Designers’ Favorite Flowers

We often ask the question, “What is your favorite flower?” Look back at some selections and ponder your choice for best blossom

Published April 2018 | Updated July 2022. For more than 15 years, FLOWER magazine editors and writers have asked designers, architects, and tastemakers, “What is your favorite flower?” Sometimes they artfully dodge the question. Often, there’s a variation on “How could I choose just one?” But when someone truly has a posy preference, they speak up and share their beloved. We take a look back at some of the thoughtful responses (and all of our favorite flowers).

A Collection of Favorite Flowers

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“As a child, lilacs were my first flower of enchantment and femininity. They remain a great source of inspiration for my collections.”—Zac Posen, fashion designer
Read "All About Lilacs"

“I feel like I’m a daffodil. It’s always been my favorite flower. I connect to its ability to grow almost anywhere and persevere through the semi-frozen ground toward the sunshine.”—Kristen Caissie, floral designer
See Caissie's Arrangements

“I love the desert, so I have to say orange Mojave mound cactus flowers.”—Kip Dawkins, photographer

“The peony. I have a fondness for China, and peonies originated there. I grow tree peonies in all my gardens— they’re such exquisite flowers!”—Martha Stewart

hydrangea flowers hydrated
“Well I am addicted—absolutely addicted—to hydrangeas. They grow all summer long at my weekend house in Long Island. I adore their big, showy blooms, and I don’t have to do much to keep them going. I’ll stuff them into a very simple container.”—Richard Keith Langham, interior designer
See Langham's Interiors
narcissus, daffodils, jonquils

“My favorite flower . . . Paperwhites. I love the way they bend and fold and particularly the way they smell.”—Miles Redd, interior designer
See Redd's Designs

“When asked about 'favorite' flowers, artist Claire Basler hesitates. Instead of saying predictably that she loves them all, she admits to a fondness for poppies. “It’s the force and fragility, the delicacy of the petals, and the profundity of the heart,” she says.
See Basler's Art and Studio

“I have always loved a black and white combination on the runway and find it works just as well on the table. Anemones have long been a favorite flower, as I like to dress the table in texture, and the color contrast is perfect for any setting.”—Lela Rose, fashion designer
A Ladies' Tea with Lela Rose

Camellias! They are abundant in the South and the first flower my mother taught me how to draw. I like to arrange simple cuttings in a variety of containers.”—Amelia Handegan, interior designer
See Handegan's Designs

Blue hydrangeas—they remind me of sitting on the front porch with my grandmother.”—Katherine Pearson, former editor-in-chief of both Coastal Living and Southern Accents magazines
Dozens More Hydrangea Arrangements
white fragrant flowers

“My favorite flowers are peonies, lilacs, and especially gardenias, which remind me of the two years I spent in Greece as a child—they grew everywhere there.”—Alex Papacristidis, interior designer

Daisies. They’re just such happy flowers, they look like miniature suns.”—Jon Carloftis, garden designer
See Carloftis's Designs

antique roses
Antique roses. Some favorites are ‘Crystal Fairy,’ ‘Perle d’Or,’ and ‘Climbing Pinkie.’ They thrive off neglect, so they allow you to have all the benefits without the commitment. I hope that doesn’t say something about me!”—Troy Rhone, garden designer
See Rhone's Designs

“If someone wanted to send me flowers then tuberose, because they smell so good. If I’m picking one from the garden, it would be a saucer hibiscus. They’re difficult to grow, but when it happens, it’s just fantastic.”—Mimi McMakin, interior designer

“My favorite fower is the frangipani. They come from trees in Southeast Asia and are matte white with a bee pollen–yellow center. They are rich, deep, and intensely fragrant. They remind me of sticky nights in Asia with the blossoms foating on water.”—John Robshaw, textile designer

“It’s too hard to limit to one: hyacinths because they evoke spring and renewal, lilies-of-the-valley because they bloom around my May birthday, and daisies and irises because they remind me of gardens in the small town where I grew up—everyone had them.”—Jan Showers, interior designer
English garden roses, English roses

“A garden rose. It’s one of my all-time favorite flowers. I love using it in designs because it can pair well with almost anything. It’s romantic but also goes well with unexpected elements, such as protea, grasses, or berries. I like to think my personality is the same—amenable to many different styles.”—Jackie Reisenauer, floral designer
See Reisenauer's Designs

simple flower arrangements

Purple anemones. There are great paintings with anemones by Matisse, and I think that’s the first time I put it together that they were my favorite flower. They’re so precise—you see each petal, and they have that fabulous black center.”—Alexa Hampton, interior designer
See Hampton's Designs

Calla lilies make a strong statement with their clean, sophisticated lines that for me evoke both history and luxury. I’m always happy to see them, whether in white or color.”—Sylvia Weinstock, wedding cake designer
See Weinstock's Designs
Roses. On my seventh birthday, my mother had to cancel my party because I had the measles. So the mothers of all my friends brought me roses from their gardens. I had these little vases of roses all over the house. To this day, whenever I smell them I’m reminded of how they lifted my spirits as a little girl.”—Cathy Kincaid, interior designer
See Kincaid's Designs
Hyacinths are such happy spring flowers! Their heady fragrance is perfect for scenting the home. Even the earthy stems have a lovely quality, so I often put them in a glass vase. I like them best without any other flower, for they are a star shining on their own, with each little bud opening to reveal the beauty that is the hyacinth.” –Ted Kennedy Watson, author and tastemaker
See Watson's Summer Home

Peonies. I’m drawn to their lusciousness and complexity. They have been depicted in decorative arts for centuries, so there’s a lovely conversation about peonies that goes back a long time.”—Suzanne Tucker, interior designer

white fragrant flowers
“I spent part of my childhood in South Africa, where tuberose grows profusely. I remember summer nights falling asleep with its heady scent wafting through my bedroom window. Experts say that smell is the sense that’s most powerfully connected to memory. All I have to do is walk through Neiman Marcus and catch a whiff of Jo Malone’s tuberose perfume and I’m temporarily young again.”—Barry Dixon, interior designer
See Dixon's Elway Hall
favorite flower peonies

"These wonderful peonies were a bright coral color that gradually turned this pale shade. They are my favorite kind of flower to use in simple arrangements. Making your own table garden with peonies or whatever you like in small vases is amusing to arrange and gives the table a more relaxed air."—Suzanne Rheinstein
See Rheinstein's Designs

Not sure about your favorite flower? Take our quiz and find out what flower represents you!

By FLOWER Editors