you come in contact with them.

These are the following plant substances that can be causing your allergy.


During spring and autumn, a male flowering plant produces pollen in order to reproduce. Pollen appears like dust, often relying on the wind for it to be transported.

If you’re allergic to pollen and you come in contact with it, your immune system will mistake them as a dangerous substance. This will prompt it to release antibodies and produce histamines to attack them.

This process may result in an allergic response or hay fever.


When pollen is a natural transport of plants, mold is more dangerous.

The mold is the white, cotton candy-like congregation of strings growing on or at the soil of your plant.

It’s a fungus that finds its way into your shrubs by releasing spores into the air. It can also develop when your plant receives more than enough water but poor drainage, a condition that a mold loves. This can be a reason why your plant may rot and decay.

Meanwhile, you’ll develop allergic symptoms if you’re exposed to these airborne spores. At worse, these symptoms can display a different mold-related health problem called mold toxicity.


Remember the time when you’re gardening and you notice a sticky fluid coming from your plant? The sap is like the plant’s blood being delivered to the rest of its parts. It contains organic materials such as food, amino acids, water, and sugar.

If you’re allergic to one of its natural compounds, some types of plant sap can be toxic to you. This can cause you to experience allergic symptoms, especially to the skin.

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Signs and Symptoms of Plant Allergy

The allergic reaction is from the released histamines coming from what your body is perceiving as dangerous.

If you’re experiencing a plant allergy, you’ll notice these symptoms:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Skin irritation
  • Watery or itchy eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Scratchy throat
  • Puffiness
  • Shortness of breath

These signs can vary from mild to severe, depending on your exposure to the plant that’s causing your allergy.

If it’s your first exposure, then you will likely experience lenient symptoms. However, continuously touching the plant, or inhaling its pollen, may lead to serious allergic effects.

Houseplants That Can Cause Your Allergy

The allergy mostly depends on an individual’s immune system and reaction to contact. However, there are still plants that are widely known to cause allergies.

Weeping Fig

Weeping fig

The weeping fig is among the most common houseplants that can cause allergic reactions. They contain latex-like proteins found on their leaves, trunks, and sap particles.

If you have a latex allergy, you’ll want to stay away from this plant. Interacting with the plant may likely cause you eye irritation and respiratory problems.

Male Palms

Palms have a breath of the fresh summer air when you look at them, even when they’re indoors. However, if you want to add a palm tree inside your house, you might as well choose to grow female palms.

Male palms are famous for shedding a lot of pollen. The pollen could spread around the house and could cause everyone in the family to experience allergic reactions.


Putting bonsai trees or junipers on top of your desk makes it look more organized and pleasing to the eyes.

Nevertheless, these mini trees have pollen which can cause hay fever and rashes.


Chrysanthemums are popular flowers that you’d absolutely love inside your house. Before you continue with that plan, chrysanthemums tend to cause skin reactions.

This is especially true for people with pollen allergies. These flowering plants have allergens that can easily be airborne. Once the allergen touches your skin, there’s a possibility that you may endure contact allergy.

If you’re planning to grow Chrysanthemums yourself, it’s always better to have them stay outdoors or not have them at all.

African Violet

African Violet

African violets may be a very pretty addition in front of your glass window. One good thing about them is that they don’t produce that much pollen. However, they have broad and fuzzy leaves that make them constant dust collectors.

If you already have a dust allergy, it’s best to find a plant replacement best fitted for your window and your health.

Spider Plants

Whether you hang them or place them on top of a corner table, Spider Plants give your house a hint of elegance when used as decor indoors. They’re also known as air-purifying plants that can remove indoor pollution.

Despite this benefit, don’t make the mistake of placing them where the wind blows. Putting them near an open window, or beside a fan, will spread the plant’s pollen all over the place.

What To Do After Experiencing Plant Allergies

When you’re experiencing an allergic reaction, the best course of action is to immediately check in with your allergist doctor. They’ll provide a helpful diagnosis that can give you an idea about which allergen is triggering your symptoms.

They will also prescribe your allergy medications, which you’ll be advised to take whenever you’re experiencing allergic attacks.

These medications can either be pills and liquids, nasal sprays, or eye drops. Epinephrine is also an alternative option if the symptoms you’re experiencing are severe.

You can also try nonmedicinal treatments such as taking a warm bath to help you in unclogging your sinuses.

How to Prevent Plant Allergies


The best way to decrease allergic reactions from houseplants is to replace them with air-purifying indoor plants.

It’ll also do you good if your carpet and rugs are washable since they can trap pollen just as they do with dust.

Remember to always check on your plants and keep them clean, however low-maintenance they can be. Doing this will lessen the build-up of pollen and dust on the leaves. Furthermore, providing your plant with the right amount of water and air will minimize the chances of mold growing on them.

Indoor Plants That Can Reduce Allergies

Being allergic to some types of plants doesn’t mean that you have no use for your green thumb anymore. You can still grow plants that can both improve the air and get rid of airborne allergens.

These are the air-purifying houseplants that you can display inside your house:

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Wrapping Up

Yes, indoor plants can cause you allergies. This usually depends on what plant you interacted with, and what particular allergen made your immunity system react this way.

Regardless, awareness of which houseplant may trigger an allergic reaction from you can help you reduce the attacks. This shouldn’t stop you from collecting more plants. Instead, this will assist you in deciding which plant you can pick next time for an indoor setting.