Pick of the bunch: children's favourite flowers

Children in the Rose Garden at Sunnycroft, Shropshire

The sight and smell of flowers can have powerful emotional connections. But how do children feel about them? Can they recognise a daffodil? When was the last time they smelt a rose? We've conducted a survey to discover what connections children have with flowers.

A rosy picture

More than 1,000 boys and girls across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, aged eight to 15, took part in the survey. When asked, 21 per cent chose the rose as their favourite flower. This was closely followed by the sunflower (16 per cent), and daffodils and daisies (7 per cent each) took third place. 

But there were some national and regional differences. Children in Wales chose the daffodil as their favourite flower, whereas children in Northern Ireland had both the daisy and the sunflower as joint first. Children in the East Midlands also chose the sunflower over the rose as their favourite. 

Visitors looking at a sunflower at Speke Hall, Liverpool
Visitors looking at a sunflower at Speke Hall, Liverpool
Visitors looking at a sunflower at Speke Hall, Liverpool

Scent, sight and memories

We asked the children about what made their favourite flower so special. The top reasons they picked were: the colour, shape and smell of the flower.  

What’s more, some picked their favourite flower because they had an emotional connection to it. 15 per cent of children said their favourite flower brought back a nice memory and 14 per cent said the flower they chose was loved by a family member or friend.

More flower facts

  • 40 per cent surveyed said they had smelt a flower in the last week

  • 82 per cent of children said they had a garden with flowers in it 

  • 76 per cent said they had grown a flower from seed

  • 44 per cent said they had flowers in the house most of the time

What’s in a name? 

We also asked the children if they could name a flower when shown a picture. Most children could identify sunflowers, roses, daisies, daffodils, buttercups, and bluebells.

They found other flowers harder to name and less than a quarter could identify a carnation, crocus, orchid or sweet pea.



" It’s really important to get children into green spaces, even if they don’t have a garden, where they can develop their interest and connection to nature. It’s encouraging to see that children can identify common garden flowers and, for many, flowers have positive emotional connections. "
- Simon Toomer, National Trust Plant Conservation Specialist


Connecting children with nature 

There are lots of ways to encourage children outdoors to explore nature, whether it's in the countryside, a local park, or your garden. Our '50 things to do before you're 11¾' activities can help kids get closer to nature. There’s plenty of ideas for things to do all year round, from keeping a nature diary to helping their own flower to grow. 

Nature activities to try