What Is a Fear of Flowers? (Anthophobia)?

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Anthophobia is an extreme fear (phobia) of flowers ("anthos" in Greek). People can experience fear of all flowers or a specific type of flower. They may also experience fear of the whole plant or parts of the plant. For example, a person may be afraid of all roses or they may be afraid of rose stems or petals. This extreme fear falls under the category of an anxiety disorder.

This article will explain how diagnosis works, why someone may have a fear of flowers, what symptoms are associated with this specific phobia, and what treatment options may be helpful.


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An extreme fear of flowers is categorized as a specific phobia. Specific phobia symptoms are related to anxiety. An adult with a specific phobia may be aware that their fear is irrational but still be unable to avoid or reduce symptoms without treatment. If symptoms of your fear of flowers last for six months or longer, you may have a phobia or anxiety disorder.

Symptoms associated with a phobia of flowers include:

  • Anxiety at the thought or sight of a flower or part of a flower
  • Distress or extreme stress interfering with everyday life (i.e., your ability to enjoy certain places due to the likelihood of coming across a flower is limited or even nonexistent)
  • Fear out of proportion to the reality of the threat (i.e., you're afraid of flowers despite not having any serious allergy to them)
  • Avoidance of flowers or avoidance of situations including flowers (i.e., you avoid parks, gardens, or grocery stores that sell flowers)
  • Physical symptoms of anxiety (including headaches and panic attacks)


There are no lab tests for diagnosing specific phobias like a fear of flowers. It's unlikely that every person with a fear of flowers has received a clinical diagnosis. As such, it's difficult to determine how many people may experience this specific phobia. It's estimated that 9.1% of American adults have experienced some type of specific phobia in the past year. Over 12.5% will experience a specific phobia at any point in their lives.

Instead, your healthcare provider may ask you questions about anxiety symptoms, including:

  • What you're experiencing (symptoms list)
  • How long you've been experiencing symptoms
  • How these symptoms are affecting your everyday life

Answering these questions as specifically as possible can help determine what's the next best step in terms of treatment.

If you or a loved one is struggling with severe anxiety or phobia, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

Risk Factors and Causes

People develop specific phobias for all sorts of reasons. Specific phobias can develop in reaction to a traumatic experience, especially if it occurred early in life.

For example, if you were smelling a flower as a child and were then stung by a bee, you may have made the association that all flowers are unsafe to be around. Severe allergies such as hay fever or associating a certain flower with a funeral may also contribute to your fear of flowers.


Treatment for fear of flowers includes psychotherapy or talk therapy and a different form of therapy called exposure therapy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Your healthcare provider may suggest a type of talk therapy for anxiety disorders is called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Talking with a trained professional about your fear of flowers may help to uncover the root cause (what happened when your fear first began) and identify underlying thought patterns contributing to your fears, as well as help you change your line of thinking so you can reduce symptoms of anxiety associated with this specific phobia.

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is a form of therapy that involves being in the presence of the feared situation or object (in this case, flowers). A trained professional will work with you at a safe pace, progressing through steps to ensure your personal well-being during the exposures.

Exposure therapy steps for treating a fear of flowers include:

  • Showing you relaxation techniques and providing you with new coping skills for dealing with extreme stress and fear
  • Introducing you to pictures of flowers or videos of flowers
  • Bringing flowers into the therapy session (near you, but not touching you)
  • Having you hold flowers


A fear of flowers is a type of specific phobia with symptoms of phobia or anxiety disorder. A person may experience a fear of flowers in response to a past event, and/or as part of being genetically predisposed to anxiety disorders or phobias. Treatment for fear of flowers includes cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy.

A Word From Verywell

When it comes to specific phobias, it may be tempting to try to wish them away, as if you don't actually have this fear of flowers. You may feel embarrassed of your phobia since flowers are mainly positive and seemingly harmless, but remember this isn't your fault and a person can develop a phobia of anything.

Trying to avoid feeling afraid isn't an effective treatment, though. In order to move past something that is negatively affecting you, speak with your healthcare provider or a mental health professional about treatment options.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Saimbi D, Sarmah S, Kumar A, Shivalkar R, Prasad S. A curious case of flower phobia: AnthophobiaAnnals of the National Academy of Medical Sciences (India). 2017;53(03):175-178. doi:10.1055/s-0040-1712760

  2. National Institute on Mental Health. Specific phobia.

  3. Harvard Health Publishing. Phobia.

By Michelle Pugle
Michelle Pugle, BA, MA, is an expert health writer with nearly a decade of contributing accurate and accessible health news and information to authority websites and print magazines. Her work focuses on lifestyle management, chronic illness, and mental health. Michelle is the author of Ana, Mia & Me: A Memoir From an Anorexic Teen Mind.