If you are thinking about getting plants for your home, it’s important to find out which ones are safe for you, especially if you have any allergies. You don’t want to get plants that could trigger sneezing fits or worse. Would that be the case for peace lilies?
Peace lilies can cause allergies, but they are unlikely to do so unless you have a really strong reaction. Their pollen is heavy and sticky, which means it isn’t as likely to be drifting around in the air, so it shouldn’t trigger any allergies in most cases.
Let’s explore why peace lilies are great houseplants for those who suffer from allergies, and what makes them different from standard lilies. We’ll also cover a few tips for reducing the risk of a peace lily triggering an allergic reaction.
Is A Peace Lily Likely To Cause Allergies?
It’s quite unlikely that a peace lily will cause allergies for most people who suffer from contact with pollen. This is because the pollen of a peace lily is heavy and sticky, and tends to cling to the plant’s stems and to other objects, rather than drifting around in the air. You are unlikely to get the pollen up your nose or in your mouth, so it shouldn’t trigger an allergic response.
It is important to note that almost any houseplant that flowers is capable of causing an allergic reaction, and if you suffer from pollen allergies, you might want to be cautious about bringing even a peace lily into your home. The pollen from one of these plants can cause:
- Watery eyes
- Tightness of breath
- A prickly throat
If you experience any of these symptoms due to a peace lily, you might want to remove it from your home, as allergies should be taken seriously, and could get worse over time. Similarly, if you are allergic to the plant’s leaves or flowers and if it causes any soreness on your hands when you touch it, you should be wary about having it in your home.
On the whole, however, peace lilies tend to be low risk and few people react badly to them, even if other plants can be problematic. They are not lilies – some of which are famous for causing allergic reactions – and they are often found on lists of plants that are suitable for allergy sufferers. If you find that most houseplants set off coughing fits, a peace lily might be an ideal option to try.
Are Peace Lilies Not Real Lilies?
Many lilies are pollen free and therefore reasonably safe for people who suffer from allergies, but there are a few lilies (the Longiflorum lily and the Asiatic lily) that are known for their light, powdery pollen. This pollen showers nearby surfaces, gets into the air, and can be a serious source of irritation for many people.
A peace lily will not do this and isn’t even a member of the true lily family. Instead, it’s an Araceae, and its pollen is heavy and sticky. It will cling to nearby surfaces, rather than getting into the air, so your chances of inhaling the dust and causing irritation are low.
While many people who suffer from allergies should avoid lilies – especially those listed above – peace lilies are in a completely separate category and should be treated as different plants. You don’t need to worry about them in most cases.
Can Peace Lilies Make The Air Cleaner?
People who suffer from severe allergies are often looking for solutions to alleviate their symptoms and remove dust and dirt from the air in their homes – so you might be wondering if a peace lily is a potential solution. The answer is possibly, and it certainly gets a lot of attention as an air purifier.
The peace lily is on NASA’s list of the Top Ten Household Air Cleaning Plants because of its air purifying properties. That means that as well as being a low allergen risk, it might make your home’s air easier to breathe. However, it’s important not to put too much weight on this idea.
Although peace lilies are good at purifying the air, the difference that they make is minimal. Your plant will take in some toxins, but you would need a huge number of peace lilies in your home to make any noticeable difference to the overall air quality. It’s still worth having a plant for its oxygenating properties and beauty, but don’t put too much stock in its ability to purify.
How Can You Minimize The Risk Of A Bad Reaction To A Peace Lily?
If you do have allergies but you really want a peace lily, you might be wondering how you can further mitigate the risks that it poses. You should find that it has minimal impact on your allergies, but there are a few things that you can do to make it even safer. These include:
- Removing the pollen entirely
- Keeping the soil reasonably dry
- Using a dehumidifier
- Keeping the plant out of your bedroom
We’ll explore each of these options in more detail so you can try them in your home.
Remove The Pollen
Since pollen is usually the main allergen, taking it away before it has had a chance to spread may reduce your reaction to the plant. You can cut the spadix (the yellow cylinder at the center of the flower) off and dispose of it before it even produces pollen. Use sterile scissors and remove it before it has fully formed.
Keep The Soil Dry
Although peace lilies are rainforest plants and they like to be kept fairly damp, having the soil on the dry side can help to reduce the risk of mold spores forming. Mold will trigger an allergic reaction for many people, so minimizing it is a good idea. Allow your peace lily to dry out between watering sessions and avoid overwatering it.
Use A Dehumidifier
Keeping the surrounding area a little drier can also help to reduce the risk of mold spores forming and triggering a reaction. You can flick your dehumidifier on a few hours after watering, especially if your plant is tucked in a corner. Increase the airflow around the peace lily to allow any moisture to evaporate, but don’t put the dehumidifier right next to the plant, or it may kill it.
Keep The Plant Out Of Your Bedroom
You may find that you are more likely to start coughing and sneezing at night or when you first wake up, and this can make it hard to get a good night’s sleep or to start the day well. It’s best to keep plants out of your bedroom if you suffer from allergies.
A peace lily in the living room or kitchen might trigger fewer responses and will let you get a better night.
Peace lilies can cause allergies, like any plant that produces pollen. However, they will not generally do so, because this pollen is sticky and too heavy to drift around in the air. Even so, if you are very allergic to pollen, consider removing the spadix before the plant has a chance to form any, and keep the peace lily out of your bedroom.