Children's flower survey reveals rosy picture

Press release
Olivia McNamara-Smit and Benjamin Lamey, both 9, enjoy the roses at Morden Hall Park
Published : 21 Jun 2019

Children’s favourite flower has today been revealed as the rose, following a survey by the National Trust.

The Trust carried out the survey of children in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as part of its drive to encourage children to connect with nature and learn how to care for plants.

More than 1,000 boys and girls aged eight to 15 took part in the survey, with just over one fifth (21%) choosing the rose as their favourite flower followed by the sunflower with 16%. Daffodils and daisies took third place with 7% each.

The children were asked to select all the reasons why it was their favourite flower. Nearly two thirds said the colour (60%), almost a third (30%) liked the shape and almost one third (30%) said the smell was important. 

More than one in six children (15%) said their favour flower brought back a nice memory and 14% said it was their favourite because it was loved by a family member or friend.

Two out of five children surveyed said they had smelt a flower in the last week (40%) and three quarters of those surveyed (76%) said they had grown a flower from seed.

Ian Wright, the National Trust’s Acting Head of Gardens, said:
“I think it’s so important for children to connect with the natural environment. Many gardeners including myself started getting interested in gardening as a career by sowing flower seeds in their childhood and then gaining the satisfaction and pleasure of seeing sunflowers and other plants grow and flower. 

“There are some great tips in our ‘50things’ campaign to help children grow plants and it would be great for them to keep a nature diary so they know what thrives and what doesn’t in their own garden or home”.

Four out of five children (82%) said they had a garden with flowers in it and nearly half of those who took part in the survey (44%) said they had flowers in the house most of the time.

If children had a garden at home they were more likely to have grown a flower from seed. Three quarters of children with a garden had grown a flower from seed (79), whereas less than half (46%) of children without a garden had done so.

There were also national and regional differences. Children in Wales chose the daffodil as their favourite flower (26%). The sunflower was second at 17%, with the rose coming in third at 11%.

Children in Northern Ireland had both the daisy and the sunflower as joint first with 16%. The rose and the daffodil were joint second with 13% each.

Children in the East Midlands also chose the sunflower over the rose as their favourite with 19% and 17% respectively.

Asked to name a flower when shown a picture, most children could identify sunflowers (84%), roses (77%), daisies (72%), daffodils (68%), buttercups (62%) and bluebells (56%). But less than a quarter could identify carnations (23%), crocus (15%), orchid (15%) and only 4% could identify a sweet pea.

Simon Toomer, the National Trust’s Plant Conservation Specialist, said:
“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 continued: “The most readily identified flowers are those most commonly seen or with very distinctive shapes or scent. Orchid and crocus are less common and quite easily confused with other similar plants.” 

The list of flowers given to the children was chosen with the help of the Trust’s Gardens team and included a mix of wild and cultivated flowers.