Least Favorite Flowers

By Gabrielle.

I read this interview of my friend, Jenny Komenda of Little Green Notebook, and I was shocked. Jenny, a crazy-talented interior designer and someone with impeccable taste, mentioned that she doesn’t like hydrangeas.

Whaaa??? Shock, I tell you. : )

Hydrangeas might be my all-time favorite flower. They change color with the soil. They last for ages. And they’re so generous with their blooms! When I first learned about them as a teenager, I remember aching that they didn’t grow in the hot deserts of my hometown. I would daydream of living somewhere lush and green where huge bushes of hydrangeas, in every shade of blue and the palest of pink, would thrive.

Reading Jenny’s interview got me thinking: Is there a flower that I don’t like?

Yes. In fact there is. Will you dislike me if I tell you I’ve always had a hard time liking calla lilies. They look pretend to me. Sort of plastic and over-designed. Like they should only be displayed in a super-modern office building. (Are they your very favorite? Am I offending you? Oh dear!)

I’m not a fan. But some of my favorite people in the world absolutely adore them. I remember helping one of my best friends with her wedding flowers and trying to get over my distaste for the lilies — and hold my tongue! — when she chose them for her bouquet.

Have you ever had a negative reaction to a flower? An object others consider beautiful? I must say, it’s an odd feeling.

Hydrangea images on Pinterest here, here, here and here.

P.S. — Even though we don’t see eye-to-eye on hydrangeas (a vital and important topic! : ), I adore Jenny Komenda.

112 thoughts on “Least Favorite Flowers”

  1. i dislike cala lilies also, for similar reasons – they also seem very dated to me (they make me think of an 80s nagel poster!). i also think i am actually tired of roses! but peonies leave me weak in the knees…

  2. I love Jenny’s blog! And I love hydrangeas – in fact, at my wedding I carried an ENORMOUS bouquet of green hydrangeas (my brother asked me why I wanted to get married holding a head of lettuce! ha!). Mostly I just love that there are so many flower personalities to choose from. How lucky are we to live in such a beautiful, bountiful, colorful, garden-filled world? (I say VERY!)

  3. Hydrangeas hate it, but cala love it. Strange. When I lived in Chile in my house there was both and fist one let dried and second ones care a lot. Finally, first one was alive because the moisture (we lived in a beach) and second one disappear i put to much water. Ironic!!

    1. Carolina – I’m with you on this one. Hydrangeas look to me frilly and Disney-esque. Calla lilies, over-designed? Sculptural and minimalist! Modern? Yes! Breathtaking that it comes out of the ground instead of a ceramic studio.

  4. I agree with you, about lilies. The remind me of death. When I was 12 my brother died and the church was filled up with lilies. Now the smell makes me anxious.
    I LOVE hydrangeas. One of the things I loved most about living in WA was the incredible variety of hydrangeas that grew in my neighbors yard.

  5. Cala lillies have always struck me as pretentious! Not sure why, poor innocent little flowers. I despise carnations too, though the tiny little ones are sweet.

  6. Sunflowers are probably my least favorite–they seem so overdone and lacking in subtlety–almost garish–and they remind me of cheesy ’90s decor motifs.

    But I love hydrangeas AND calla lilies.

    1. Oh my goodness. I forgot about the 90’s sunflower obsession. They were everywhere and I adored them. My brother brought me a bouquet of sunflowers and I thought they were the coolest thing in the world.

  7. Gerbera daisies! They seem too juvenile and look good from only one angle. Never would have thought about it if you never asked, but I realize now that I seriously dislike them.

    1. I like hydrangeas, I don’t love them. I think they smell lovely. I dislike with a passion: gerbera daisies, carnations, peruvian lilies, sunflowers, and any flower that has been artificially colored. Flowers aren’t beautiful enough, people need to add food coloring to their water?

      But just to prove I’m not anti-flower, I love ranunculus, lilacs, peonies, and dahlias. I think anemones and peachy crocuses are beautiful in a bouquet.

  8. I don’t like lilies either. In fact, I recently dug up all the daylilies in one of our beds. They were planted by someone else and I’m hoping to give them away soon.

  9. Oh no! Calla lillies are my favorite flower! When we lived in Mexico, they grew wild in our yard and I was in heaven. I totally love modern architecture/decor, and I feel like it’s the only (the white and green) flower that would look good in a modern, minimalistic type of room.

    That said, I do love hydrangeas (to look at and for bouquets) though, but for some reason can’t stand other lillies and roses. I think I like flowers that don’t look too feminine/frou frou. :-) I guess for me hydrangeas pretty much look like balls and not so flowery? LOL.

  10. I adore calla lilies, and really all flowers. Can’t say there’s one I don’t like. Boo to all you calla lily haters out there! :)

  11. Dahlias, hydrangeas, tulips and lilies I love. Not cala lilies. And not carnations. Some say they look like dahlias, but I think they look messy! When I worked at a nursery, I noticed one employee was big on her continuous bloomers. She didn’t fall for the lilies because they bloomed once and were gone! I also love good foliage. Some people skip over pretty leaves, but I think you need green and flowers in a garden!

      1. Oddly I recall that AB Chao loves carnations (it suck in my head as they re mind me of cheap petrol station flowers) – and if you have AB in your corner I guess you’re doing okay ;)

  12. Without a doubt, roses are my least favorite flowers (quite luckily for my husband on Valentine’s Day). I would like to say it’s because they’re too showy, too full of themselves, too perfect, and too cliche’, but the real reason is because of my great Aunt’s hand creme. You see, when you’re four years old and you spy your Aunt’s heavenly-rose-scented hand creme and you think to yourself “it smells so good it MUST taste EVEN BETTER” you would probably be sorely disappointed by the experience and hold a grudge against roses too.

    Funnily enough I had a boyfriend who insisted that I actually did like roses and on the two occasions he had the opportunity to give me flowers, he gave me a dozen while explaining, in great detail, how wrong it was I didn’t care for them. He was also the one who informed me that my last name meant “tasty snack” in Klingon. Wonder if these two facts are at all related in how short our relationship was (and why the grudge against roses continues…)?

  13. I also have an irrational hatred for hydrangeas. Which is strange, because they’re one of the easiest things to grow in the UK. Maybe absence really does make the heart fonder, and you wanted them because you couldn’t have them. On the flip side of the coin, I disliked them because of their abundance!

    I’ve also not got a lot of time for calla lillies. Sorry to lower the tone, but they always seemed rather phallic to me.

  14. I completely agree with you! Hydrangeas are lush and gorgeous. Calla lilies are ugly and weirdly shaped. Those and the similar looking red flowers with a stem in the middle (my mom calls them “little boy flowers”) are a little creepy!

  15. I’m 100% on board with YOU–hydrangeas were in my wedding bouquet, and they make me think of the 1900’s for some reason, and that’s my favorite decade.
    Cala Lilies, however, make me think of the 80’s, and you’re right–they don’t look real!

  16. My all-time favorite flowers are plumerias. They make me homesick and weak in the knees, but they’re not really a bouquet flower. I really don’t care for peruvian lillies, and roses. My mom has a rose garden and I think I’m supposed to appreciate them more, but all the work we have to do to keep them perfect year after year just makes me resentful.

  17. I am not a big fan of carnations at all. I have been pretty neutral about cala lilies, and I kind of like smaller ones, but now I am will always think of them as being a fake plant in an office building because I think you’re right, they do look that, even when they’re real. Funny!

  18. I have to agree; I dislike the Cala Lily too! Another flower that I feel bad for not liking is the Rhododendron. It’s the state flower of my favorite state: Washington!

  19. Calla lilies grow wild in the garden of my in-laws Sicilian home and I don’t mind them in that setting.

    I don’t like pansies. Too purple and floppy and mis-proportioned. I always used to dislike tulips growing up as they freaked me out when the petals fell open as the flower wilted. Now I realise I was clearly wrong and tulips are awesome.

  20. I never got the appeal of tulips until I was older (visiting the Netherlands probably helped too!). Still don’t love marigolds or carnations… but I love peonies, old-fashioned roses, dahlias and zinnias…

  21. I love hydrangeas. I wish they grew in the heat of Texas…they remind me so much of my Great Grandfather’s house. He had huge amazing bushes of them. Gorgeous.
    I don’t really like cut roses…I have three bushes in my yard and I love them…but cut roses…not my favorite.

  22. looove blouse-y cottage-y flowers the best: hydrangea, peonies, dahlias, lily of the valley… but i have little affection for orchids (people keep giving them to me and the more i get the more other people see them in my home and think i like them! make it stop!!), lilies, and most roses. these all just seem like they are trying too hard somehow, you know? also not a fan of rhododendron but it’s not the flowers really, but more the fact that the flowers only last 5 mins and the rest of the year you’re stuck with that hideous bush…

  23. Busted!!

    Truthfully, I don’t completely mind hydrangeas on the bush (like most flowers). But there’s something that just doesn’t sit right with me when they’re cut. Stange for a girl that loves large blooms – especially peonies and cabbage roses.

    I couldn’t agree with you more about calla lillies! They are also on my ‘no thanks’ list. Keeping company with gerber daisies. :)

    I should never say never though. I’m really starting to come around to sunflowers again and even… wait for it… Baby’s Breath! I know – yikes! Are the 90s back or what!? But they actually look really lovely when not mixed with other flowers, in a large bunch.

    Loved this Gabby! So looking forward to seeing you in January!

  24. I don’t like day lilies or gerbera daisies very much. I’m actually hosting a birthday party for my mother-in-law, who’s favorite flower is gerbera daisies, and I don’t think I can bring myself to order a flower arrangement with gerberas in it. Will the hosting of the party outweigh not including her favorite flower? I hope so.

  25. Marigolds and Gerber Daisies–yuck! Carnations and calla lilies are redeemed by the miniature versions, which are very pretty. Sunflowers get a pass because of the deep purplish/black versions that are around now. And Cerise hit it right on the head, cut roses look cliched and awful, like they’ve been cultivated so much they don’t even look like organic forms anymore. But rosebushes? Heritage varieties? How could anyone hate thode? My hunch is that all of the rose haters haven’t had experience with those. And my favorite flowers? Lily of the valley, hands down.

  26. We must have the same taste in flowers! I love love love hydrangeas for all the reasons you listed…and as a matter of fact, anything else with large/bushy/extravagant blooms. Peonies, cabbage roses, baby’s breath, and sunflowers are up there on my list. And I love wildflowers.
    I also strongly dislike calla lilies…and I too bit my tongue when my best friend picked them as her wedding flowers! A few others I don’t like are pansies, petunias, and gerber daisies. I feel like the first two are the “filler flowers” of the gardening world. I don’t know what it is about the daisies…my freshman roommate LOVED them and I just didn’t get why.

  27. I love hydrangeas! Sadly my huge shrubs did not yield many blooms this year and I was told by a local farmer that it was due to our weather pattern. I am an avid gardener and the two flowers that I despise are the annual geranium (I can’t stand the smell!) and roses. I must admit that I do have a couple roses, the knockout variety, that flower continually all summer. I just don’t love a plant that can draw blood after being so lovingly cared for.

  28. I’m on team hydrangea! Delicate, colorful and resilient. Flower I don’t like? Actually – the calla lily. Everything else I can pretty ok by me. I would never turn down a bouquet of flowers.

  29. I LOVE flowers! I do feel bad though about not liking carnations or mums…I can’t explain it. I am also tired of roses, but when I see my so giving his girlfriend a dozen or so, it IS sweet…I do look forward to some day having those huge, pastel, soft looking roses that take me back to childhood and grandma’s garden. Why don’t they sell THOSE in a shop!?
    I am in awe of the peony with its soft scent and floppy petals and am siding with the hydrangea lovers – I steal from my neighbor all the time…one clip and it lasts for weeks lol!
    Sometimes the best bouquets are hand picked wildflowers (or weeds to some) in the summertime ♥

  30. Hmmmm…I’m not fond of marigolds, but they aren’t typically “bouquet” flowers. I adore hydrangeas, always have, and share your frustrations that they don’t grow where I live. Iris are another favorite. Traditional daisies are another I wouldn’t miss, although I love a wild riotous field of them.

  31. You sure live in the right place now for your favourit flowers ! In North of France there are maybe the best (and most) hydrangeas I’ve ever seen !

  32. Totally disagree about calla lilies, I think they rock. Perhaps this is also because in southern Australia as in Mexico they grow casually in people’s gardens. (They’re not native here, they just do well.) I’m getting the impression that a calla lily is a bit of an exotic, only-in-arrangements flower for those from the United States.
    On the other hand, for us a peony is an exotic. I don’t remember ever seeing one in real life, only in Japanese paintings and northern hemisphere design blogs. They look utterly beautiful; I can’t wait to make their acquaintance.
    I really don’t dislike any flowers, but I feel a little bit about Bird of Paradise flowers as you do about calla lilies.… that they are too interior design-y, and passé. Perhaps this is also an Australian phenomenon?

  33. I don’t like carnations. Yuk. I have bought them though – you can put white ones in water with food dye and it takes a matter of minutes to change their colour! Fun! :)

    My absolute favourite is daphne (the smell!).

  34. Interesting likes and dislikes…. I guess it’s where you are or use them . I would like to see Calla lilies growing wild, I would probably love them. Not a huge fan of gladiola (my sister and I call them sadiolas) but I saw a miniature one that was semi interesting , also not fond of chrysanthemums (they are so overdone here in southern Vermont in fall)and particularly when they’re put in hanging baskets !!!! LOVE peonies, wild roses, hydrangeas.

  35. I like almost every flower. My mom was a florist so we were always treated to beautiful blooms around the house. Hydrangea are still a top pick for me but I’m also a fan of the often disliked carnation (when grouped as a tight bunch, of course). I love dahlias. So pretty! The top pick on my dislike list – anthurium. Bleh.

  36. I don’t like alstromeria. Not exciting enough for me.

    I have many, many loves in the flower world, though. Most don’t grow well here in the hot desert, but I have managed to grow foxglove in the shade (from seed; it takes 2 years!) It’s been too hot for my roses to bloom for a long time. I prefere David Auston roses to tea roses; they are more peony-like.

    In the running for my recent daughter’s names were Peony, Poppy, and Ruby. Then I came across Ivory and that was it! I tried to give her a middle name of Rose, but my husband isn’t a fan of middle names or family names (that was his grandmother’s name). We almost had a flower name this time!

    Right now I have zinnias growing in my garden. I used to not be a huge fan of them, but I saw someone’s post once with them growing in her garden in Mexico, and they were so cheerful and prolific that I decided to try them. Now my only regret is that I only chose pink ones! Pink seems like a spring color for decorating, but I’ve been bringing in pink flowers every week now. I think next year I’ll have to plant white zinnias, too.

  37. I adore Hydrangeas! But I understand having an aversion to flowers. When I was pregnant I was constantly nauseous. Most of the time I could keep it together, but for some reason Georgia O’Keefe flower paintings would put me over the edge. They were everywhere, in offices, buildings- secretly waiting to make me lose my lunch :) I still can’t look at them!

  38. I don’t like the smell of lillies. I remember with one of my kids in the hospital right after birth another lady in the room got a bouquet of lillies…I actually had to ask her, if we could put it outside during the night..that smell almost makes me puke. (glad she was fine with my wish)
    But I like their look.
    I love tulips, roses with lovely scents, hydrangeas (even though my lovely neighbour’s job is to remind me to water them..she’s a florist and it makes her laugh so hard when she sees them almost cry for water)..and I love the small scented violets..and magnolias and..the list could go on. One other thing I also hate are poor bouquets. The ones where there is so much ugly, cheap green and brown in, that one can hardly enjoy the flowers that might come with it..

  39. Totally with you on how ugly cala lillies are! Hydrangeas are extremely difficult to work with and die easily (which I know from personal experience, the day before my wedding…) so that may be why your friend doesn’t like them (if she’s a florist). But they are so beautiful!

  40. I have to say that gerbera daisies and stargazer lilies are my least favorite. My reasons for the gerbera daisies are similar to comments I have read – so overdone and juvenile looking. As far as lilies go, I think they stink (and they aren’t very pretty either)! :)

  41. I am not a huge fan of lilies of any sort, and I really dislike irises. To me, irises look like they are dying right after they bloom. Unfortunately, the woman that I bought my house from loved both lilies and irises, and planted them everywhere. I have been slowly replacing them with other flowers over the years.

    As for sunflowers, which I still love, a friend got a sunflower tattoo when she was 18 – 20 years later she is not a fan. :(

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