Plants for Asthma Patients

If you love gardening, picking certain asthma-friendly plants may benefit your asthma. For many people with asthma and allergies, choosing the right asthma plants can have a significant impact. There are a number of decisions you can make to decrease the risk of your asthma plants causing you any problems.

What You Plant Matters When You Have Asthma

You do not want your love for gardening to turn into a miserable experience that leads to:

  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing

With a little forethought and few simple precautions, your asthma plants and your asthma can coexist:

  • Sex Matters: Male asthma plants produce more pollen, while female asthma plants will help remove pollen from in and around your garden. This goes for not only for trees and shrubs but also for grasses that you can use for your lawn. As an additional perk, female grasses make an excellent asthma plant if you do not like to mow your lawn. Female grasses do not grow as tall as male grasses and do not require as frequent mowing.
  • Know What Grows Best In Your Area: Plants that are not suited for your climate become a magnet for insects. Insects leave a residue that can promote mold and spore growth that can trigger your asthma. Likewise, some plants are disease resistant and will be less likely to promote spore and mold growth.
  • Avoid Chemicals and Insecticides: Both insecticides and chemicals such as herbicides or fungicides can be inhaled and irritate your lungs resulting in inflammation and bronchospasm. If you must use these on your asthma plants it is probably best for you to not handle them and not garden for some time after they have been used

Certain types of flowers, grasses, and trees make better asthma plants. The following asthma plants are less likely to have a tremendous impact on your asthma:

  • Amaranthus
  • Azalea
  • Begonia
  • Bougainvillea
  • Cactus
  • Cherry tree
  • Daffodil
  • Dahlia
  • Daisy
  • Geranium
  • Gladiola
  • Hibiscus
  • Iris
  • Irish moss
  • Magnolia
  • Marigold
  • Narcissus
  • Pansy
  • Petunia
  • Roses
  • Snapdragon
  • Tulip
  • Violet
  • Zinnias

In general, highly-allergenic asthma plants include:

  • Ash
  • Cedar
  • Coneflower
  • Cottonwood
  • Crocus
  • Elderberry
  • Johnson Grass
  • Juniper
  • Maple
  • Oak
  • Peony
  • Rye Grass
  • Timothy

Treatments If You Are Going to Be Exposed to Asthma Plants

If you are not sure exactly which asthma plants are causing your symptoms it is possible for an allergist to do allergy testing and even treat you with allergy shots or immunotherapy. The main point of the article today is to be more proactive when it comes to plants.

Patients have frequently asked if plants might help their asthma. While this is not usually the case and we normally think of them as exposures/allergens, some plants may actually improve air quality. One such example is the peace lily that absorbs benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. Another example is the dracaena or corn plant that eliminates xylene, toluene, benzene, and trichloroethylene. Finally, English Ivy is a climbing plant that can remove allergens such as mold and animal feces.

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Article Sources

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Lung Association. Combating Mold and Preventing Asthma Symptoms. Updated July 18, 2018.

  2. Ye M, Beach J, Martin JW, Senthilselvan A. Occupational pesticide exposures and respiratory healthInt J Environ Res Public Health. 2013;10(12):6442–6471. Published 2013 Nov 28. doi:10.3390/ijerph10126442

  3. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Smart Gardening: Tips for an Allergy-Friendly Garden. Updated April 18, 2018.

Additional Reading

  • Thomas Leo Ogren. Safe Sex in the Garden. Ten Speed Press. Berkeley, CA. 2003