Ask McQueens: What Flowers to Give Someone with Hayfever?

Today’s question comes from a reader facing a conundrum common to many of us during the warmer months –  hay fever. Although not affected himself, Richard’s wife of almost a decade regularly suffers from sneezing fits in the presence of flowers. Fortunately, with over 15 years experience, senior florist and McQueens shop manager, Andrea Bassoli, is just the man to offer the right advice.

My wife and I are celebrating a wedding anniversary this summer and I’d like to get her some flowers but she suffers from hay fever. Because of this I’ve generally avoided flowers in the past, opting for alternative gifts instead, but given the occasion I’d love to surprise her with something special. Do you have any suggestions for something that will look good but won’t set her off on a sneezing fit?

Richard, Hertfordshire

Rest assured your wife isn’t the only one—you would be surprised at how many people have this issue, including some florists themselves, which can make working during the summer months a bit of a challenge! My advice to you would be to choose a classic dome of roses in your wife’s favourite colour or a combination of colours for something a little bit different. Roses are great as they contain a relatively small amount of pollen, hidden beneath layers of tightly packed petals, making it quite undetectable.

Other popular options include hydrangea, sweet peas, orchids and carnations (which are incidentally, experiencing quite a revival right now). These either have such a low amount of pollen that it’s virtually undetectable or have a gooey pollen designed to stick to the legs of visiting insects instead of releasing their pollen out into the atmosphere. Therefore, a lot less likely to set off a sneezing fit.

If you’re looking for something different why not combine a selection of the above with some seasonal foliage? A monochromatic colour scheme such as all blue, purple or pink would create a striking look bound to impress. Alternatively, a contrasting colour scheme such as the pink and green bouquet below would create more of an impact. Good luck and happy anniversary!

Andrea, McQueens

Do you have a flower-related query you’d like us to answer? Email for the opportunity to have a hand-selected McQueens florist answer your question.

A bouquet of Hydrangea, roses and Guelder rose
Choosing flowers for someone with hayfever isn’t easy but there are some varieties suitable for a low-pollen bouquet
Senior florist and shop manager at McQueens, Andrea Bassoli
Today’s agony aunt, McQueens senior florist andshop manager, Andrea Bassoli