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I'm new to blender and just trying to play around with the particle system though I can't seem to figure out how to rotate these petals. I'm sure there's a simple answer. I just want to rotate them flat but changing the phase in the rotation tab doesn't help, it just rotates it around a weird point.

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try to rotate the object (the initial petal) where the petals are inheriting from, in object mode or even in edit mode if it has modifiers on it.

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If the Phase setting isn't rotating your particle correctly, it's very likely that your particle isn't oriented on the correct axis.

Objects used as hair particles do not view Z+ as "up". They must have a different orientation, for some legacy reason coming from the particle system's beginnings, afaik.

The default particle orientation can be changed in Object Properties -> Relations -> Tracking Axis. It is +Y by default, changing it to +Z will probably make more sense for most people.

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