Why Succulents Are The Best Option For Allergy-Prone People

Around 50 million people in the US* alone experience some sort of allergy reaction each year. While these reactions may be mild most people with allergies generally face some limitations in their lifestyle. They may be unable to eat everything they want, keep certain animals as pets, or keep certain plants around the house. But what about succulents? Are succulents good for people with allergies?

Succulents are excellent plants for people with allergies. This is because succulents generally:

  • Don’t shed fibers or dander
  • Don’t release pollen
  • Have thick, large leaves and thick cuticle
  • Release oxygen at night
  • Purify the air
  • Promote mental and emotional well-being 
Succulents are great at preventing allergies

This article explores the subject of why succulents are good for people with allergies. We’ll also look into how plants affect allergies and how succulents help. Finally, the article shares some great succulent plant examples.

How Do Plants Affect Allergies?

Plants may trigger allergies in many ways. Some plants release pollen that may trigger nasal allergies in many people. In tropical areas, plant spores could easily do the same. Some plants, such as poison oak or ivy, may trigger skin allergies.

Allergic reactions are basically your body’s immune system overreacting to certain stimulants. Depending on the person, some may react to a certain food, water, and airborne materials. 

Allergic reactions could be as subtle as constant sneezing. However, people could die from allergic reactions, such as when their airways are blocked out, and they lose the ability to breathe.

Plants may trigger an allergic reaction through contact with the nose and skin.

Contact With Nose

Many plants germinate and breed by releasing pollen like Pine, Oak, and Cedar. Plants may also release spores. Those with an allergy to pollen may show symptoms when in contact with them. These may include constant sneezing, runny nose, or more. The common term for nasal allergic reactions is Rhinitis. 

Succulents are great at helping you dealing with allergies

Contact With Skin

Some plants trigger allergic reactions to human skin, usually via direct contact. Some plants may also release sap or liquid that can trigger allergic reactions. These reactions may include itchy skin, rashes, bumps, and blisters. These reactions could be collectively described as dermatitis.

Are Succulents Good For People With Allergies?

Now that we have seen how plants may trigger allergic reactions in people, we’ll explore how succulents can help with this. We will also examine why succulents are such a good option for people with allergies.

In general, you can assume succulents are very safe plants for people with allergies. In fact, it could well be the safest out there. 

There are several reasons why succulents suit people with allergies:

Succulents Release Very Few Pollen

Succulents breed and germinate by the cross-pollination of their flowers. Depending on the breed of succulents, they may flower at different times over the year.

However, their pollen is released in small, acceptable numbers. Succulents do not release pollen the way pine or oak trees would. Pine pollen, for example, could easily rain down on you. 

This means succulents are generally safer for you unless you are extremely allergic to any speck of pollen. 

Succulents Do Not Release Spores

Plants not bearing seeds may rely on spores to germinate and breed. Examples include mosses, hornworts, ferns, and more. 

Succulents are not spores-bearing plants, as they rely on cross-pollination. If you are allergic to spores, you will not have issues keeping succulents around your environment. 

Succulents don't have spores so are good for people with allergies

Succulents Do Not Shed Fibers or Dander

When it comes to animals, most people with allergies may react to things such as animal fur. Animals also shed their dead skin, which may mean dander. People can be allergic to dander as well. Some may also react to natural or synthetic fibers from rugs or carpets.

Succulents are plants, meaning they should not release fiber or dander. This means succulents should be safe for those allergic to fibers and dander.

You Generally Do Not Touch Succulents

Plants that may trigger skin sensitivities generally can only cause it when it comes into contact with the skin. This means you need to actually go touch it before you can get the allergic reaction. 

Some families of succulents are cacti, which means they are full of thorns. This means you would rarely touch it in the first place unless you are keen to test the sharpness of the thorns. 

Even non-thorny succulents tend to have a waxy, water-repellent surface that does not produce allergens when touched. This means you are unlikely to put yourself in a position to catch skin allergies with succulents. 

How Do Succulents Help People With Allergies?

Generally, aside from preventing allergic reactions in people, succulents can also help people with allergies in many ways. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Purifying air around the plant
  • Releases oxygen at night
  • Helps to relieve allergic symptoms
  • Promotes mental and emotional well being

Succulents are great for people with allergies in many ways. Succulents, in general, do not release spores, nor does it cause skin irritation. It also releases little pollen and rarely triggers allergic reactions when consumed as food. 

On top of that, succulents can actually do more for people with allergies:

Purifying Air Around The Plant

Succulents are an excellent plant to help purify the air around the plant. Succulents generally do this by pulling any VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in the air to the soil around them. 

Succulents may not be strong enough to remove pollen or spores from the air. Still, they could help to remove other chemicals and VOCs that could trigger allergic reactions in you. These VOCs may include, but are not limited to:

  • Acetone
  • Ammonia
  • Benzene
  • Chloroform
  • Xylene

A cleaner air with fewer VOCs may help to avoid allergic flare-ups. Even if a flare-up happens, it could at least help to avoid it from becoming full-blown.

Releases Oxygen At Night

One thing differentiating succulents from other plants is their ability to generate oxygen at night. These plants do not perform regular photosynthesis like other plants. Instead, succulents use CAM (Crassulacean acid metabolism) photosynthesis.

CAM photosynthesis happens at night without the help of the sun. The succulent plant takes the carbon dioxide around it, converts it into sugar for its food, and releases oxygen. 

If you have a succulent around you, you stand to enjoy the oxygen the plant releases when you sleep at night. This additional oxygen may help you to sleep better, wake up better in the morning, and relieve possible allergic symptoms.

Having trouble getting to and staying asleep? How succulents can help you sleep.

Helps To Relieve Allergic Symptoms

Some succulents are known for their medicinal qualities. Humans may benefit medically from eating, drinking, or applying succulent-derived juices or flesh. In fact, many of our skincare healthcare products may contain extracts from succulent plants. 

Take, for example, dragon fruit. Aside from being tasty to eat and drink, dragon fruits also help with digestion and may help to relieve constipation. However, the best succulent for allergic symptoms may be Aloe Vera. 

Aloe Vera juices and flesh are usually good for the skin and may help to relieve sunburns. If your skin turns itchy because of an allergic reaction, aloe vera can relieve it. It can even promote healing and help your skin wounds to recover faster.

Promotes Mental And Emotional Well Being

One of the issues with people with allergies is that they may be more anxious, especially during the spring and summer allergy season. [source]

This is hardly helpful, as being anxious will likely push their already trigger-happy immune system to be even more likely to overreact. This means they will be even more sensitive to allergens and may react more extremely when coming into contact with any.

Succulents may be able to help in this aspect by promoting mental and emotional well-being. Not directly, but in a more indirect manner.

First, succulents are plants. Many studies have concluded that plants generally help bring more calm to the people around them, probably because they bring them closer to nature.

In fact, just by spending 20 minutes in a place with an indoor plant, you can feel more at peace. One study showed that people generally feel more peaceful and positive after spending around 15 minutes in a room close to a tall, 5-foot plant. [source]

These studies do not specify any plant types, which means you can easily use a succulent as a replacement. On top of that, succulents may deliver more peace and calm. This is because you do not need to stress too much about how to care for it.

Being calmer and more at peace may help to promote better mental and emotional well-being and may help to reduce anxiety. Less anxiety may even help to lower their allergic reaction.

Succulents can help reduce anxiety? How succulents lower stress and anxiety levels.

Great Succulents For People With Allergies

Some great succulent plants for people with allergies include Aloe Vera, Snake Plant, Jade Plant, Money Tree, and Aeonium. These plants generally do not trigger allergic reactions and may help promote well-being.

Many succulents can help reduce allergies

Aloe Vera

Probably the most popular succulent on the planet, Aloe Vera is native to Africa. However, it is widely grown worldwide due to its medicinal qualities. The juicy gel inside the leaves is useful for treating skin conditions such as itchiness and eczema. 

Aloe Vera plants are also quite easy to care for. They generally thrive under bright sunlight and if planted on loose, well-draining soil. Like most succulents, Aloe Vera can survive for a long time without water or fertilizing. Consider planting your Aloe Vera on the ground or in a pot with a 6-inch diameter or more. 

Snake Plant

The Snake Plant may also be a staple name when it comes to succulents. It is also known as Sansevieria or mother-in-law’s tongue. 

Snake Plants get their name from their tall, stiff leaves that twist on themselves, making them look like snakes. Snake plants are also well known for their ability to clean the surrounding air, making them a great choice for many.

Snake plants are also tough, rugger plants. They can thrive without much sunlight and do not need much fertilizing. They are also rather strong and resistant to pests and diseases, making them a low-maintenance plant.

Jade Plant

The Jade plant originates from South Africa. It has green, thick, shiny leaves in the shape of coins joined together. This may explain why many people associate the plant with good luck. Many also call it the ‘Money Tree’ and plant them in their house because they believe it will bring them a fortune.

Jade plants do well with infrequent sunlight and watering. It also does not require much fertilizing. The only occasional care to do on a Jade plant is to trim it. Trimming reduces the leaves, which may help them to keep that deep, shiny green color.

Christmas Cactus

Want something more colorful? Check out the Christmas Cactus. The Christmas cactus is native to the tropical rainforests of Brazil. It is known for its flowers that bloom around Christmas. The flowers are vibrant, giving out red, white, pink, purple, or orange flowers.

Christmas Cactuses thrive when you place them under indirect sunlight and plant them in loose, well-draining soil. Keep it completely dark for at least 14 hours a day, several weeks before Christmas, to encourage it to bloom. 


The Kalanchoe may not look like a succulent plant with normally shaped leaves. However, these leaves are thick and full of juicy goodness inside. The leaf surface is waxy and smooth. Kalanchoe flowers in the spring, with clusters of tiny flowers producing a large bloom on top of the stems. 

Kalanchoe thrives in a warm, humid climate. Water sparingly, but protect the moisture from the soil from evaporating. You can do this by putting a piece of plastic or glass on top of the soil to catch any evaporating moisture.


Aeoniums are also called tree houseleeks. It is native to parts of northern Africa and nearby islands, including the Canary, Cape Verde, and Madeira Islands. It has flower-like leaves arranged on a base stem and spreading like a rosette. 

Aeoniums enjoy well-draining soil and bright, indirect light. They can tolerate some time away from the sun as well. They are also drought-tolerant and can go long periods without water and fertilizing. 

Donkey’s Tail

The Donkey’s Tail plant (Sedum Morganianum) may also be known as Burro’s Tail. It originates from tropical southern Mexico. It produces fleshy, blue-green leaves on a trailing stem. The stem could grow as 

Are There Succulents That Can Cause Allergies?

Some succulents may cause allergies. Plants such as Euphorbia may contain sap that causes skin allergies. Large-leaved succulents can also trap dust, causing allergy as well. Some people are genetically allergic to succulents, so they should avoid having succulents around them.

In general, succulents are one of the most hypoallergenic plants around. However, there are times when succulents can cause allergic reactions in people, although they are sometimes not directly to blame. 

Succulent plants such as Euphorbia produce sap on the leaves, which can cause your skin to develop an allergic reaction and turn itchy. This can be particularly worse for those with latex allergies.

In a more indirect way, succulents can cause allergies as well. Large-leaved succulents such as Agave or Echeveria could collect dust over time and can trigger allergic reactions in those with sensitive noses. 

Finally, some people are genetically allergic to succulents, at least to some succulent plants. It may be best not to have succulents for these people to avoid potential health hazards. [source]

*Source: Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

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